A long time ago an old photographer told me, “light is light.” What he was trying to say was that it doesn’t matter what kind of lighting gear you use—speedlights, power pack and head systems, monolight—the most important this is the light that’s produced. Expensive computer controlled lighting systems may be more convenient to use and those that I’ve tested for Shutterbug have been amazing to use in the amount of control provided but shooters getting started may not be able to afford them.
One al-ternative is to buy used lighting equip-ment and I had a friend upgrade his studio by getting rid of in-expensive mono-lights replacing them with a power pack and head system and it works for him. Those last three word are important. What works for him may not work for you depending on your particular situation.
Do you have a home studio, like the 11×15 foot one in my basement. Do you have to convert your living room, as Mary and I did when we got started 30 years ago. (Then have to convert the room back into a living room.) Do you have to shoot in location? Most importantly what is your budget? Once again keeping in mind that “light is light.”
The studio lights I was using at the time was a set of Flashpoint monolights. These are older models before the newer battery powered model or the even newer LED monolights. I’ve tested them for Shutterbug and you can read the reviews here and here. I liked them because they are inexpensive, simple to use, and work for me, all the time keeping in mind that “light is light.” To be sure, I’m tempted by new lighting system from Broncolor and Elinchrom and some day I may upgrade my old but still working monolights but not today.
The featured image uses two Flashpoint 320 monolights to make the portrait of model Pamela Simpson. The main light is at camera right and has one of Flashpoint’s 60-inch 16-Rib parabolic white umbrellas used in shoot-though mode. Background is a Savage Photo Grey Infinity vinyl backdrop hung on a older JTL background stand.
If you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio, please pick up a copy of “Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from Amazon.com with, as I write this, new non Prime copies selling for$17.50 (plus shipping,) cheaper than the Prime price.