Professional Studio Lighting on a DIY Amateur Budget
Do you love Peter Hurley’s portraits? Beautiful catchlights in the model’s well-lit and shining eyes? The essence of grandeur distilled down to a single headshot?
Maybe you have no idea what in the world I am talking about.
Maybe you have more of an idea than I do of what I am talking about.
Any which way you go on this, one thing is for sure: we all love a well lit and striking portrait. One of the greatest examples of contemporary portrait photography is the aforementioned Peter Hurley. Simple, beautiful, and to the point images of people with negative space to spare and great all around lighting are some of his trademarks. One of the things people point to is his usage of the Kino Flo lights. Everyone knows that the equipment doesn’t make the photographer, but lights are a sure-fire way to bring some instant portrait pizazz to your portfolio.
So now you want to get in on this excellent look, but the Kino Flo system is rather expensive for the average shooter (+$1200 for the basic one panel kit, where Hurley is using 3+ usually).
In comes DIY to the rescue! In Tristan Penner‘s video posted below, he partially walks you through the process and possibilities of his DIY alternative setup. The really nice thing about his kit is the portability and ability to go directly to the model and shoot on location, rather than having to have studio space and the hefty rent that comes along with that. You will have to do a little research to build your own setup, as he does not provide the specifics to allow you to build his setup.
One quick tip on your own build, use a ballast. The built-in ballasts for fluorescent lights are not powerful enough to keep them from flickering. Florescents are tuned to the 60hz AC frequency here in the States, and this will show on anything shot above 1/60s. Use an external ballast, and your power will be enough to use any shutter speed. Enjoy!