VERY cheap beginner hotlight setup

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by RobLewis, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    This is probably nothing new for most of the Apuggers out there- but I made my first portrait hotlight kit yesterday- bought everything at Home Depot:

    300 watt, 10 inch reflector 'shop' light with clamp to hold it in one spot $11.99
    300 watt bulb- $3.89
    square piece of wood to use as base- about 16" x 16" X 1" already had, but probably less than $5.00
    1/2" female threaded steel base- $2.79 (screwed to middle of base) (I don't know the scientific plumbing word for this piece)
    48" x1/2" male threaded steel pipe $6.79 (Different sizes can be used for different heights)

    Wrapped some electrical tape around top part of pipe, light clamps nicely to pipe. Some gaffers tape can be used to further secure light to pole if needed. And an extension cord will be handy.

    So there ya go- a very basic portrait light* and stand for about $30.

    I'll be trying my first portraits this weekend.


    *Disclaimer- I only shoot B & W, I'm assuming the color temperature will make for some challenges with color film.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Locally you can often get a 1000 watt halogen shop light with stand for about that price on sale. They routinely go on sale.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    just use color corrected photo floods for color.

    and i bet you will find the need for more than one.

    you could also clamp the flood light to a piece of pipe buried in a bucket of cememt.
     
  4. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Wow,
    There is a ton of difference between the heat given off by the 300 wt. bulbs versus the 1000 wt. Halogen. Plain steel window screening from a hard ware shop will work well as diffusers or scrims on these hard lights.. Still need three for best results.


    Charlie.....................................
     
  5. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    here are a couple shots I finally made with my cheap lights...
     

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  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Large projection screens can be used as reflectors in the studio, and their stands can be used to support lights. They usually are little in demand and are very cheap, except perhaps in camera stores.
     
  7. haris

    haris Guest

    Rob, looking at your photographs, there are obvious problems with your lighting setup. Not only contrast, that is lighs only from one side and oposite side it total dark, but there is basic problem with you "lihting technology". Amount of lights you can get from ordinary 300W halogen light is not enough to have decent depth of focus and comfortable shooter speed. I know I had (and still have) same problems.

    I use(d) setup with 3 ordinary 500W halogen bulbs, and that was not enough too. Please, have in mind that "real" photographic bulbs of 500W gives more light than ordinary 500W bulbs, but with shorter life. So, I would invest about 150 to 200 USD for basic 2 or even 3 lights setup, and for that price you can get, beside 3 light bodies and lamps for 500W, 3 stands, 2 umbrellas and one small (let say about 60x60cm or even bigger if you are lucky) softbox, all of course for tungsten (3200K temperature of light) lighting.

    You would be surprised how much real photographic 500W lamp gives more light and make photogaphing easier compared to ordinary 500W bulb, not to mention 300W...

    And one piece of warning! Halogen bulbs can explode suddenly, so use glass or metal wire protection screen in front of halogen bulbs (between bulbs and model/subject of photographing)!

    Good luck.
     
  8. RobLewis

    RobLewis Member

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    Haris-
    Agreed- I was really surprised at the meter readings I was getting- as I've said- I'm very much a beginnner, so a lot can probably be attributed to the photographer, and not the lights. Paying better attention to my exposure would go a long way to improving the pictures.

    I'm going to shoot a few rolls before I give up on it- for my basic hobby needs, they may work for now, but I may have to drop some bucks on a decent kit when I get some more experience.
    Or just move closer to the window for some natural light.

    Thanks for your input-
    Rob
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    When using hot lights, be careful to keep flammable material from in front of the light. Run the power cord under the base so the light might not upset if someone trips on the cord. With multiple 500 Watt or larger lamps, it's easy to overload electrical wiring. Don't let this scare you away from incandescent lights. Many of us struggled with them for years.