Some people say: maximum watts for the studio flash strobe depends on what one plans to shoot.

Other people say, it doesn'worth to have very powerful flash strobe if the studio is small.

What would you say? And why?

Studio about 60qm, main flash strobes could be maximum 400, 600, 750, 1000, 1200 and 1500w. Fashion and beauty shootings.

  • 1
    A pedantic FYI: Watts are a measurement of Power which is Energy (Joules) divided by Time (seconds). Power is misleading in many cases as you can have high power with low energy over a short period of time. A million watt nanosecond laser pulse wouldn't light a match. WattSeconds WS is a measurement of energy (Joules), or total light on subject in this case. Total light can be reduced in two ways; less energy (brightness) and less time. Jan 31 '21 at 17:44
  • @user10216038, 100% agree. The thing is: different sources use different measurement units. I've seen w as watt, ws as watt/second and joule. In my experience w as watt is most usable by flash strobe manufacturers - but i can be wrong here too.
    – Evgeniy
    Jan 31 '21 at 17:54
  • Yes, common usage is often different from technical definition and most people don't really care. Jan 31 '21 at 17:59

The main issue most will face is not having the ability to turn the flash down far enough if you get a high powered strobe.

But having more power allows you to use larger modifiers, and it allows you to use lower power settings for faster flash durations (freezing motion w/ IGBT strobes) and quicker recycle times.

For most typical type fashion/beauty work I would say 600WS is completely adequate as long as it has enough adjustability (and consistency). It might be actually more than you generally need; but unlikely to be less than you will ever require.

  • Turn flash down far enough - if the flash is dimmable, it should be no problem, correct?
    – Evgeniy
    Jan 31 '21 at 15:26
  • Easy way to fix that misconception… put a regular strobe an inch from an object. Try to get the flash short enough that it won't white-out the centre of the object.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 31 '21 at 15:39
  • @Evgeniy, say you have two strobes that have 4 stops adjustment range; one is 1200ws and the other is 200ws. When both are set to minimum (1/16) the 1200 will still be at 75ws and the 200 will be at 12.5ws. And it is highly unlikely that you will find a higher powered strobe that can be turned down as far as a lower powered one; the bulbs are not designed for that (and it causes color shift issues). Jan 31 '21 at 17:17

I would first choose the aperture based on the span of depth of field desired. Let’s assume you want this to be shallow. Start with f/5.6. You can adjust as we proceed. Let’s do with a two light set-up. This will be a main placed high and off to one side. Next place a fill at about lens height, placed somewhat near the camera.

With the only the fill operational, shoot a series of test shots using the watt-seconds adjustments. Let’s pretend the 750 setting produced a reasonable exposure.

We want the fill to be subordinate to the main. Try a series setting the main a 1000 then 1200, then 1500. Examine this series. Use the ISO setting to tune the exposure.

Your series will display a contrast change. Choose the contrast result that suites your needs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.