On buying strobes
A question I get A LOT is "what power should I buy"
Let me be very clear and short.
If you shoot in a dark studio there is no reason to buy 1200ws with all modern day cameras you can shoot higher ISO without any problems so even the 50-100w will do just fine.
If you shoot in a light studio and there is even a lot of light. Most 400w will do just fine. A bit depending on the modifier because some modifiers eat light.
Now if you want to shoot outside the 400/500w range will do fine for fill in flash and with a maxilight from Elinchrom even for day to night. But I would advise the 1100w series Rangers for this.
Now back to the studio.
Some important factors to consider :
1. Flash duration
More expensive strobes will have a shorter flash duration. But do check if this is not on the lowest setting but in the middle of full power. This is important for freezing action and we do want this on more output than the lowest of course.
For freezing power you need app 1/2200 flash duration anything below will work to some extend but timing will be crucial and some movement will be shown.
Often overlooked but you shouldn't buy a strobe with a range of 3 stops. It's just not flexible enough. Get something with 4-5 stops at least or for example look
At the new Elinchrom ELC series which have a great range.
Make sure there are modifiers for your system you like and that are good. Often people forget that the strobes themselves are not the expensive things. The main investment is in modifiers. So you better buy for example an Elinchrom d-lite series and know you can still use your modifiers later when you upgrade than buy a cheap brand that has their own mount. Remember that modifiers generate the look not the strobe itself.
I like to control my strobes from the camera with (in my case) the skyports. It's something you really get used to quick and it saves you a lot of walking time to adjust the Strobes.
I like my strobes digitally controlled in 1/10th increments. I would not advise to buy a strobe with a turn knob. It's always a guess with these. (Unless the turn knob is digital of course)
6. Modeling lights options
I like my modeling lights in proportional (meaning it gets brighter and dimmer with output) or freely adjustable so the model doesn't go blind when shooting on full power. (Although the strobe itself will
Hit her harder)
7. Mounting the modifiers
Often overlooked but you don't want to struggle with the connectors during a shoot or burn your hands. So make sure your system works for you. Try it out before you buy but remember sometimes you need practice.
This is just a start of course.
If you like I can make a slightly longer version for my blog.
For way more indepth tips check out my book "mastering the model shoot" or my new classes on kelbyone. And of course our instructional videos via www.frankdoorhof.com
. I highly recommend the new video on the light meter ;)