As a photographer who has never really used professional studio equipment before, buying my own kit was an investment that I was hoping would be worthwhile. I scoured the internet for equipment which was not massively expensive, but still seemed to be of good quality and had decent reviews. I ended up ordering from Photo Geeks, and I am extremely impressed with the quality of the equipment and have had a lot of fun playing around with it all!
I ordered the Background Support Stand Kit & 3 Muslin Backdrops (White, Black and Green) the Studio Flash Photography Lighting Kit | JINBEI - 2 x Delicacy 200w | Softbox Strobe and the JINBEI TR-A9 Wireless Digital Flash Trigger.
I set the equipment up in my living room (as pictured below) and I found that it was extremely easy to use, and also wasn't too intrusive in the space.
I thought it might be useful to put together a blog post about what exactly was included in what I ordered, and a step by step guide of how to assemble the equipment to show just how easy it is to use!
The Background Support Stand Kit is made out of strong aluminium alloy and only weighs 2.5kg. The kit is easy to assemble & disassemble and comes with a durable carry bag, making this kit perfect for portability. The telescopic stands (pictured below) adjust from 80cm to 2.5m with the use of three quick single action nut locks, providing fast precision height adjustments.
The 3m cross bar consists of four sections (81cm in length) allowing four possible widths for the support. I have only used three of the four sections when assembling the backdrop in order to fit the stand in the desired space (pictured below). The stands & cross-bar are finished in black to avoid any unwanted reflection and the stands can hold any muslin, paper, vinyl, canvas or textile supports as long as they don't weigh over 6kg (13.2lb).
Three muslin cloth backdrops are included with this kit (black, white & green), the backdrops are all made out of good quality 100% cotton to absorb light and elliminate reflection. They also include sewn-in rod pockets on one side to allow them to be easily hung up with the cross-beam. All of the backdrops were slightly creased when they arrived, however they are machine washable so I washed them and then hung them on the crossbar to allow the creases to drop out as they dried.
The Studio Flash Photography Lighting Kit is the perfect entry level flash set-up for amateur studio photographers. The set up includes 2 x 200w Jinbei Delicacy II flash heads, which are compact and easy to operate and provide enough power for indoor shooting in a small to medium sized space. Pictured below is one half of the lighting kit - one Delicacy II 200w Flash Head, one 50x70cm Softbox and one Jinbei EQ 190cm Stand. The full kit includes two of each of these.
The Delicacy II 200w flash head power can be turned down by 1/32 of its rated power giving you lots of control over the light output. The 50w modelling bulb, high heat resistance for continuous shooting and a recycling time of less than 2 seconds allows you to shoot comfortably in a home or indoor setting and achieve high quality results. The flash head is easily mounted onto the light stand.
The high quality German Heimann flash tubes ensure long life and consistent colour temperature (pictured below).
The two 50x70cm softboxes allow you to soften the light from the flash heads, perfect for portrait or product photography. The professionally grained reflective surface inside the softbox helps to distribute and diffuse light easily and efficiently, and the bayonet mount allows for full rotation of the softbox when set up.
The first step is to secure the metal struts into the bayonet mount and the softbox. I found it easiest to insert the two opposite struts first, inserting the metal end of the strut into the black pocket at the corner of the softbox, then inserting the other end into the bayonet mount (pictured below). The rods will bend slightly to accommodate the curve of the softbox.
After inserting the two other metal struts, I then secured the bayonet mount onto the flash head which I had previously mounted onto the light stand. The 1.9m sturdy light stands gives the flash heads support, allowing you to direct your flash where you need it. The stands can be set up in seconds and once finished they fold away into a compact space. I then secured the inner diffuser to the inside of the softbox, clipping it onto the elastic in each corner.
I then secured the outer diffuser onto the velcro around the outside of the softbox. For the final step, I attached my Wireless Digital Flash Trigger to the power socket on the back of the flash head. The flash trigger allows for complete control of the flash equipment. The 2.4Ghz wireless frequency transmitter and receiver enables you to trigger your flash remotely, giving you more control. The flash trigger has 16 channels and has a range of 100m. You simply secure the hot-shoe trigger onto your camera, and when you click the shutter, a signal is sent immediately to the receiver which prompts the flashgun to operate.
The video below shows just how responsive the flash is when I am using the wireless trigger from a variety of distances.
And finally here are some of the photographs I took in this video - showing the distance I was from the subject and just how powerful the light from the softbox is!
Make sure you keep an eye out for some upcoming blog posts showing the sorts of things I have been up to with my new studio photography equipment!