I checked out a lighting kit from NAU on Friday so I could help my lady friend with a modeling shoot down in Glendale over spring break. The kit is two AB800's (320 watt/seconds each) and two softboxes.
To make sure we knew how to set everything up and that everything worked, we decided to do a test shoot. I hadn't had a portrait done in forever, so I stood in as the model.
I can't take much credit for these photos. Once we set up the lights, Dahlia did all the shooting wonderfully. She even managed to direct me as a model! I did do the post production myself - and I hope to never do skin retouching on my own face again. It was an ego-destroying experience, seeing my own skin at 300% on a 22" monitor, though I recommend it as a life experience, especially to those photographers who heavily retouch photos of other people.
Overall I really enjoyed the shoot. I bought the coat at savers ($9!!!) specifically to be photographed in - but it fits better than my "real" sports coat and it looks nicer too. I'll probably buy another one to sacrifice to a photo shoot involving a shower... but that will be later.
I've spent some time looking at my options with Alienbee strobes. Their products are remarkably inexpensive and after using the AB800's yesterday, I see no reason at all to own Profoto or Elinchrome - the light was great, the color and power were consistant, and we had plenty of power to spare. The lights were at 1/2 and 1/4 power, while the camera was 1/125, F11, ISO 100. If I used these suckers on the kinds of portraits that I usually do, with a really shallow depth of field, I could power them down even further and still get phenomenal light. Right now I'm trying to decide between Mr. Buff's unreleased Einstein strobes, or the AB800. Both have their pros and cons, but I figure I'll just call Alienbee and ask them what they suggest for my purposes.
Have a wonderful day! I know it's Monday for those of you in the working world... but I'm on spring break - no work or school for me.