Our Studio Lighting
Updated: Mar 21
When I started my business 3 years ago I borrowed $100 from my brother to purchase lights on amazon. It was an “all in one studio kit” and I thought I was hot s*** lol. Like look at me yal – I got lights and a camera and I’m ready to take photos of your babies! Those photos weren’t that great. At that time, I didn’t understand the value of lighting and how lighting can either make or break your images. I’ve done natural lighting, those amazon light kits (cringe) and I’ve used studio lighting and I have to tell you, I PREFER STUDIO LIGHTING.
THAT BEING SAID – I HOPE THIS POST HELPS THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH LIGHTING TO TAKE THE LEAP INTO PURCHASING PROFESSIONAL STUDIO LIGHTING –not amazon kits. NO OFFENSE.
My last cake smash using the amazon lights in 2018
What I use today :
Paul Bluff strobe lighting Alienbee 400 and Alienbee 800 – yes I have both. I bought the 400 and then later on added the 800 thinking I might need a stronger light source but to be honest, the 400 is totally sufficient. Why did I choose the Alienbee over the Einstein. Initially it was cost. But really, after I purchased two alienbees, I could of just did one Einstein. Either way, I don’t’ regret my purchases, when my Alieen bee’s go out one day- I’ll get an Einstein. Until then, they work perfectly fine for me. Some people complain of a color caste issues/ inconsistent coloring but I’ve never had any issues with my lighting.
My alien bee with 86 umbrella at an in home session.
Strobe vs Continuous lighting – I was taught- strobe creates sharper images. That’s what I use. I’ve never used continuous so I can’t really tell you otherwise. I LOVE MY STROBES. * I only shoot strobes with instudio. When I’m doing outdoor sessions I don’t use any lights. I can tell you from my own experience, my strobes create beautifully straight out of the camera images that are sharp. I am spending less time behind the computer editing which is a big deal for me.
Doesn’t flash hurt the baby’s eyes? NO. There is no scientific fact to back this up- if you find it let me know. The industry’s leading newborn photographers ALL use strobes. Don’t believe me, check out their work, here are my favorites :
My old lighting with Amazon kit.
My current set up with Alien Bee lighting.
What to buy to complete your set up:
Alien Bee 400 strobe ( $224.95) I also have Alienbee 800 strobe which is stronger ( $279.95) you really don’t need the 800, the 400 is perfect trust me.
86 PLM umbrella ($39.95) + black outer covering ( you can use a smaller one if your prefer, I LIKE MY 86. But I also have the space for it in my home studio. The 65 is great also if your working in a tight space and when I travel I have a 43 inch shoot through umbrella. ) The umbrella comes with gold, silver and white lining. I use a white lining which creates softer shadows. The Silver creates darker moodier shadows and the gold creates a “warm” shadow which is BEAUTIFUL on darker toned skin tones. What you get is all personal preference and your style of shooting. You really can’t go wrong so if you can’t decide- close your eyes and flip a coin. Ideally you want a black covering on your umbrella as this helps keep the light from shooting out but an all-white shoot through umbrella works fine.
Diffuser to cover your umbrella ($22.95) – really important. You need this to spread and soften the light. You don’t HAVE to use a diffuser- just get an all white shoot through umbrella. My 43 inch travel umbrella is a shoot through that came with my original amazon lighting kit.
Trigger and Receiver ($ 34.99): I love my ALTURA set. My receiver has never had to change batteries and it takes 2 AAA batteries. My trigger uses batteries like crazy and I have a stock of A23 batteries on hand at all times. The trigger goes on your camera and the receiver plugs into your light- this is how you can “trigger” your lights to go off.
Light Stand: get a good stand- you’re going to use it all the time. You’ll also want to get a few weights to secure your lights. They sell light stand weighted bags but I just use regular 10Ibs exercise
Links to everything:
From Paul Bluff