1. What are the different types of backgrounds and what are the advantage of each?
We sell different types of studio backgrounds (different materials, sizes and colors). Every photographer should have in their own collection at least white, black, grey, blue and green backgrounds.
ColorQuantum Vinyl Backgrounds are available in different sizes (ie. 1.1m, 2x6m and 3x6m), with a range of colors: white, black and Chroma green to best suit your photography needs, with a matt side for shooting. Being non-reflective they are ideal for hi-key (add strong lights) and low-key photography. Vinyl backgrounds are a highly durable superior alternative to paper, they are wrinkle-free and last many years if kept properly. The material is easy to clean and maintain using a wet sponge and mild soap.
These backgrounds are ideal for: hi-key, low-key, Portraits, Passport photography, Group photography, Product Photography, Beauty Photography, Wedding Photography (in the studio), Animal Photography, Children Photography and Studio Photography work, after which you can clean the dirt. Advantages: durable, superior alternative to paper backgrounds; easy to use; no wrinkles; very easy to clean if it gets dirty; it lasts many years if kept properly with a matt side for shooting. Disadvantages: due to the weight and length of the rolls it is not easy to carry/store (the product is supplied in rolls). Available in our shop: ColorQuantum Vinyl Backgrounds.
Paper backgrounds come in rolls and have a matt side for shooting. These backgrounds are ideal for: hi-key, low-key, portraits, Passport photography, Group photography, Product Photography, Beauty Photography, Wedding Photography, Children Photography, Studio Photography. Advantages: variety of colors; available in different roll sizes; easy to use; no wrinkles; tear off if it gets dirty; Disadvantages: not durable (it gets dirty easily); it is disposable (if the paper gets dirty and you tear off that section, the roll will be consumed when similar cases appear); not very easy to carry/store (product supplied in rolls). Available in our shop: Tetenal backgrounds.
Cloth Backgrounds are available in different sizes (1,5x2m, 2.85x6m, 3x6m etc.), with a variety of colors, such as white, black, grey, Chroma green. Its made out of high quality cotton. These backgrounds are ideal for: hi-key, low-key, Portraits, Passport photography (specific colors), Group photography, Product Photography, Beauty Photography, Children Photography, Portable Studio Photography, Studio Photography. Advantages: portable, very easy to fold and store, matte finish, non-reflective; washable (not applicable for motif backgrounds). Disadvantages: can present wrinkles, but the material can be ironed (not applicable for motif backgrounds). Available in our shop: ColorQuantum Cloth Backgrounds.
Foldable Backgrounds are available in different sizes (150x210cm, 150x200cm etc.), with a variety of colors, such as white, black, grey, chroma green. Made out of cotton/synthetic fiber.
The foldable background is unicolor, double sided (black/white, blue/green) and can also be used with or without a train. Ideal for shooting on location. These backgrounds are ideal for: hi-key, low-key, Portraits, Passport photography (specific colors), Beauty Photography, Children Photography, shooting on location, Studio Photography. Advantages: extremely portable, very easy to fold and store. Disadvantages: the background can be used to work with two subjects maximum. Available in our shop: FotoQuantum Collapsible Backgrounds.
2. What are the differences between each type of background in regards to quality, price and effects?
The quality of the products is different according to the material. The backgrounds come in different sizes, shapes (roll or foldable circle etc.), and materials (paper, cloth, vinyl, etc.) therefore, prices are different.
The vinyl backgrounds are a highly durable superior alternative to paper backgrounds, wrinkle-free (opposed to the cloth backgrounds which might present wrinkles), extremely easy to maintain and clean (as opposed to paper, which you have to tear off once it gets dirty). Compared to the foldable backgrounds, the vinyl backgrounds can be used for group photography. However the foldable backgrounds are only for a group of 2 subjects maximum because of its opened size). Due to the roll weight, the vinyl backgrounds are not very portable, but are an excellent quality choice to have in your own studio, and will last for many years.
If the background is dirty you can clean it by using a wet sponge, there is no need to cut it. However, if you wish to cut the material and use it for work with a photo table, for example, of course you can cut it. But do it carefully in order to keep in use the remaining vinyl roll. It is up to the photographer either to cut the background or not. See our product range of Vinyl Backgrounds.
4. Which Background Supports are recommended for which type of Backgrounds?
The backgrounds you find in our shop are: Cloth / Motif, Foldable Backgrounds, Paper backgrounds, Vinyl Backgrounds.
For Cloth/Motif backgrounds use as support a Telescopic Background system 3m, 3,9m or XXL (MPN 291051, 291068, 291884) which includes a telescopic bar (details mentioned in the product description) in order to sustain the background. The cloth background presents a special pocket in which you can insert the bar of the support.
As support for the foldable backgrounds you can use a 2m or 2,6m light stand (depending on the size of the background) and a clamp hook. The Foldable background has straps on the lateral side for hanging.
For Paper backgrounds you can use as support 2 light stands (which can sustain the weight of the roll) and 2 expanders with chain and weight, plus 2 Spigot/Clamp Hooks. The expanders are inserted and fixed inside the core of the background roll, and then the roll is mounted on the hooks. Use the chain and weight to roll or unroll for work. As support you can also use the Wall Mounted support kits.
For Vinyl Backgrounds we recommend as support 2 light stands 2,6m or 2,8m (which can sustain the weight of the roll) and 2 expanders with chain and weight, plus 2 Spigot/Clamp Hooks. The expanders are inserted and fixed inside the core of the vinyl roll, and then the roll is mounted on the hooks. Use the chain and weight to roll and unroll for work. As support you can also use Wall Mounted support kits or the Autopole system. In our shop you find support kits for the vinyl rolls, which are portable and easy to mount.
5. Can I install the Vinyl Background on my own supports?
Yes, but it depends what type of support you use. The Vinyl Backgrounds are heavier than the cloth or paper backgrounds (it depends on the size of the product of course). For background rolls it is also recommended to use as support the light stand kits with expanders, chain and weight (MPN 293031, 294533).
6. What are the differences between Vinyl Backgrounds and Vinyl Backgrounds with microfiber layer? Do you get the same super white with both products?
It depends what you prefer to buy, according to the experience you have working with backgrounds, and of course the budget available.
The 600g-vinyl background is made out of vinyl; the microfiber background has besides the vinyl also a layer of microfiber. The microfiber vinyl background is recommended to be used for work with a white wall behind it. The color is the same: matt white, the difference stands in the material (as the composition is different). The 600g-vinyl background has a higher quality than the vinyl with microfiber, it is easier to clean and more durable. See our product range of Vinyl Backgrounds under product category Background System.
7. What kind of support can I use for a Cloth Background 3x6m type?
As Background support for Cloth Backgrounds you find in our shop Telescopic Supports of 3m, 3,9m or XXL (MPN 291051, 291068, 291884). The Cloth Background has a pocket in which you insert the bar of the telescopic support (in order to sustain the background, and extend the material).
Another option is to use Background Clips (MPN 294328) which can sustain the cloth background as well. The clips are inserted into the support bar, and the background is sustained by the clip (clamping mechanism).
1. What are the differences between Softboxes and Umbrellas and what are the advantages of each?
Both are Light Modifiers.
Photographers tend to choose softboxes over umbrellas, if their work requires detailed lighting, but if you need light over a large area choose an umbrella. For beginners in photography, umbrella is great to start with.
Umbrellas are large light sources that produce a very soft light. Working with umbrellas is impossible to control the light.
The softbox produces a more even light compared to the light of an umbrella. The light goes through the 2 white diffusers of the softbox, which spread out the light. Softboxes come in different shapes ans sizes: square, rectangular and octagonal. The large softboxes placed closer to the subject produce a very soft directional light. The larger the softbox, the softest the light. An accessory for the softbox is the Grid.
Umbrellas are very simple to use and extremely portable, and come in different sizes and colors. The bigger the size, the softer the light produced.
How to choose the right size to work with a softbox or umbrella? Different sizes are used for different applications, but if you need the light to be very soft then choose a bigger size.
2. What is the utility of each color of umbrella: translucent, white, silver and gold?
Gold/Black, Silver/Black, White/Black are Reflective umbrellas. The light is bounced into the umbrella and reflected back onto the subject.
Gold umbrella adds warmth to the pictures.
Silver umbrella is very bright, it creates bright highlights for portraits.
White umbrella softens and spreads out the light.
Shoot through Umbrella (White Translucent Umbrella) creates a softer effect.
1. What power of flash is needed for which size of studio, and for which type of photography? How many flashes do I need?
What you need for a simple studio is a white background and 3 - 4 lights. Do not set up your studio where natural light is present because this type of light cannot be controlled. Select a large room with high ceiling if possible, to work comfortably and have space to mount the material needed for work. Mount your background on the support and unroll it until it reaches the floor and mount the lights.
There is no standard distance of how to position the light away from the subject, this is the choice of every photographer. When working with studio flashes, 4 lights are needed: key light (the main light on your subject), fill light (removes excess shadows), a hair light for your subject and a background light (in high key photography you can use both hair and background light as background lights). Studio flash output is measured in watts per second or Joules. Lights of 180Ws - 250Ws are enough for small studios , and for larger studios you need up to 500Ws or more. If your studio space is too small is not ideal to have a powerful flash, as there will be too much uncontrollable light. Studio Flashes are used for straightforward portraits, still life, people in action (dancers, children etc.). In our shop you find studio flashes with Bowens “S-Type” mount, and accessories for compatibility with different brands.)
2. What is the difference between a Flash and a Daylight? Do I need both?
If you work with a studio flash or off-camera flashes, the result is a white light that aims at your subject. The exposure is captured in a single, powerful flash of light.
The studio flash does not create excessive amounts of heat, being practical for shooting portraits, still life and subjects in action. To control the light generated by the flash, photographers choose light modifiers such as: umbrellas, softboxes, snoots etc. Unlike Studio Flashes which illuminate the subject only at the moment of exposure, the Continuous Lights make it easier to visualize the final effect of light on your subject. Continuous Lights produce soft light for portraits, a low volume of heat and are available with umbrellas, softboxes and reflectors, including one or more individual lamps. The continuous lights are a necessity for video. The choice to work with Studio Flashes or Continuous lights depends on the preference of every photographer.
4. What are the differences between FotoQuantum flashes and Walimex flashes?
FotoQuantum is a European brand of Professional Studio Flashes, equipped with advanced features. It includes flashes of power 55Ws, 180Ws, 250Ws and 500Ws. Studio Flash kits are available in our shop with different accessories: umbrellas, softboxes, beauty dish etc.
FotoQuantum Flashes have Bowens “S-Type” mount, being compatible with many accessories. Walimex is also a European brand, including flashes of power up to 1000Ws, with items available also for outdoor work; products compatible with Bowens accessories as well.
VC-PLUS flashes have a bigger display that shows all the settings of the flash.
For VC-PLUS series the flash power can be adjusted from full to 1/32 (for VC flashes from full to 1/16). There is an optional remote control for VC PLUS series (up to 7 studio flashes can be controlled, MPN 16578) available for the configuration of the flash power, modeling light, slave and acoustic signal.
6. What type of flash can be used with the Speedlite System Flash Battery Pack Q-POWER QP-820?
The Battery Pack Q-POWER QP-820 comes with coiled cables for Canon (MPN 291860) and Nikon (MPN 291839). The coiled cables can be purchased separately, for flash models compatibility please check the product descriptions. The canon cable also is compatible for Nissin flashes.
For outdoor work you can use compact flashes for which you find portable batteries as accessory in our shop. For studio flashes currently we do not sell the portable batteries. See in our shop Portable Lighting Power product category.
The Beauty dish is an ideal accessory for portrait and beauty photography, it creates a natural lighting in the eyes. You find in our shop Beauty dishes that can be used with different flash systems. The product description mentiones the compatibility with different brands: FotoQuantum, Aurora/ Bowens, Walimex, Elinchrom etc.
The snoot is also suitable for portrait and beauty photography, it creates punctual light. The light is concentrated, and useful to light up your motifs. Compatible with different flash systems.
Honeycomb (different sizes) is an accessory for the beauty dish, the snoot and also you can buy it as a kit (with barndoors and color filters - accessory for the flash reflector, ie. MPN 291778). The Honeycomb creates a straight direct lighting.
1. What are the features of a radio trigger, and how does it work?
Radio triggers consist of a small transmitter that is plugged into the camera hot shoe and a receiver that is plugged into the studio flash.
The transmitter sends a signal to the receiver. Whichever triggering method you use, you’ll only need to fire one flash head. Any other flash heads will fire automatically when they 'see' the flash from the one fired by the camera.
In our shop you find triggers for compact and studio flashes (please make sure you choose the right product depending on your needs). There are some triggers that offer other features like shutter release, etc.
3. Is it compulsory to have a receiver on every FotoQuantum Studio Flashes to trigger all of them at the same time?
It is not compulsory but advisable. With only one receiver and the photocell activated on the others, there is no need to have a receiver on each.
However, if you want to have a more than perfect synchronization between the flashes, more than one receiver can be used. But, in most cases, in terms of quality of photos, one or more receivers are not perceptible. ie. FotoQuantum LightPro Studio Flash Trigger FQ-DM04 (MPN 290146).
1. What is the power needed for a continuous light according to the size of the studio? And for what type of photography? How many lights do I need?
If possible, select a large room with high ceiling, to work comfortably and have space to mount the material needed. Mount your background on the support and the lights accordingly. Do not set up your studio where natural light is present because this type of light cannot be controlled.
There is no standard distance to position the light away from the subject, this is the choice of every photographer. Working with Continuous Lights is easy, you have no heat on your subject, and a bright light (daylight). "What you see is what you get. " Begin with key light (with an umbrella or softbox), fill light (can be a shoot-through umbrella), a hair light (can be a softbox with grid) for your subject, and a background light. You can start with key light fist, and then add the other lights according to your work requirements and budget.
Continuous Daylight Sets are ideal for catalogs, collectables, food photography, product photography, portraits, and video. In our shop you find Daylight Sets and Units up to 450W, 900W. 1800W, 3500W, LED lights, Quartz lights and accessories. Beginners can start with a Daylight of power up to 450W, and add more powerful Daylights according to the work requirements. See the product category Continuous Video Lighting. In our shop you find options available for every level of experience and budget.
Continuous Lights (Fluorescent lights) generate little or no heat and are very safe to work with. They include energy saving bulbs (one or more bulbs depending on the daylight). Fluorescent lights are ideal for shooting small and large products, high key photography.
3. What is better: a daylight with flaps, reflectors, umbrellas or softboxes?
Photographers tend to choose Softboxes over umbrellas, if their work requires detailed lighting, but if you need light over a large area choose an umbrella. For beginners in photography, umbrella is great to start with.
In our shop you find Daylights with reflectors that can be used for work for Product Photography (ie. with Light cubes), Daylights with different shapes and sizes of Softboxes, and Daylights with Umbrellas. Softboxes are the ideal light modifiers for portraits, as you can control the light. Umbrellas are large light sources, producing very soft light. In our shop you will also find Daylights with flaps for video and photography (ie. MPN 293154 in different product sets).
4. What is the difference between Fluorescent lights, Quartz and LED lights?
The difference is the color temperature, and also the light modifiers that can be used with each continuous light kit.
The Quartz colour temperature is 3200K. It gets hot fast (like all quartz continuous lighting). For Quartz lights no filters are required to avoid yellow cast images. As accessory for Quartz Lights use a reflector (usually delivered with the product) and a beauty dish. Continuous Lights (Fluorescent Lights) are Cool and daylight balanced, and come with screw-in bulbs (one or more bulbs, depending on the kit) reflectors, different shapes and sizes of softboxes etc. Working with these Continuous Lights is easy, you have no heat on your subject, and you have a bright light (daylight). LED (light-emitting diode), long lasting and cool lights. LED lights are often used for motion picture filming. As note, the LED lights are not measured by Watts but by Lux (see the product description). LEDs come with or without barndoors, and also with a softbox as accessory (ie. MPN 16736).
Regarding the color temperature, the quartz light has a color temperature of around 3200K, which make the light to be yellow, and it is used for video. The continuous lights (Fluorescent Lights) have a color temperature of 5400K (LED is between 3200K-6200K), and they can be used for both photo and video.
5. Is there any extra information regarding the bulbs and their power?
In our shop you find energy saving bulbs. The bulbs are sold separately (as an individual product), or as part of a light kit.
Daylight spiral lamps (Continuous Video Lighting > Video Light Bulbs) for example:
1) if you are using a Daylight Spiral Lamp of 50W (Nominal/ Rated wattage) the light efficiency corresponds to 250W of a conventional bulb
2) if you are using a Daylight Spiral Lamp of 85W (Nominal/ Rated wattage) the light efficiency corresponds to 450W of a conventional bulb
ie. FotoQuantum StudioMax Daylight 450W with Reflector (MPN 294342): this product includes an 85W bulb (which is equivalent to 450W of a regular bulb).
1. Do I need a softbox? What is the utility of using it?
Softbox - It is the ideal light modifier for portraits, as it allows to control the light. Useful for shooting portraits for which you need a darker, black background.
Softboxes come in different shapes: square, rectangular and octagonal, and sizes. An accessory for the softbox is the Grid.
The softbox produces a more even light than the light of an umbrella. The light goes through the 2 white diffusers of the softbox, which spread it out.
2.What are the shapes and sizes of a Softbox? What is the utility of each of them?
Softboxes come in different sizes and shapes: square, rectangular and octagonal. The large softboxes placed closer to the subject produce a very soft directional light. The larger the softbox, the softest is the light.
An Octagonal Softbox is used for Beauty Portraits, full body photography (using side lighting or front full body shooting).
Ideal for single subject portraits and group photography. This softbox can be used for Product Photography, or any other form of photography, as the larger the light source in relation to the subject, the softer the light will be. To have circular catch lights use an octagonal softbox.
Square Softboxes are suitable for many types of photography: portraits, still life photography. Square catch lights.
Rectangular softboxes are ideal for Product photography, Beauty photography. Rectangular catch lights.
The Striplight creates side lighting in portraits or full body beauty photography.
3. Can a Softbox be used with a continuous light for work?
Continuous Light kits are available with Softbox as well, but the softbox cannot be bought separately as an accessory (see the list of accessories at the bottom of every product page). The Category Softboxes in our shop does not include softboxes for continuous lights, but for Studio Flashes.
4. What type of Softbox can be used with a Speedlite?
In the Product subcategory Light Modifiers you find softboxes for compact flashes/speedlites.
Softboxes for compact flashes/speedlites:
1. Softboxes mounted on a special holder (Flash Device Bracket) for light modifiers (connection Bowens and Walimex pro/K) to which you attach the softbox/other accessories;
2. Small size softboxes attached to the flash directly (no rods)
For portrait and passport photography you can find in our shop the kits Speedlite with White Translucent Umbrella (ie. MPN 292621, 292638 or 292348)
5. What are the main differences between an Octagonal Softbox with grid, and a Softbox without grid in terms of lighting? When is it required to use them?
An Octagonal Softbox is used for Beauty Portraits, full body photography (using side lighting or front full body shooting).
It is deal for single subject portraits and group photography. This softbox can be used for Product Photography, or any other form of photography, as the larger the light source in relation to the subject, the softer the light will be.
A grid can be used by simply attaching it in front of the softbox.
The grid is the ideal accessory when shooting portraits, as it focuses the light and it gives you more control over the light that lands on your subject. See our range of Softboxes.
1. I am doing product photography, what kit do you recommend for this type of photography?
Product Photography category includes Lighting sets for this type of photography and different Product kits including Light Cubs and Tables. Product Lighting sets come in combination of photo table with a daylight kit (with softbox or reflector), but also light cubes with a daylight kit.
Light cubes (different sizes), depending on the product, include also a pack of backgrounds (white, black, red and blue color) which offer flexibility for work. Photo Tables (different sizes as well) come with a white diffusion surface that, depending on the table type, can be extended also as a flat table to take photos for big size objects. See our product range Product Photography.
When working with a light cube the lights are placed on the lateral sides of the cube, and the walls of the cube serve as diffusers. Depending on the result wanted for the pictures, for the light cube you can add also light from the top, or the backside. In our shop you find light cubes of different sizes, therefore the products size (of which you shoot) is important in order to have the right lighting.
Photo tables (different sizes and working height) have a white diffusion surface that, depending on the table type, can be extended also as a flat table to take photos for big size objects. In this case you do not have available anymore diffusion walls, therefore as lighting for example you can use Daylight softbox kits, but also Daylight kits with reflector (the reflector is covered with a white front diffuser).
3. Is it necessary to turn on the light of the studio room when working with a light cube kit including the lights?
Light Cubes have different sizes, and also the power of the light included in the kit varies. Depending on the result you wish to achieve, you can add more lights to your light cube (usually 2 lights are included in the kit). Might be that the lights of the studio room are useful as well, it is choice of the photographer to use them or not.
4. How should the light be oriented in order to avoid shadows and reflections in product photography and in general?
In our shop you find Product Photography kits that include a daylight set (usually 2 or more lights). When working with a daylight kit in this case, according to the position of the 2 lights, you can see immediately the shadows. Depending on the effect you want to obtain in the pictures, you can add more lights if considered necessary, and also move the lights until arriving to the result you wish to achieve.