Update: After some extensive testing I've come to the conclusion that I needed more power than the LED's in this post are capable of providing. While I feel they'd be fine for beauty work and certain types of video work, I don't feel they provide the output required for my needs. I'm returning the lights and have switched to standard Alien Bees (1x 400, 2x 800, 1x 800 Ring Flash). I'll update this thread after the new year with more detailed information regarding the studio. I was going to wait and write this next week after I've gotten a few photo shoots under my belt with the new lighting, but since I've gotten a few requests for more information after posting a photo of my son, I thought I'd go ahead and start this thread a bit early for those who were interested. Back in 2005 my wife and I set up a studio. We used Interfit strobe lighting for a couple of years before moving to Alien Bees. This worked well for us for a few years, but in 2010 I got pulled away towards other interests and went back to school. We've taken the last few years off from studio work. Back in October after returning from a trip to NY where I didn't have a decent camera, I caught the bug again. I bought the Canon 6D, but after using it for a couple of weeks, I wasn't really feeling the love. I wanted something more compact. Photography for me is less about the gear and more about the experience. With that, I gave my wife my Canon gear to replace her aging 5D MK II, and I bought an Olympus E-M1. It didn't take long before we were talking about setting up another home studio, but since we had sold off most of our gear this would require buying new lighting. Since video is so prevalent in camera gear now, we thought we might be interested in a constant lighting setup, and a short bit of research led us to LED panels. There are pros and cons to LED panels, not the least of which is that the good ones, the ones that produce enough light for our needs, cost over $1500 a panel. There's also the issue with not being able to use a standard light shaping tool that you may be used to working with such as a softbox or a beauty dish. A bit more research brought us to a fairly new product, which is an LED light in a strobe-style mount. Last week we decided to take a chance on a product we couldn't find any reviews on. We do this at times. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it bites us. It's too early to tell yet about this purchase, but we're off to a good start so far. The current setup, Lighting: Fotodiox LED200WA-5600 Daylight calibrated LED lights, x3. http://fotodioxpro.com/index.php/fo...t-of-2x-high-intensity-led-studio-lights.html We decided to take the plunge on the 200's over the 100's which won the Popular Photography's POP Award for 2013. These lights were just introduced in November, and have an integrated Bowens bayonet style S-Mount so finding standard accessories is a breeze. The kit I ordered came with (3) lights, (2) 48" octobox (softboxes), (3) 11" reflectors, 2 diffusing socks (shower caps), 2 stands (I already had a few stands laying around). These lights are similar in a way to the Profoto pack lights I've used in the past, in that you have a flash head, and it's tethered to a separate power pack that you can use to control the power output or turn it on and off. It all looks quite impressive in the studio, but in the real world it's just one more thing to pack and set up if you're doing location work. Later today I have a "heavy duty" boom stand on casters with 11 pound counter weight coming to support the overhead light. I typically shoot just under the light and get it as close as I can for beauty work, but with a standard light stand getting under the light is a bit difficult. It's not one of the $600 beasts from B&H that I would have wanted, but it should get me by for now. It actually looks kinda cheap to be honest, not like the C Stands I'm used to own, but it has decent reviews. I'll share my thoughts in a followup post. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005D4UAHG/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 On my immediate add-on list which I hope to acquire today or next week is a 22" beauty dish, and two slot softboxes (something like 12" by 48") with grids. Right now the biggest issue in the studio is light spill. 48" octoboxes and reflector cones don't do much to help confine the light. I have a couple of gobos that need stands, but the softboxes mentioned above combined with the beauty dish should help quite a lot. I'll probably put down some thunder gray paper on the floor since I have a huge ream of that not being used, and maybe paint the walls in the studio to a neutral gray. Why LED? LED has a few advantages, and a few disadvantages. They aren't quite as bright as a flash, though depending on how you use them they don't really need to be. The 200's I bought are pretty bright, and should do for most things I'd used them for in a studio setting, though I doubt I'd be able to take them outside and overpower the sun. Aside from that, it's mostly good news. First and foremost, you can't shoot video with a flash. You need constant lighting, and while we're not into video yet, we plan to dip our toe into the video world soon, mostly for community oriented documentary work as personal projects. For this type of project, these lights will be great hooked up to a small quiet Honda generator on location somewhere. Don't get me wrong, they won't replace HMI lighting for movie work though, but for interviews, lighting interiors for documentary purposes, etc. they're pretty bright, and there's no flicker. Constant lighting reduces fatigue caused by flashing in the studio, which can take it's toll on a subject over a long shoot. The lights don't give off any noticeable heat, so compared to hot lights they're much easier on the model to sit in front of for long periods, and there's no fear of melting your diffusers. Since there's no flash and the light is already where you want it when you shoot, you get a real WYSIWYG environment. Combined with the live view display on the back of the mirrorless camera, you can see exactly the shot you're going to receive before you push the button. The lights at full power draw less power from the wall than most high end modeling lamps, and finally, you get more color from the subject's iris since their pupils are already adjusted to the light. Since the light is always "on", the iris adjusts to the bright light, giving you more pupil and thus more color in the photograph. Camera gear: I'm currently shooting on an Olympus OM-D E-M1, and while I own the 45 1.8 and the 75 1.8, I prefer to use the 12-40 in studio for a few reasons. First, it allows me to get much closer to the subject than either of the other two lenses, which gives me a look that I like. Additionally, it's wider than the other two lenses, which I sometimes use. Traditional theory says don't use wide angles for portraits, but I usually chuck the rules out the window. I'll shoot at 12mm if it gives me the look I'm going for for a particular shot. Finally, and this is the big one, I get more in-focus shots on the 12-40 than I do on the 45 and 75. The 45 seems to be the least accurate of the 3, and I seem to get a much higher number of missed focused shots on the 45. The 75 is a bit better in that respect, but the focal range is a bit long for the studio. The 12-40 nails focus almost every time. I think I've missed focus once in the 12-40 in the last two nights of testing. We also have the Canon 6D which I haven't used much but suspect I might. I have the 24-105L which I used in the studio for years and love it. Here's the breakdown between the two cameras: E-M1 Advantages: Face Detect. Face detect + constant lighting is awesome. It locks on quick and accurately with the 12-40. No need to focus and recompose, so no out of focus shots due to parallax. More accurate white balance. I love the out of camera jpegs and RAW files, especially with the new Lightroom 5.3 E-M1 profiles. Smaller, naturally. More fun to shoot with in the studio. Articulated LCD for those times when you need to get down low or shoot overhead shots. Canon 6D advantages: Tethered shooting. Plain and simple, it's a massive oversight not having this on the E-M1, and enough to keep it out of the hands of most studio photographers. You'll never see a professional photographer on Creative Live or similar training site using the E-M1 because they can't tether, which means they can't share the images with the live audience in real time. People buy what they're used to seeing other pros use because they want to be like them. If Olympus wants to see more E-M1's in the studio, they need to resolve this tethered shooting issue. In my own workflow, I use tethered shooting a lot with the clients. I take a few shots, and they always all start out a bit nervous. It's natural when getting in front of a camera. Once I get a couple of decent ones I show them to the client. Almost immediately in every situation it relaxes them and I get much better shots going forward. Showing them the really good ones as they happen just makes it that much easier to build off of it. The 3" display on the back of the camera just isn't sufficient, and it's the reason I may end up grabbing the 6D for some clients. Other than that, LED isn't as bright as studio strobes. Some types of low-key shots require shooting at a higher ISO and the 6D trumps just about every other camera out there in terms of noise handling at higher ISO's. While the E-M1 does a good job, and the difference between the two probably wouldn't show up in a 20" print, it's always in the back of my mind that I could grab the 6D and get cleaner images. Still this isn't a deal breaker, but the tethered shooting thing might be. Software: This one's fairly easy. I use Adobe Creative Cloud, with my primary tools being Lightroom and Photoshop. When I get into video I have After Effects and Premiere Pro as part of the subscription. I have quite a few other tools but I mostly use them for non-studio work, such as Photomatix for HDR or NIK Collection. I'm probably going to look into Imagenomics Portraiture eventually. I've toyed with it in the past, but never really pushed the button. The Studio: Nothing too fancy here. Just converted my old living room and office into the new studio, about 340 square feet. It consists of a couch and a book case with reading materials for the clients' guest, my office is behind the area you see in this photo, which is where I stand for the shoot and where my editing computers are. It's a bit of a mess in this photo. I'll get some better photos up once I get in the new light modifiers and stands. I also need to replace the current blinds with some blackout blinds on all of the windows. This is enough space for single portraits, beauty work, and headshots. For groups I'd probably shoot people one at a time and merge in PS, or shoot on location somewhere. For reference, that's a 9' seamless roll on the backdrop. I've tried to answer everything I could think of in advance. I'll be posting more samples in the future when I get a chance to use the equipment for some shoots. I have a few lined up for this weekend. If anyone has any questions I haven't already answered, fire away. I need to get some batteries for my remote triggers before I can do some proper comparisons in power output between my Alien Bee strobes and my LED lights, but I'll try to do some testing on this soon. Samples: One light, camera left, 48" Octobox 3 lights: Two rim lights each using an 11" reflector with diffusing sock (shower cap), and one overhead light using an umbrella (overhead) and a silver reflector (under his face).