As I have said before. I am NOT and never was a professional photographer. I do photography for interest, for fun and for artistic self-expression. I free myself from the boundaries of the world around me. In my home studio, I do not need flashes and studio lamps. The following photo was taken with a single 40W incandescent bulb fitted into an ordinary desk lamp. A piece of black card was in the background and Yorrich (my plastic head) was placed on my swivel chair (which has black fabric). The result is very pleasing though I did take several photos to get just the right exposure.
The end result is exactly what I wanted - a half-lit face with the rest dissolving into darkness. In a way, I suppose this is a depiction of human nature - the good bit shining out from the blackness of the abyss.
I really quite like using my 40W desk lamp as an illumination source. The following two photos were illuminated by the same method:
Scoff as much as you want at my 40W desk lamp. I really couldn't care less. If you want to go out and blow $300 on a professional light bulb and professional light stand then you have my permission to make a fool of yourself. My desklamp cost me $7.95 from Walmart. It's bright pink and is supposed to have a 13W fluorescent bulb but as I'm not a great fan of fluorescent, I use a 40W incandescent bulb and use it for very brief periods so that it does not get too hot and have a meltdown. Expensive lighting sources don't change the photo quality - they just cost more. Use an electronic flash if you want to add complications to the excessive cost factor.
As I have said before, I'm selling my flashes. I find the Canon 580EX2 is just a pain in the butt to use. It has a great many functions - most of which I don't use and have no intention ever of using. I don't need a strobe. I have no idea why anybody would want a flash that pulsed light every few milliseconds or seconds. I don't like the nasty computerised control panel on the back. It's extremely fiddly to use and very infuriating. I have used the flashes in three ways only. One is with through the lens metering. Another is with remote triggering and the last is with the power set on absolute minimum. I don't need any of the other features. I have an old 420EX that Canon decided to improve when they brought out the 430EX. They replaced the battery door - which badly needed fixing. The 420EX battery door feels like it's going to snap off at any minute. Then they added a clunky, cumbersome, time-wasting press a button and squint at a silly menu on an LCD screen (with a flashlight if you're in poor light) monstrosity. The 580EX2 is an equally hideous monstrosity. The 420EX had simple sliders that did everything. The only thing lacking was output control.
My only use for flash is for high-speed photography. For that I do not need any of the Canon flashes. I can get a cheap secondhand Vivitar 283 which will do everything my Canon flash was used for. For the rest, I can use a simple 40W bulb in a desklamp or very occasionally the built-in flash on my camera. The following is a photo thats supposed to look sleazy (but misses the mark a bit). This was taken with the built-in flash.
This was taken with my standard 40w bulb in my desklamp. I don't get why people want to decry my control of light and subject control. I seem to do pretty well. I guess possibly because they don't like or are uncomfortable with my subject matter. I'm happy doing what pleases me. It hurts me when people make fun of me or my work or criticise unduly. Does it make me want to give up? No - it does not. I love doing the kind of photos that I do. They represent my world and what I see around me. I don't do pretty photos of smiling faces, pretty photos of flowers and pretty photos of pretty scenes. Each and every one of my images has an atmosphere - a feeling. It's not chocolate box art. I hate HDR and all the Photoshop garbage. The only editing I do to my images is control of contrast, exposure, shadows etc - it's all global changes aside occasionally from cloning something out.
I have been using my 40W bulb quite happily for a couple of years. I see no reason to "upgrade". I'm very happy with it. It doesn't even send my electricity bills up. As an example, the following is a simple copy and paste of my last 24 months of electricity bills..
So, the moral of the story - don't listen to the crap-talkers. I'm not aiming this specifically at any one group because I've seen so much of that nonsense going in in real life, online and in clubs. I defy all the crap-talkers of the world!