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Studio set up

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Keith, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. We have many people on this board that use strobes, back drops, props, umbrella's, softboxes, wireless gadgets :cool:  Show us your environment and goodies that you do all this great work. I am in midst of venturing
    into the world of strobes and softboxes and creating my own little bsmt studio and would luv to see your set ups and get ideas and how some overcome tight space etc........ Im sure Im not the only one that would like to see :wink:
  2. What exactly do you mean by a "tight space"? What are the dimensions of your studio-to-be?
  3. 10x20 largest Im thinking maybe a tad smaller. Im not too worried about it, I just thougth it would be great for everyone to share what their studios look like and what their set ups are to give people who are looking to make the move a better idea as to set ups etc........

    There was a thread on Fred Miranda as such , tens and tens of pages showing making the shot and then the end result. I thought that was very cool...............

    Hope tat makes sense Woody..........
  4. thoughts on studio space

    Hi, Keith! I just put a (fairly lengthy) post in another string that might have some of the information you're looking for. Check https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=57654&page=3 , message #26.

    Regarding studio space - I think an aircraft hanger would probably be large enough, but even that might be cramped. :smile: Seriously, you'll be wanting to use a softbox or umbrella on your lights, and you'll be wanting to get your lights as high as possible; this makes 10 or 12 foot ceilings a real advantage. Regarding width, I had a 16 foot width in my largest studio, and it was fine for most things; but when I was photographing a large wedding party (4 guys, 4 girls, bride and groom, and 4 parents) I was real pushed to fit them all in without using a shehorn. Regarding length - that same studio was 20 feet long, and there were a few times that I had my camera and tripod jammed against the far wall, and I was looking down through the waist level viewfinder while standing at the side of the camera (I was using an RB67 pro-S at the time). The issue with length is that you don't want the group to cast a shadow on the backdrop; and that means you need space between the backdrop and the group. If you have an 8 foot ceiling with a 4 foot softbox, that means the center axis of the light is 6 feet off the ground, so it's pointing almost horizontally at the faces of those standing. The shallow angle means you need even more space behind the group, or you run the risk of having shadows on the background visible in the final image.

    But this is all worst case scenario stuff. A small studio space such as you've described would be quite suitable for doing individual and small group portraits, ideally where people are sitting on posing benches. I think you could probably photograph groups up to a maximum of 4 or 5 people and achieve fully professional results. It would also be ideal for small product photography.

    If you get a contract to do a larger group, do it outside, or make arrangements to book an atrium in a local building; often, office buildings will place a central atrium in the lobby, and fill it with plants and water fountains. These are deserted in the evenings and on weekends, which make them ideal for evening and weekend photography. I've also booked greenhouses on occasion; most are ugly, but occasionally there's a display area showing their plants which is ideal for large group photography.

    In my own case, I'm hoping to build a garage this summer, which will pinch hit as both a construction area and a portrait studio. It measures 24X30, with ten foot high ceilings. Hopefully, it will be big enough for everything I want to do. I may even shoehorn a compact car into it!

    Something I never did - and often regretted not doing - is building actual props for use in the studio, just like the major movie studios do. Weatherbeaten wood ledges, old windows, short staircases with ornate railings... all can serve to make an image spectacular. Bill Hill, a friend of mine, has old - very old - leather bound books which he occasionally uses as props. He also has realistic silk and plastic plants which he uses as props.

    Something else I never did - and also regretted not doing - was trying to duplicate portraits that I really admired. How was the lighting set up? Was it soft or harsh? High or low contrast? Wide angle or tele lens? Had I tried to duplicate really beautiful portraits, I would have learned a lot faster, and created even better work. Learn from my mistake: find images you truly admire, and duplicate them in your own studio, with your own camera. I think that, using that method, you'll learn at an astonishingly rapid rate. And in the process you'll also produce some exceptional portraits, which you can then use to promote your business, if that is your goal.

    Hope that all helps - don't let me dissuade you from starting with a small space. Bigger is always better, but that doesn't mean that small can't be beautiful!

    Best wishes, Charlie Worton
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. I caught it already and posted behind, many thanks!!!
    But pictures wouldnt hurt. LOL!!!
  6. pictures? I agree

    I agree completely - I still have some 8X10 samples of my work, which would show the backdrop in use. Don't have a scanner, but another good friend of mine - Gordon Henderson at http://www.justaerials.com/ does have a beautiful scanner, and would likely be willing to scan them onto a disk. At that point, all I need to do is get them up onto my website.

    Similarly, some photos of the stands would probably help. I'll try to get over to bills with a stand in the next few weeks, and use his 20D to create some quick images.

    Something I should have mentioned about the backgrounds: I let them dry in the 8 foot X 12 foot frame (made of 2 X 4s), then removed the staples and taped one edge to a length of EMT tubing. It worked wonderfully. I then used a short length of PVC sewer pipe with a couple holes drilled in it at 90 degrees to hang the tubing between two stands. It was really kludgy, but it worked.

    Best wishes, Charlie
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