At home Studio

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by GFruge, May 14, 2010.

  1. GFruge

    GFruge TPF Noob!

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    I've finally setup some of my at home studio equipment. I'm going to use this space as an all purpose space, but the studio will be in there.

    Here goes:
    I'll post photos soon, but here's what I'm working with.

    My space is 16' x 24'. I have a roll-up door for the use of a garage, but right behind the roll-up door I've installed a bracked system that holds my paper. I've got 3 rolls of paper there already, all 9' wide. The colors I've chosen so far are white, black, and green(chroma color).

    The ceiling in the shop is 8' high, therefore I've installed the chain pulley system to roll the paper up and down.

    Towards the front of the shop is my workspace with cabinets and workbench.


    Anyways, I've never really used a studio that was never mobile. I've always setup onsite and used props from the household that I was shooting or from whatever props I could find in the area. What do you guys suggest I have in this non-mobile studio. Suggestions could include other colored paper, muslins, special or common props.......????

    The workspace is climate controlled with an air conditioning unit and 2 ceiling fans. It's quite a nice space for having it at home. I intend to do a wide variety of shooting, from models, senior portraits, wedding photography, animal photography, child photos, etc.


    Help me out with any suggestions.


    Thanks and I will post photos.
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would add a roll of fairy dark Thunder Grey background paper to the mix. With that shade of gray, you can make it go very dark, or you can add light to it and turn it to a nice,white backdrop, or you can add gel coloration to it at low flash power, and create colored backdrops. It's a very easy gray color to work with. When lighting the gray up to bring it up to a white value, it reflects less light than white paper does, so you do not get what is called "wrap" or "blowback" on the neck and head areas of people, and also, when your main and fill lights shine onto it (spill onto the background), that is not really a problem, since you sort of want to have more light on the gray paper than on the subject. In a cramped or low-ceilinged studio, this can be a big deal. I really like to have at least one flash head fitted with a 10 to 20 degree honeycomb grid, barn doors, and a snap-on mylar diffuser, to use as a hair light or separation light. A large, rectangular white reflector panel, about 42x72 inches or so, is super-handy.

    I painted my entire garage medium gray....walls and ceiling....developed a bad case of bursitis in my right shoulder while doing it too.

    Common props...armchair, posing stool, tall barstool, chaise, posing cubes, cylinders,etc.
     
  3. GFruge

    GFruge TPF Noob!

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    I've been requested quite a bit lately to shoot infants. In the past, I've avoided them due to the lack of position, bad angle, or being able to see the frame of what's got the baby in place. What's some good tools for something like this. Obviously a good sturdy table would be first on the list, but how about some kind of special chair or pillow.

    I guess the 1st section of this thread would be geared towards infant and child photography.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, for baby posing, you need a few fairly simple posing aids, which help the infant stay in one position....until a baby is 6 to 7 months old, he cannot hold his head up for more than a few seconds, so when placed on his tummy on the table, he will do a "face-plant". Immediately! So...you can photograph the infant in a crib, laundry basket, or car seat, using pillows or whatever, to position the infant up,near the rim of the posing device. A car seat or bouncy seat, covered with a furry drape or with a favorite blanket is a popular way to create a background. Long-haired, furry white synthetic throws are popular, and allow you to drape the car seat over the car seat, the top of the table, and then to pull down a white backdrop, for an all-white look. You can also use darker backdrops and fabrics, like all-black, and do a double-exposure type shot right in-camera (altho very easy to do today with PS). You can also use a gel on the back light,and turn the background white or pink or yellow...

    A posing wedge, which is like a bed wedge, allows you to create a little "hill and ridge top", so a young infant can be posed with his feet on the table, and his belly on the wedge, and his hands and face at the top edge of the foam wedge. This is how you shoot a "tummy pose" on a young infant...it's a classic way to pose a baby all on his own, and make him look "active", and get the camera a little bit below his eye level. A LOT of babies are photographed at 3,4,5,6 months, and at that age, they literally can do hardly ANYTHING....they cannot hold their head up, they cannot sit on their butts without toppling right over,either sideways or backwards...so, you need stuff that helps hold them in position, so you can light them, compose, and then get their attention and get them looking good.

    A good baby posing table is an industry special tool, but it has a throne, a table, and a wedge capacity, all in folding aluminum or steel, and it costs thousands of dollars. The "wedge" part can be bought, in foam, for $50 from a medical supply place. For the throne part, what you need is something that is sort of like the corner of a recliner or easy-chair...a padded, high-backed, sort of angled-back-at-the-butt seat, which you can cover with a fabric, and then plop a young infant into, and keep the baby SAFE, and also position an older child, like say an 18 month old to 3 year old.

    Today, there are some very talented MWAC types of family shooters who use really cute little Etsy-bought hats and headbands, and are shooting with infants in wicker baskets, and all sorts of nicely painted baskets and tubs and washtubs and such. The thing a lot of people don't realize is how fall-prone and tippy infants are until they are 13-14 months old.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I built a baby posing stand. It's basically a heavy duty hinged 'sidewalk sign' with an adjustable shelf on one side. The parent can hold the baby from behind while I get an upper body shot of the baby. This is, of course, after they are able to hold their head up.

    Another prop I've used is a 'Bumbo' chair. It's a foam seat that can hold a baby is a sitting position. We mainly used this as my son's first high-chair, but it works to hold them up for portraits as well.
     
  6. mammarazzi

    mammarazzi TPF Noob!

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  7. GFruge

    GFruge TPF Noob!

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    Great idea on the bean bag.

    Sorry about the photos here, but this gets an idea of what I'm going to work with here. This is my all purpose workshop / Studio.

    I work offshore and currently there right now, that's why the truck is in there. I'll get more photos of how it actually looks when the truck is out and the lights are setup. The ceiling is low (8'), but the boom works ok for subjects when they're sitting.

    The studio stuff is coming along, but I'd much rather shoot outside.

    Notice the ceiling (Corrugated Tin), do you think I'll have an issue with it?

    Disclaimer, this is not my shooting, it was my wife (I swear).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    Why is your garage so neat and tidy? Mine looks like a bomb has hit it.....
     
  9. GFruge

    GFruge TPF Noob!

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    Only because I'm a neat freak. Everything that I have is in order, with the exception for my office. My desk looks like a bomb.

    I'll take more photos of the area when I return home. I'll show photos of how it looks when the lawn tractor and truck are not in there. Also, I'll show photos with the paper down and lights around.

    The only issue I run into at the moment is my hairlight boom. I'd rather a rail system, but the rail systems recommends having more than 8' ceilings. My shop unfortunately only has 8' ceiling.
     
  10. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yes, I think you'll have issues with the reflectivity and curves of the corrugated ceiling, and with the brown walls too.

    To quote Darrel: "I painted my entire garage medium gray....walls and ceiling."

    I painted my in-home studio walls medium gray too, though I opted to paint the 8' ceiling flat white after covering it with a rough fiberboard material.

    Does the window face North?
     
  11. GFruge

    GFruge TPF Noob!

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    Excellent idea on the medium gray. I'm going to bring my whitebalance card to the paint store and try to match it. I kinda figured I'd run into troubles with the ceiling being that material. I'm going to have to think of how I can correct that issue. I shouldn't need to cover all of my ceiling with some other material, maybe just the 1st 10'. What's your thoughts on this? I may have to go with a fiberboard of some sort as well.

    What do you think of maybe putting a rail system up there or just using the current boom that I have?
     
  12. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    I second the bean bag chair. I've done that and it works very well.
     

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