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  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    I want to get into strobes...

    interested in venturing into this area. As of now I'm reading random articles on the internet, a few from strobists.com, and I'm browsing flickr. My sole interest is in portraits/fashion work but at the hobbyist level, not professional, so keep that in mind. I'm not trying to go cheap but I do not want to overspend. I'm thinking monolights, reflectors, modifiers, that type of stuff, with a starting budget of around 1k. Maybe less or more. I'm not here to seek advice in what I should get or which brands are better but just advice in figuring out what I want.

    A lot of information to digest and I'm nowhere near purchasing as I'm trying to figure out my needs/requirements. I might just end up going with cheap speedlights in the end of my research.

    1. Any good books in this subject? I know that there is a plethora of information on the internet but I prefer consolidated books with good information to flip through. I'd prefer books talking about configurations and combinations and use of modifiers. How to meter, and that type of stuff.

    2. Any good fashion/portrait photographers known for using simple lighting configurations? Avedon, I believe used one strobe for much of his work, correct? With a large umbrella? I'm not sure but that is what I read I think. Or maybe those known for popularizing some unique stylet? I'm not trying ti immitate but draw inspirataion snd see what can be achieved when strobes are done well. In general, my interest is in somethign natural-looking. I know available light is the obvious solution but artificial light can look very good when done well.

    I'm mostly trying to figure out what I like about strobes and how different looks can be achieved.

  2. #2
    Two23's Avatar
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    I would look for a used (ebay) Alien Bees either B800 or B1600, lightstand, and softbox to start. Alien Bees are your best value. For a book, the textbook is "Light: Science & Magic."


    Kent in SD

  3. #3
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Take a look at this. It's Lynda.com.

    http://www.lynda.com/Home-Computing-...s/85088-2.html

    You might be able to see a free one.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  4. #4
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    Speedotron packs are also a very good buy these days. I bought a D402 and two heads for about 200 dollars two years ago, and they've served me very well. White Lightnings and Alien Bees just don't do it for me, but then again I was raised on my father's Profoto 7A packs with a multitude of heads. I don't like monolights, much prefer a pack-head arrangement.

    Good modifiers and accessories are just as important as the lights. Don't bother with "light stands", they're lightweight pieces of shit in most cases. Go with used Avenger or Matthews C-stands with good knuckle arms.
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
    --
    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.

  5. #5
    ChristopherCoy's Avatar
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    I just sold my alien bees for the same price I bought them for... And I used them for two years. They hold their value extremely well, great output, and their affordable. I highly recommend them.

  6. #6
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Avoid Normans. They're dangerous. Seen too many plugs arc and one I saw a pack explode. When I was an assistant, I treated them with care. I always turned off and discharged the packs before swapping heads.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    Avoid Normans. They're dangerous. Seen too many plugs arc and one I saw a pack explode. When I was an assistant, I treated them with care. I always turned off and discharged the packs before swapping heads.
    You wouldn't catch me dead using Normans...wait...yes you would.

    I've used a pretty wide variety of strobes, and if youre really serious about what you do, unless is says speedotron, profoto, or broncolor on the side...it's not worth the time or money because that's what you'll end up with anyway.

    Profoto D1's are a great kit to get started with.

  8. #8
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    I know an assistant had a Norman pack that discharged on him. It's like getting tasered. He should have dumped the pack after turning it off. I think they're illegal to use in the European Union.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  9. #9
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F/1.4 View Post
    You wouldn't catch me dead using Normans...wait...yes you would.

    I've used a pretty wide variety of strobes, and if youre really serious about what you do, unless is says speedotron, profoto, or broncolor on the side...it's not worth the time or money because that's what you'll end up with anyway.

    Profoto D1's are a great kit to get started with.
    Thank you for your opinion. From my limited search I was thinking of starting Einstein E640 by Paul C Buff as one of my friends had recommended me going with that over the B800's because of the color shift at low voltages.

    I will consider the Profoto D1's.

    Sorry if this is a naive question but I am very unfamiliar with this stuff. I have interest in using strobes on-site. I know that Paul C Buff makes a Vagabond Mini Lithium, but is this device compatible with other brands? Do other brands offer a similar device?

  10. #10
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong with Profoto. Most European strobes are well designed. Cheaper strobes are dangerous and the color balance can be off. I own some very old Broncolor Impacts and they're well made. Another thing to consider pack and head system or monolights. Monolights are heavier because the power pack is in the head so they will be harder too put on a boom. Systems with power packs have lighter heads and easier to control the power output on each head from the pack. What I did was to build a strobe system piece by piece. A set of strobes can set you back some serious cash. Another type of strobe to consider are just regular flash units on light stands. They're lighter and cheaper. I've seen some great results with flash units.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

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