Photoflex’s Starter Kits; An Excellent Way To Get Set Up Lighting Products And People

One of the difficulties of getting involved in studio work is trying to figure out where to begin. There are so many different lighting systems and so many equipment options available that it's not easy to figure out what's essential, what might be nice to have, and what really isn't necessary, at least when you first begin. Just what type of lighting do you need to shoot creative portraiture? What about taking interesting still life images?

The most common approach for photographers interested in starting in studio work is to start buying a variety of lighting gear, hoping that it will all work together and that it will meet their specific requirements. Sometimes that approach works, and sometimes it doesn't.

The First Studio Product Kit

Photoflex has come up with a number of starter kits that eliminate most of the guesswork in this process. Recently they introduced the "First Studio Product Kit" and the "First Studio Portrait Kit," two easily transportable kits that make it possible to shoot products and portraits just about anywhere there's an AC plug. There's no need for a large commercial studio and all the related equipment. They're sufficient as the first set of lights for anyone who's just opening up a small studio on a budget or for those who might want to try out their hand and step up from on-camera flash.

Both kits ship with just about everything that you need. The First Studio Product Kit contains two FirstStar continuous light heads with 250w halogen lamps, two 2205 black aluminum tubing LiteStands with tilt brackets, and a medium-sized LiteIgloo. The igloo is a compact cloth cover that provides that soft, all-encompassing light required for professional product photography. It comes with a removable white sweep for seamless backgrounds and a blue sweep for chromakey setups (shoot with changing the background in Photoshop or another image-processing program in mind).

The First Studio Portrait Kit

Setup is extremely simple. The heads slide into tracks on the tilt brackets. The LiteIgloo folds out. Getting it back together, at least initially, is a different matter. It's somewhat like the first time you try to repack a large reflector. It tends to want to keep opening up. Using touch fasteners, the front of the LiteIgloo can be opened all the way up or positioned with just enough room for the camera to fit through, so that ambient light won't leak in. The white and blue sweeps, which need to be pressed before being used to achieve that seamless look, are also attached inside the light box with touch fasteners.

Once the system has been set up, light and shadow can be controlled, at least somewhat, through changing the height and distance of the heads. The closer the heads, the greater the light intensity, and the higher the heads, the smaller the soft shadows. While it works with somewhat larger subjects, the LiteIgloo is best suited for smaller ones. That avoids getting any interior edges into the frame.