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March 31, 2012

Studio Lighting Gear~ What To Buy?

by Darren Stone

There is mucho lighting gear out there. And it’s expensive. It can be overwhelming when you’re starting out. You don’t want to waste money on stuff you don’t really need.
All of my gear is from Paul C Buff out of Nashville. I can’t say enough about this company and their products. You can also buy directly from them out of Australia and Europe.

There is no “right” answer for what you need in the studio. But here’s what I use.

I own two White Lightning X1600 flash units. I only use one at a time. One is for backup.

They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use and bullet-proof. I’ve had one drop with a light stand into concrete from 10 feet high. Didn’t even faze it. The color balance is great and they recycle fast.

One AlienBees™ ABR800 Ringflash Unit

Ringflash is a specialty lighting effect. However this Ringflash doubles as a lightweight remote flash unit for location shoots. And for around 500 bucks, it’s not going to break the bank to get a ringflash. You can get cheaper one’s that attach to a speedlight. But they don’t have the same power. This one is plenty powerful. I’m going to do a shoot with it soon. So I might go into how it works on a future post. It can be tricky to use.

White High Output Beauty Dish

This has become my favorite light modifier. The light IS beautiful! You can’t beat it for crispness in the shadows and nice round catch lights in the eyes. If I had to pick one modifier, this would be it.

Large (32″ x 40″) Softbox

You really have to have one of these. It’s just indispensable for full-length fashion shots. A large Octabox is another good choice. I think I might get one of those soon.

This is what I use and it works for me. It’s fun to experiment, research and find out what lighting gear you want to get. I’m always looking to more lighting toys to the arsenal.

Depending on what you shoot, and what your lighting aesthetics are, you’ll end up with a completely different kit than mine. But I hope this helps.

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