One of the things you need to do to be a serious photographer is get a home studio running. And the good news: you do not need much.
You can do it by using something like this—and this is a pretty well equipped speedlight portrait setup:
- Camera and lens(es). Pretty much any lens will do since you will be shooting at f/8. Use longer lenses for headshots. My favourite is my 70-200.
- Four cheap flashes. You can use any flash, any brand of flash whose power can be set manually and whose automatic time-out can be disabled. Like $85 Yongnuo manual (non-TTL) speedlites.
- Five Pocketwizards (or similar). The simplest, non-TTL types.
- Four Pocketwizard to hotshoe cables (from PW or from flashzebra.com).
- Four light stands.
- Two umbrella/flash mount brackets
- Two umbrellas.
- Two ball heads (for background light and hair light)
- 2 Speed straps, one Honl speedsnoot, one Honl photo 1/4″ grid.
- One set of Honl photo artistic gels.
- A backdrop stand with two or three crossbars (unless you have a grey wall).
- A roll of background paper. I suggest dark grey. But white and black are also useable.
We are talking a camera plus perhaps a couple of thousand dollars to be completely equipped for headshots, three-quarter shots, etc. (To make things easy, I recommend using a complete Honl photo kit, from www.honlphoto.com/?Click=2032 – use that link, and use discount word “Willems” at checkout to get an additional 10% off the kit price.)
That’s not much equipment. Yes, you can even do it in a simpler fashion (e.g. by using “SU-45” flash follower mode on three of the four flashes, and by using a reflector for your fill light), and you can do this in several phases rather than all at once, but the above setup gives you a reliable pro kit, and some redundancy as well.
If you want to learn how to do this, good news. It’s easy. Come to a custom personal class (see http://learning.photography) or join one of my Brantford meetups or buy my acclaimed e-book bundles from http://learning.photography/collections/e-books.