The problem with 283s or any camera type flash is there is no modeling light. True it is possible to use them, but if someone wants a small in home studio setup and is new to portrait photography, he needs to learn lighting. This entails being able to see the light patterns and the quality of the light striking the subject.
I truly believe if someone tries to take portraits with some cheap, duck taped together jerry rigged set up they will soon become discouraged and move on. Certain elements need to be in place for a person to feel comfortable and to progress. /quote]
If I remember correctly, the question was "How does one do studio photography as cheaply as possible?" It is certainly true that there are no modeling lamps on the small self contained flash units ... athough the idea of "small' applied to a Metz CT60 might be debateable. Modeling lamps are a convenience ... they help, although, more and more, I find that I depend on them less and less. My best "aid" is the Polaroid back ... even though I hate Polaroid film.
Many Wedding Photographers slave small flash units, with good results - the old "flash on a stick trick".
"Discouragement" ... that might well occur very rapidly ... considering the cost of the most inexpensive modeling lamp equipped mono- or power pack - lighting systems.
"You can't learn without modeling lights... " ??? Uh, I don't know - that is quite a sweeping generalization .... Some of us DID, and I have no doubt that many of those trying to learn have the same capability. The ultimate "feedback" of the success - or failure - of the lighting set-up will come from the finished work.
There is a funky, interesting, spiral bound book, "Jon Falk Presents Adventures in Location Lighting", published by Visual Departures Ltd., 1661 Third Ave, New York, N.Y. 10128 (or that is the last address I have for the publisher). It has been written by someone who knows a great deal of the real world out there, and yes, there is a LOT of advice dealing with "Gaffer"-taped (in the name of heaven, don't ever use duct tape!!!), and jury-rigged Vivitar 283's - and deals with the larger mono and power pack units as well.