I am in the process of starting up a photography business that primarily focuses on portaiture work of children and young adults/families..both in studio and outdoors. I would like to use natural lighting as much as possible, however, there will be times that i would like to have a black background with soft lighting that makes the subject/person "pop" or illuminates them. My question and confusion comes in regarding setting up a studio in regards to the lighting, with what i need as basics and what i need to acheive the look i want. To give some examples, I would like to do work with a solid white background and with a black background (two different shoots). I want to work both in color and black & white. I would love to have the "warm" glow with everything else around the subject blackened out. Also, when i am doing shoots outside i need to know what basic lighting i need. I would love to have some feedback/advice on what lights i need to start out. My budget is limited to around $300 or so. I have a Digital Canon Rebel XT 350. I have read a little about Tungsten lights and love the look they give but they are a little pricey. I wonder if a Softbox light would be better than an umbrella or do i need both. As you can see i have a lot to learn and a lot of questions. Any help/advice is so appreciated. Thanks!
$300 is not going to cut it. You're going to need three lights but you can probably start with one and a large white reflector. You are also going to need total control of the light within the setting where you will be shooting.
Position two lights at approximately 45 degrees, one putting out 1/2 the output of the other. That will give you a pleasing lighting ration. The third light should be mounted above and behind the subjects to separate their hair from the background. Your lights should be either bounced into white umbrellas or mounted in softboxes. If you are looking for a high key (white background0 look, than you will need either one or two more lights hitting the background because otherwise it will be gray in the picture.
Thank you. I was afraid $300 would be too low, i will bite the bullet and go ahead and invest a little more. Regarding the lights, should i get 2 umbrella lights and 1 soft box? Do you recommend any mid-range (price) products? Thanks again.
The lights would be the same.
Check out http://alienbees.com for a relatively inexpensive two light kit as a starting point. They come with light stands and white umbrellas.