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Advice needed for Camera & Lighting kit

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Live_Ammo, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. Live_Ammo

    Live_Ammo New Member


    (apologies for the long first post!)

    We are in the planning stages to arrange models for photoshoots to showcase our clothing collections. I am looking to pick up a decent camera with better lighting equipment as my current set up is a home-made cheap solution using a mannequin which doesn't do the products any justice. Some of these shoots would require some movement of fabric to show flare whilst taking the snaps.

    The images shot are intended for our website (under-construction), catalogue printing, posters, etc.

    I build and mod computers too and take plenty of snaps, especially close-ups and want to easily blur backgrounds with clear focal points (same for clothing). In addition, on an entry-level hobbyist pursuit, I am keen on learning basic outdoor photography too, something brewing for some time now thought not an absolute must at this point of time.

    I would really appreciate if you can recommend a decent camera within the £500 bracket and more importantly some guidance as to what type of lighting equipment, backdrops, etc would allow us to achieve maximum quality without having to fork out 1000's. I have seen a number of All-in-One kits available on Ebay/Amazon but simply don't have the knowledge to determine which would be best in terms of product quality and light output.

    Preference: We are hoping for a camera which can send images to our computer automatically via wifi. This is not an absolute must but if the budget permits, it would be very useful!
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    It is a specialist area so I think you would be best off taking some professional advice. Renting a studio may be more cost effective than buying lighting kit yourself. I would guess many studios do courses. They may be able to rent camera gear too. You basically need to assess lens choice based on available room and subject matter.
  3. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I'll be blunt. The camera is probably the least of your problems. The background can be fairly cheap - paper roll on two stands and some clips to keep it from unravelling more than you want it to. Your issue is going to be lighting. The cheap continuous lighting set ups you can find on ebay and amazon etc are cheap for a reason. They're usually not very good. What you're asking to be able to do is to CONTROL the lighting and that means you need variable output of some sort. It could be speedlights (brand not necessarily important) or it could be flash heads. Neither will come in cheap. You will also be wanting modifiers - lightboxes for instance. Also not cheap if any good.

    You CAN do it yourself, of course you can. But your budget will probably have to be stretched by quite a bit.
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Geren is right. What you want to do is quite difficult and requires a fair amount of knowledge and experience. Of course you can learn, but attempting to plunge straight in and take professional quality pictures may soon make it all too clear to you why there are professionals specializing in different types of photography and why they spend thousands on their cameras and lighting. Your question is somewhat akin to saying, "I want to be a professional footballer. What sort of boots should I buy?"

    Incidentally, if you want to show the fabric moving you have two choices: frozen motion (electronic flash) or blur (continuous lighting).


  5. Live_Ammo

    Live_Ammo New Member

    Thank you so much for your time and constructive replies. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Unfortunately for us hiring studios will not be cost-effective. I've been using a few occasionally around London and with too many weekly styles coming in, it proves quite difficult and expensive and on top there is the issue of available slots when needed quickly.

    Oddly enough, I got the same advice today from a photographer I found on gumtree. For the time being, if I left the lighting for another time with better understanding of our needs, could you recommend a decent camera under £500. I guess this is more urgent considering my current camera is failing miserably at times with a few problems! It chews away the battery too even though I have bought 2 new ones and a charger. Maybe something like the canon 1300D? or the Nikon D5300?

    I agree lighting is very important! I currently use 2 desk lamps with standard home daylight bulbs with a wider splash using home-made hanger wired foil umbrellas. For the third, assuming a flash light, I use a spare 230v builders lamp diffused using a clear polythene sheet sanded down for some soft flow. It kind of works and the rest I pull off using photoshop. Currently I don't mind anything which will improve the look of our studio with some real equipment, better and brighter lights and etc. I guess im looking for a basic set up and if motion-images are not practical with this kind of set up then I will have to do without until our finances are in a better shape. Overall we can fork out £1000 for both camera and lighting kit. Any recommendations provided will not be acted upon immediately but will be helpful in pursuing further information before making final decision - i guess I need some descriptions of equipment, some idea about output and what makes-up an entry level studio to make these types of projects possible.

    LOL, the footballer and boots! Though I would like to say I can learn but that would be far from the truth, your absolutely right! I threw in some extras for example motion-shots as I see this as something we could be looking at in the near future. But you're right I'm way out of my depth. At best I will try to manage basic images alone and once we are in a better position then invest in hiring a photographer and likewise adjust to more capable lighting equipment.

    I hope you can all reply again for some additional sense of direction and I would like to know more about lightboxes, softboxes, flash strobes, continuous lighting, etc (mostly for informational purposes).
  6. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    With that budget I would seriously consider looking at a second hand camera. If you buy from a reputable source (I have personal experience of buying used equipment from WEX, and I know others on here often recommend the London Camera Exchange) they will grade their items to give you an indication of their condition. Not sure what they have on offer at the moment but it's definitely worth looking. I only really know anything about Canon as that and fuji are what I happen to have. I know that the 1300D was very popular among my classmates when I did an HNC in photography five or six years ago - did everything they needed it to. A few upgraded at a later stage but I suspect that was more GAS than necessity.

    As for lighting, a pro I know uses Elinchrom. His kit has a battery pack which means you can take it out and about easily but if you're going to be based in one place you could worse than start off with something like this:

  7. Loose_Canon

    Loose_Canon Well-Known Member

    Look on utube, search for videos showing fashion shoots. They will give you an idea of what different equipment will enable you to do.
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  8. AndyTake2

    AndyTake2 Well-Known Member

    The elinchrom kits are good. I sold one a few months back as I didn't use it, but for fashion you should be fine with a two head kit and some reflectors if money is tight.

    Depending on distance and if you want group shots, a slightly more powerful flash than 100ws may be needed, but I often find with my 400watt ones I was usually dialling down power.

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