Amateur Photographer Trying to Set Up a Studio! NEED HELP!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by HBT, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. HBT

    HBT TPF Noob!

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    hey guys, new to the forum, and need some advice with studio/fashion photography...

    im trying to do some basic white background shots with models (portrait and full body action) and need some help setting up a temporary studio...here are some questions:

    1. I know I will need some white cloth or something else to use as the background, what kind of fabric is the best (not see through with flash) and cheapest and how much will I need? Where can I buy some?

    2. how should I set up the cloth once I buy it? I was originally going to tape it to the wall (i know, very bad!) but I dont have much money or time to set up a stand for the cloth! Tips?

    3. how much room will I need to set this up? I have to do this at school and I have a limited amount of space.

    and 4. what type of lighting/flashes is the best for this type of photography and how can I achieve it cheaply? My graphics teacher has a couple of lamps around but I have no idea if that will work.

    thanks for the help in advance!
     
  2. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    First off welcome to the forums.
    I'm not being rude (or not trying to be). But how much research on this have you already done?
    The reason I ask this is, alot of people come into the forums and ask for every bit of information possible. In return they get biased, unconsistent and sometimes downright hatefull responses that don't do alot to help them with their questions.
    Especially when it comes to what brand, type, etc...of a product to buy. Generally you will get biased opinions from people who own a specific item, rather than a broad veiw of the subject.
    My advice to you is to use google to search for this information from various resources. Then decide what is best for you to do.
    Doing this, you will usually find more endepth information as to what you need and why, in turn increasing your retention of the information.

    I will give you one piece of advice on making a backdrop stand, since it is not endorsing a specific product.
    You can use 3/4" PVC pipe cut into 3' lengths with various elbows and connectors to hang backdrops on. This makes it very affordable and portable.
    You simplely construct an "A" frame with it to drape the material over. You can add or subtract peices to accomodate height for wherever you are. There are lots of things you can do with this...ie, use "T"s on the front legs to make forward extensions to suround your subject...etc. etc.

    That's just something for you to consider since you are on a budget, plus you can take it away afterwards and use it anywhere with little trouble.

    Good luck on the rest of your project. Let us see what you end up with.
     
  3. jnsuffolk

    jnsuffolk TPF Noob!

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    I'm no pro by any means but as for lighting if your really on a budget and just want to try your hand at it. you buy some of the work lights that clip on to anything. They cost about 7 bucks and then put the light bulb of your choice in it. Thats all I have and they work pretty good. I use 60 watt florecent bulbs and get some pretty good results.
     
  4. Hyra

    Hyra TPF Noob!

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    I don't know if this is any help, but since you have to shoot it at school chances are there's already well-lit white hallways or parts of the classrooms that you can use?

    In my experience walls tend to reflect more light (depending on the paint and structure of the wall of course) but this can help when you're on both a tight money and time budget.

    Walls will reflect shadows obviously, but if you position a fill in flash at the right spot you may get pretty decent results depending on what exactly it is you're going for :)

    Just my 2c.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some of the best "budget" studios that I saw had no real fancy backdrops, but took advantage of current conditions and "props" like a chair, lamp or 2, a small table or what not.

    I prefer medium dark grey backdrops when I use them, though... becuase with lighting I can literally make them any colour I want from white to black to red to blue or green.

    Medium gray backdrop, no background flash used:
    [​IMG]

    Same backdrop with red gel on flash:
    [​IMG]

    Same backdrop with a yellow gel on the flash:
    [​IMG]

    Same backdrop with a blue gel on the flash:
    [​IMG]

    Anyways, you get the idea, right? A little bit darker backdrop often makes a better separator than a pure white backdrop. While you CAN make a white backdrop black, it takes a lot more power from the flashes and thats just a waste of battery power and more challenging for the most part.

    As far as what kind of lighting to use... depends on your budget. You can use ambient light becuase it is free, or room light, but I enjoy battery powered flashes.

    Don't be afraid to do a google and search for answers. At the level you are at, there are a million good places online that have most of these answers already... all you need to do is do a quick search and find them.

    For lighting you could start at www.strobist.com and believe it or not, Nikon has a DVD that goes for about $40 that discusses in detail their Creative Lighting System, but it has a lot of basic info that is good for almost any brand... if you are on the ball, you will be able to figure out how to take advantage of the tips they talk about irrespective of camera/lighting brand.

    Remember, more than anything, at this level... KISS (Keep It Simple and Stupid). You do not need a million dollars to make a nice portable studio, just think things out and keep it small and easy.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The cheapest way to get high quality lighting is probably to sit your subject by a large window (without direct sunlight).
     

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