For the last couple of months I have been collecting items for my home studio. Most of the stuff I bought on *bay, and got some pretty good deals (auctions), like stands for 8 Euro a piece ... Right now I have got :
4 Light stands all 2,5 m high = 8 feet (cheapest 8 Euro, most expensive 18 Euro)
2 Reflektors 1 m = 3 feet + stands, silver/gold (36 Euro each)
.....You may want to get a "blacground light stand"...I have two of them,...the center pole comes off, and you can mount a stud in the base of the stand, and spread the light from a shorter perspective for more light spread..
2 Smaller reflectors silver/gold, 50 cm = 20 inches (12 Euro each)
..........You might want to buy a 42" â‰ˆ 1m reflector.. The 20" ones are o.k. for using then under the chin.. but that's about all..
1 Portrait background 1.5 x 2 Meters = 5 x 6.5 feet, Grey, which can be folded (36 Euro)
1 Softbox 60 cm x 90 cm = 24 x 35 inches (45 Euro)
2 Small umbrellas 84 cm = 33 inches (about 8 Euro each, were included in a set)
(Euros are about 20 % more expensive than $)
.........That stuff looks pretty good to me..
For a referece: I bought almost everything from foto-walser (www.foto-walser.biz
), but as an auction , not in the shop.
Now I WAS going to build my own studio lights (like a friend of mine who does a lot of table top photography) , using quarz halogen. The plan was to mount the halogen tubes into metal plumbers pipes. Would probably cost next to nothing - 1 $ for a 250 W tube , the holder about 3$ and a piece of pipe for lets say 4 $ + a lot of time.
But after reading some nasty stories about continuous light I will probably spend (a lot of) money on flashlights. My max. budget is about 1000 $. So I think Hensels (allthough I live in Germany) will be too expensive - I would only get 1 or 2 lights for this.
After reading a lot I would like to get 4 Alien Bees : 2 x AB400 and 2 x AB 800 + 1 x 18 degree Grid to use as a hairlight.
........Those aren't bad,..but I'd highly recommend getting the Alien Bee model 1600 light because those have more power,...and if you were to buy the optional "Vegabong" portable power pack, you can use those more powerful lights outdoors, where they would more pratical than the lower powered lights....however, yes, you can get bye with lower powered 800 and 400 model Alien Bee lights indoors.
1. Do you think this is overkill for a small studio ? I will probably never (?) light objects bigger than a motorcycle (1200 Harley Sporty, yeah) or a part of a car?
2. Will the AB800 be too strong for portraits and would I need ND Filters? Especially for small DOF ?
.......No.....you will be ok with them.
3. Is the scan option helpful ? I see cheaper heads (also from the dealer i got the parts from) , for 140 Euro a piece 250 Ws 1/8 to 1/1, but the light doesn't follow the flash power.
......Aside from the price of the lights, think about the system they have... such as their accessories, and other lights,......because if you have all the lights from the same manufacturer, you can interchange the accessories. If you yhave several different types of lights, you may have to get separate accessories to work with each light which costs you money, time and space........and that becomes a problem when working on location.
4.Would it be better to start off with 2 lights (+ background UBR modifier) and practice, before buying 4 lights? (probably more rethorical to help me feel good about spending 1000 $)
.......2 lights is a good start,...I'd suggest at least 3 lights though, especially for portraits.
This picture was taken with 3 lights and a reflector: