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I have a Canon Rebel T2i With a Kit lens and a 50mm 1.8 prime with me. I want to get started with strobes. Now the thing is, I don't have any idea about all the stuffs I'd be needing like the remotes, the light stands, the flashes etc..

So can anybody recommend which way to go for the essential things that I'll be needing for a set up?

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See also How can I get started with a first flash gun? for a question more focused on "I already have something; how do I learn to use it?" –  mattdm Mar 11 at 21:25

4 Answers 4

You, my friend, are in amazing luck, because there is a really awesome website dedicated to strobes (more specifically off-camera lighting).

I highly, highly recommend checking out

The Lighting 101 series is a great beginner guide to getting started with strobes.

To better answer your question here, it would help to know your budget.

Personally, I highly recommend (and use) Sigma 500 series flashes for Canon if you are under budget constraints. If you are brand loyal, and have the cash, the Canon 580 EX2 is a great flash head--doing everything the Sigma's can, but adding much sturdier build.

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Can't add anything to that. Book some time off and work your way through the archives on Strobist. –  Matt Grum Oct 7 '10 at 23:16
The Strobist blog is the place to start, no question. –  John Cavan Oct 8 '10 at 1:01
Thanks for the recco. I've been following that blog lately (however it seems kinda cluttered and hard to navigate... lol). I tried exploring a bit about strobes on flickr. I was actually confused on which flashes to buy and which remote receivers to invest upon. Everything seem to have it's own pros and cons. –  Rish Oct 8 '10 at 17:31
It is a bit cluttered. Start with the Lighting 101 series. And go through it a couple more times. There is a great youtube vid linked that explains terminology, that I think is really worth adding to your favorites. –  Alan Oct 8 '10 at 18:21

I started using strobes about a year ago.

I have 2 Vivitar 285s, 2 cheap "cactus" remotes, 2 cheap stands and 2 cheap shoot-through umbrellas. (all available from Amazon).

It came to under GBP 200.

I've been very happy with this setup, and I think I've done some nice work with it an example is here.

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I'm by no mean an expert, but I just bought my first strobes a few months ago. I got a kit from Elinkrom : the D-Lite 4. The kit comes with 2 strobes, 2 stands, 2 softboxes, a remote trigger, a PC cable and a DVD with a short tutorial to get you started. This is all you need to start. The kit was about 900CHF (about 930USD). I find it a good value for my money.

There are probably many other ofers similar to this one, but I think that to get a kit is a good idea.

The only problem I have with those strobes is that I have a very small room as a studio, and they are too powerful. I have to dial them down to the minimum and shoot at my minimum aperture (f16 / ISO 200). (It might also be that I dont really know how to use them yet).

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I would strongly recommend using a larger space as that will give you much more control over your lighting. With a confined space you can't control the light bouncing back off every wall and surface so you'll never get deep shadows for example, and you light will always be soft, which might not be what you want. –  Matt Grum Oct 8 '10 at 10:10
I quite agree with you, but I have the budget to buy strobes, not to build a new house ... –  Guillaume Oct 8 '10 at 11:18

I just went to Paul C. Buff's website, bought me a couple of Alien Bees B800's and they have absolutely changed my life. I am getting phenomenal results with them.

One tip: get at least one fairly large softbox. I bought mine from Paul Buff's site and they are very sturdy. I got a 47" octabox and a 10"x36" strip box with a grid. If you can't make someone look good with a 47" octabox and a strobe or two, then they should just go live in a cave.

***Also, I don't have enough reputation to comment on the above post about the Dlite 4 kit being too strong for a small space, so I'm putting it here. Why not try stopping down your lens by getting a neutral density filter? Those filters would allow you to shoot more wide open with the same light in a small room. Just be careful how strong of an ND filter you get.

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