Week 5: Lighting Course Discussion

As you watch Week 5: Lighting, feel free to engage in conversation with the group here. Please limit the conversation here to the course topic.

As Lighting is a huge, challenging topic, we are devoting the next two weeks to it.

Sue will go live on Tues 9/17 to cover Week 4: Sales and Week 5: Lighting—please note this in your calendars!


So I have a question about affordable alternatives to the strobe/constant lights that Sue is using.
I’m just starting my business and don’t have a lot of working capital (AKA trying to dig out of credit card debt).

Has anyone had any luck finding affordable, natural light producing strobes/constants?
I’ve just moved into a new house and there’s only a small window in my studio space with terrible light, so I need something for my main light source that doesn’t look artificial and won’t break the bank…

Let me know! And thank you in advance!


Hi Hannah,
I only have a small window and my apartment is really dark. Because my soft box is a mess to install I decided to buy umbrellas. One in white and one silver. I bought them at B&H really cheap. Both are 51".
I use my speed light (70$ at amazon) and I really like the look. Inexpensive and good enough for now :wink:
If you like more infos please ask.This pic is with one umbrella on my left


that looks really nice, Bianca. did you shoot through the umbrella or to its back?


Thank you so much Carol. I shot into the umbrella. It is black outside, not shoot through. And no diffuser


This looks really nice. It looks easy and like you said affordable. Thanks for your post.


You are very welcome. It is easy when you overcome the fear of light :yum:

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Hi BiancaB!
Thank you for replying. I would love to know the specs on your equipment. I need to buy some asap to get going.

P.s. that photo is lovely. Amazing work!


https ://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1316321-REG/impact_udw_l_51i_deep_umbrella_white.html

https ://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1352677-REG/westcott_620sk_x_drop_wrinkle_resistant_backdrop_kit.html

https ://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TDKJ41Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https ://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NIDWTIC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https ://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Bracket-Speedlite-Reflector-Umbrella/dp/B00JAAXH1A/ref=pd_bxgy_421_img_3/134-1398595-0654920?

And you need a light stand of course. We can’t post links so I separated the https from the rest. Please copy and you find my equipment.
Hope this helps.


Thank you! I will be looking into these.
Do you use a one strobe setup then?


Yes, it’s just one speed light into the white umbrella


@hannah38, First and foremost, I would suggest working with natural light and v-flats, while reflecting the light onto your subject. With that said, there are affordable lights available … such as Alien Bee lights …

Bianca, your quality of light is BEAUTIFUL, here!!! Also, I really appreciate that you’ve mentioned your use of an umbrella … I’ve truly grown to despise soft boxes!!! They are are difficult to construct and make me sweat while doing so!!!


Thanks, yes soft boxes are nice but really not handy in my apartment situation :wink: light is light right?


@hannah38 I agree, Alien Bees are very affordable and work great. I’ve been using them for years and have been really happy with my results. I’ve also used them with umbrellas (also my preference) and with soft boxes.


@dianne @debraham28 Thank you both for the recommendations! I’ve used natural light before in a different studio space and I absolutely loved working in it. I’m sad, but my current space just won’t support it :confused: I’m googling Alien Bees right now. Can you both speak to why you prefer umbrellas to soft boxes? I’ve had an introduction to both, and was leaning towards soft boxes. Now you’ve got me intrigued and I’d love to hear both of your experiences.


Hi @hannah38,

I shoot with soft boxes … however, I’ve learned that you can achieve the exact same quality of light with (deep) umbrellas. What I love about umbrellas is that you just pop them open … soft boxes are a pain in the neck to put together. I keep my set up, unless I need to travel for a shoot … ugghhhh … taking them apart is easy … putting them back together makes me break a sweat!


@dianne Huh, I never thought about the mobility of putting up/taking down the setup. That’s a really good point. Thank you for expanding on that for me!


@hannah38 PLUS, umbrellas are less expensive! Perhaps try renting a soft box and deep umbrella and work with each, before you invest.

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For everyone looking for an alternative to profoto B1s, check out the Godox AD600BM. It’s only has manual mode which make it more affordable (I believe around $400USD) and can dial right down just like the profotos. It offers a Bowens mount which means a lot more options for cheaper modifiers too. There are actually a lot of videos on youtube comparing it to the b1s and it does not disappoint !

Then you can buy a cheap X1T trigger to trigger it, or spend a few bucks more and get the X1Pro which is amazing (and pretty similar to the profoto trigger Sue uses) and enables you to control the settings of multiple flashes right from the top of your camera !

And the best thing is, you can get two of those for half the price of 1 Profoto strobe !