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I need help saving money

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Scottn_photo, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. First off, I am a college student with very little $$$ so please don't tell me to spend $ 5K on materials. Thank you.

    I am trying to make a home-made studio in my basement.

    I was just wondering what you all would suggest to be good substitutes for professional studio lights or reflectors and such that can be made relatively cheap or found around the average household.

    I already have diffusion material, a couple Slave flashes, 2 fill lights and a key light. Next I am going to buy some sheets for a backdrop.

    Anybody have any other suggestions? or tips?
  2. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    My only suggestion would be and please don't take this the wrong way...if you look cheap then your clients won't trust your work. Invest in one good softbox, and a couple of really good backdrops. You can ususally find some good backdrops on EBAY. Once you start making money you can start filling it what you need. Make sure you have some really good business cards.

    I think you are a smart kid - you're starting a business far faster and more confident than I was at your age. Good Luck!!
  3. okay. well thank you seneca. it will be a little bit before i get that softbox. lol. right now it is mainly just for college assignments and friends. but thanks for the advise
  4. I've seen some reflectors made with sheets of "foam core" (found at arts & crafts store) onto which some metalic mylar was glued (silver or gold plasticy gift wrapping "paper" that can be found at the dollar store). The resulting shots taken while using these home-made reflectors were excellent.
  5. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Check out diyphotography.net for lots of tips and also prophotolife.com to learn about the "stick in a can".

    For about $25 in material cost you can have a sheer endless array of light stands, backdrop holders, etc.

    Another good construction material is pvc pipes - they usually have handy elbows and t-connectors at your local building materials store (homedepot, gamma, etc) as well.

    Finally, Ikea has some fabric covered clothes closet for $25 which can double as a soft box. Once you've seen a couple of those applications you'll start looking for it - for instance, a similar white-fabric covered hamper doubles perfectly as a light tent, etc.
  6. alright. thank a lot guys! i will look into all of that.
  7. neatoina

    neatoina Guest

    I have two sites for you. They are a cheap college student's dream.

    1) DIY Photography: http://www.diyphotography.net

    2) Strobist: http://www.strobist.com

    Between the two of these sites, you'll find loads of info on building your studio affordably. Personally, I think that if you can build a solid portfolio using some of these techniques you won't need to worry about what clients think just yet. This is your first home studio and you'll probably be photographing your friends, classmates, theatre and dance students and probably anyone willing to sit for you. I'm sure in time you'll build a fantastic portfolio and charge for your services and buy something Norman or Speedtron-esque.

    On the other hand, I know you're not looking to spend too much , but a co-worker of mine mentioned that alienBees are pretty affordable. After browsing the net a while, they seem like a good compromise for pro strobes. These links exemplify AlienBee results. Not too shabby.

    AlienBee's B800 Flash Unit examples and discussion: http://www.flickr.com/groups/31262638@N00/discuss/72157600965517592/

    AlienBee's Ring flash images: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=217556

    If you're anywhere close to as lazy as I am when it comes to DIY anything, you should probably just forget all this DIY business and buy and an AB800 Flash Unit, a softbox, a few good backdrops from craigslist or ebay and a white foam core board just so you'll have a working studio before this time next year. The AB800 is $279 a softbox can be bought from $40 and up. You can get creative and make your own backdrops and a good size foam core board costs less than $10.

    Here are two pretty good links that explain in-studio lighting:

    Choosing strobes:

    Hope this helped.

    Lighting in general (including strobe explanations):


    Okay, my two cents is over. I hope this helps.
  8. thanks neatoina. i like those sites.
  9. Home Depot and fabric stores!
  10. Tpsfoto


    Jun 15, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    There is a cheap way of making some interesting lights....go to the Home type store & buy 2 Shop light fluorescent 2 bulb fixtures..with digital shooting fluorescent is no big deal.....you mount them verticle on 2x4 with a base or on 2 light stands (if you have) you can use foam boards to bounce off of or use a sheer material to shoot through.....there is a you tube instruction to do this....
  11. a metal frame rack with all the shelved taken out and white fabric clipped to it makes an awesome softbox. I have done this for shots at work. at home i have glued arrays of magnets to the ceiling to hang the sheets from. thats even cheaper.

    I do recommend actually buying real light stands. the cheap ones work fine, look for ones that can go high and low.

    I did this shot with bed sheets, towels, cardboard boxes, stepladders, and various clips.
  12. jcovert

    jcovert Guest

    Wow, AWESOME tips pinhead. That metal frame and magnets ideas I will try asap! And the picture is fantastic! (Just curious why you didn't post it directly? It's great!)
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