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First one here? More please!


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Like the title says, it looks like I' m the first one here. Me, who still a beginner in studio photography. I really hope, more will chime in!
I'm here as well. I used to shoot professionally both in the studio and in the field. I'll be happy to answer any questions
I'm disappointed that in 2023, sync speed is still an issue, and that tech superseding HSS and HS hasn't emerged. It seems that basic things such as color temp consistency and short flash durations are now basic expectations across the board not just in the premium lighting gear - thus I wonder what new useful (not gimmicky) features will be offered in new lights and power packs.... or will we see a notable shift in manufacturers directing more of their resources to innovating lighting solutions for video?
Thank you Macro guy! Good to have someone with experiences in this field!
This is my situation at the moment:
I've read and I read quite a bit on the internet. Beside that, I've learned (theoretically that is), from other photographers on DPReview as well.
I like to shoot portraits and I' ve done so for many, many years. But...only in available light.
After trying Broncolor lights/stripboxes/etc. (all was already set up), on a professional imaging fair with models, I watched my results....those without any studio lighting (so higher iso), and those with extra lights. Ofcourse there' s a difference. "Simply shoot at f8 / 100iso", as Broncolor guy said to me when I put a transmitter on my camera. I was truly impressed by those results!
So, after so many years, I now want to take studio photography a bit further.
I already used backdrops/reflectors. And now (just a few weeks ago), I ordered a Godox AD400Pro and a Godox AD300Pro. I only shoot indoors (so far at least), and in my living room (reasonably spacious). I' m planning to buy a Parabolix 45 package (parabolic reflector for my AD400Pro), and another light modifier for the AD300Pro (not sure what modifier to get for this light). I know Broncolor Paras are the way to go for parabolic reflectors (or maybe Briese), but it' s too early for me to spend that kind of money . First more experience(s).
Apart from that Parabolix reflectors look really, really good (even comparable to Paras/Briese...but for a lot less money. Gabriel Luis has a nice comparison of parabolic reflectors on FM; worth reading/looking at those results! He compares Paras with Parabolix and Godox reflectors....all say parabolic, but Godox definitely is not in my opinion and looking at those results. Parabolix on the other hand does very well.
I know a parabolic reflector isn' t a light modifier that most people start out with, but when I see the results online...and knowing that with such a reflector I' ll probably get more modifiers in one, I definitely think it' s a good option. Only too bad that Parabolix doesn' t have a European representative...I' ll probably have to import it from the US.

So, that' s where I am at the moment. Very much at the beginning of shooting portraits with studio equipment. The other day I found out about the differences between groups and channels :) ...gives you an idea in how basic my knowledge is at the moment...but I'm eager to learn and I will learn. Just as I did in other aspects of photography (colour management/printing/etc.)
Thinking about that Parabolix...(already found a proper light stand on the internet for this...I' ll maybe order that as well), and reading/reading and (you guessed already)...reading.
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A parabolic reflector is very flexible, on one hand, but it's also not a jack of all trades. In other words, this isn't something I would start with. I would start with a set of easy to use, forgiving modifiers on which it would be easy to learn lighting and to be able to visually see the differences between hard and soft light, diffused and directional light.

So, my starting kit would be:
  • 40-50" white umbrella with black backing
  • Barn doors with a grid
  • Snoot with a grid
This is a VERY flexible kit, it's easy to use and you could use that for years before you truly need a parabolic.
Thank you again Macro guy for your advice! Much appreciated.
I' ll take a closer look at your suggested starting kit. Surely much cheaper.
You say:
".......A parabolic reflector is very flexible, on one hand, but it's also not a jack of all trades. In other words, this isn't something I would start with....."

Excuse me for these questions, but this isn' t yet clear to me:
What do you mean by "flexible"? More reflectors in one, I guess? What could be wrong with that?
Are parabolic reflectors less forgiving? Isn' t it possible to see differences between hard and soft light with parabolic reflectors, between diffused and directional light?
Parabolic reflectors don't do scattered light. They are directional by nature.

They are flexible in so far as focusing the light, but they won't do the soft window light effect. They're particularly well suited for fashion where the models have good skin and you want to see the texture of the fabric. They are not particularly well suited for complimentary portraits of older people.
. I’ll have to do more reading . Thank you for this information. Ofcourse I also want to get the “soft window light” effect .
Maybe multiple light shapers.
I know a parabolic reflector isn' t a light modifier that most people start out with, but when I see the results online...and knowing that with such a reflector I' ll probably get more modifiers in one, I definitely think it' s a good option.
Parabolics aren't uncommon today for those starting out in their photographic pursuits. They were once largely cost prohibitive so there wasn't a lot of uptake by new photographers. You get a lot of capability and versatility from a single modifier, and depending on what parabolic you go with, you can set up/take down quickly with minimum effort.

Please be cognizant that the kind of light you get from a para can be highly dependent on the flash head, position of the flash head, the power level used, and the size of the para.
Example: If you're wanting a rather "soft" look, and you're using a large para (e.g. Broncolor 222 or larger) it is relatively easy to get a natural looking mix of ambient and flash with the rod pulled to its furthest detent at lower power settings. It's also why it's popular to use the modeling light (especially older dimmable incandescent modeling lights) only for a more natural "fill" of light when mixed with ambient (think soft nudes/sun dresses where subject is lit with light coming from large window or barn door, but you want to soften the light-to-dark transition on the skin/fabric , etc..) The situations where a para can work in your favor without giving the stereotypical 'brilliant' or 'specular' light on your subject is boundless. Want your light softer and skitter scattered all over the place? .. throw an old bed sheet over your para. There are too many simple/cheap ways to get what you want when using a para - it's not the solution for everything, but it is a multi-faceted solution for a great many photographic situations. The typical goal is to simply get the light that you want onto the subject - however you do that is up to you - many prospective tools at your disposal.

Here's a simple truth: I can easily get my para(s) to light a subject like a softbox; in fact I can pull the soft white baffling from one of my soft boxes and simply put it in front of a small para and I've got a softbox. Conversely, I can't get my soft boxes to perform like a paras. I would be careful not to pigeon hole any particular modifier as many times the capability of a modifier is largely dependent on how a respective photographer uses the modifier and amount of light actually emitted from the strobe.
Thank you teiladay. Useful information!
I also was thinking about diffusion grids (if that's the correct name), to get a more diffused light from a parabolic reflector. Should work, I think (?). Throwing an old bed sheet over a para sounds even more economical en easier :) . Thank you for this tip!
I know, position of flash head inside a parabolic reflector makes a big difference (that' s one of the reasons I like about the idea of using a parabolic modifier...more possibilities in one modifier).
So, according to you, a para can be used as a soft box (given enough diffusion in front of it). That' s what I would think as well (sounds logical to me).
Didn' t know that using the modelling light only is so popular, but again, this sounds logical as well.
So...it seems that a proper para has even more usage than providing directional light only. Even functions as a soft box.
If so, then maybe there' s even more reason to start with a para instead of a soft box (which cannot be adapted to act like a proper para..directional, "specular" light).
In my mind is the Parabolix 45" para....next one up would be the 55" size.