I want to take studio, quality photos but can’t afford studio or lighting. So armed with my flashgun and a few low-cost accessories, I learned how to achieve the same and sometimes equivalent results in the lounge.
I started with some cool 500W soft light boxes and reflectors but found I was limited to camera speed and often resulted in shots that were very focused but blurry; I thought that the model would be quiet, but the girls wanted to jump up and down.
So I moved on to the 3ft umbrella with the SB800, SB600 and some old Vivitar flashguns on the remote which all worked fine, normally! The flash with the umbrella certainly stopped movement but sent light everywhere and I struggled to light the background separately in such a narrow space. You can see some of these results on my Blog / Website
So how do you stop sending light all over the place?
I now have a soft box attachment for the SB800 and find that I can control the direction of the light much better.
I love umbrellas with teenagers who like to bop around. It seems to illuminate them pretty well no matter what angle they are at and the softbox is more useful for headshots.
I use the flash, high behind the model to place the highlight in the hair or to lighten the rim against a dark blackground. I’ve also added a tube of pringles, covered in black ribbon, as a puff, and a foam card to act as a flag to stop the flash behind from providing glare in the camera lens.
I found using the menus on the Nikon D300 to control the flash tricky and now use the SU800 Commander unit that sits on the hotshoe and is much faster to use.
With all these kits I have enough to experiment with and keep learning. It is starting to amaze me how tilting the light this way or in that way actually affects how the photos look. I have read a lot but doing it in practice is where I really learn what I read means.
I’m not sure what advantage studio lighting will give me but I still have so much to learn and explore with the equipment I already have. If I need more space then I’ll rent a local hall.