So last time I showed photos for a single utility light that I rigged up for putting on a traditional light stand and to use the umbrella holder to have an umbrella on the light. 500 watts of light. Sounds like a lot. But when you start shooting you will realize how very little it really is. You can get the lights in pairs.... AND already mounted on a tripod for you. It runs about $30 more or less for these. The set I had included a handle on the light bar. The light bar could come off the tripod and be used by itself. This is the best setup if you can find it.
What I did was to drill three holes in the handle. I did three because I was not exactly sure where I would put the umbrella. I ended up using the middle one. Interestingly this was the first I drilled. The umbrella does not lock into place. I suppose I could put some sort of clamp on it. I tried to find like a rubber O ring that would slide snuggly over the umbrella post and then slide a second on the other side, but was not successful. I suppose it is out there. But the rig works pretty good, and supplies twice the light. I cannot angle the light up or down so it has to go level with the model. But it works at least.
The thing is hot though. If your studio (or wherever you are shooting) runs on the cold side it won't take long for people to be plenty warm. If it runs on the warm side then you will be plenty hot later. I think the best place for a setup like this would be doing photo sessions of sleeping babies, or newborn shoots. This way you don't disturb the babies with sudden bright flashes of light. For sleeping babies the warm lights will probably keep them nice and comfy for the shoot and help them stay asleep.
It also works good for times you want to play around with slower shutter and need continuous lighting for that. I use it in my photography classes for that purpose. It works pretty well. But I will tell you right now that it is not nearly as much light as you would expect it to be. Unless you are running a camera with a really wide aperture you just flat out will not get enough light to do decent shutter speed for like a portrait shoot or something. It works pretty decent with my 50mm f/1.8 lens, but shooting a kit lens is just a nightmare. Especially one of the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 since at 5.6 you are just way to narrow an aperture. There are a number of good reasons to shoot primes in a portrait session though and this is just one of them.
Well this Friday I am going to post a Christmas wish list posting. I will put up some things that I think should be in just about anyones photography oriented Christmas (or Hanukkah) gift list. It will not be all inclusive, but will be a pretty good list anyway. So look forward to that. And then you can hint to friends and relatives to take a look at the blog. Maybe even say something like "he is spot on with that XXX item on the list" to help them realize which ones are the good choices for you.