Personal Studio In My Basement..

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by iPanzica, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    Well I'm 19 years old, and I LOVE photography! My persoanl favorite thing to photography is Myself. I think the reason for this is that I don't really have anyone else who I know whats to let me photograph them other then some friends. I think after I get a desent setup I will ask more people if I could take their pictures for free, and add on to my portfolio. Anyways getting to my question. I live at my fathers house. In the basement. And the Lighting in here is very YELLOW! I mean super yellow. It's icky. My father sells on eBay for a living (we kinda partner it ... I write/post/take pictures of the ad and he gets the stuff. We had to come up with a better idea to take pictuers so in my room we put up a white sheet. Last night I bought 4 large black poster boards to take pictures in front of black.

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    It sorta works, but I really wish I had something better. If you have any ideas for that, pleast let me know.

    Anyways on to the next thing the lighting. My father bought two stands with 2 big lights on each of them I think in my eyes they are yellow too, but it might just be me. He got them at home depot.

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    I mean will they work? I want to be able to take phtographts with the backgrounds perfecly white. Sorta like this ...

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    or

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    How is that done?

    I guess what I really wanna know is what's the best way to turn my bedroom into a Mini Studio?

    If you could give me two options the stuff I have now ... and what I could buy to really make it amazing. We had a flood down here about 3 months ago and about 5 grand of my stuff got Destyoed .. so I am going to be getting a HUGE settlement check soon I hope. So money is sorta not an issue.

    Thanks!

    PS: Here's some photos of me to explain what i Mean.

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    See how dark my skin comes out? I want it to look pale like it sorta does in real life. Im not that dark .. I mean look at this photo of me ...

    (sry for the random photo ..lol)
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    So again any help you can give me at all. For any of the following questions

    • Lighting (I think that's the biggest problem, we have the two stands now, if you have any sujestions of where to put them, or have 1 on 1 of or something, that'd be great. Or the option of other stuff, mind you I've never really used studio lights before, so I'd have to learn, but I would be willing to learn. I want natural light, not this YELLOW stuff.
    • Backdrops, for the white, and black backdrops you see what I'm using. However if you have a better idea I'd love to hear it! I guess what you take your picture on the background of is very importent too.
    • Anythin else I mentioned in this that I forgot to make a quesiton for, or just sujestions in general. (FYI: I'm using a Sony 4.1 Megapixal P&S camera. I really wanna get a Nikon D70 someday, but I do use every now and again a Manual 35mm SLR.
     
  2. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the 35mm world, one would use film balanced specifically for the type of studio lighting used in a shoot.

    In the digital world, I discovered you can get away with decent shots using budget lighting. The two most important things I learned in my experiments was good even lighting and proper color balance. Do you know if your Sony P&S has the ability to set custom color white balance?

    Here's my setup:

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    Here's a sample:

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    1) I setup everything as picture above. Iron out all wrinkles in the backdrop. Both lights setup high and to each side of the item. I've had pretty good luck with Phillips natural light bulbs .. Important part is to make sure the lighting is even. To further diffuse the light, I purchased some heat resistant mylar from a rag/cloth store. The mylar sheets are used to make patterns for clothing. I cliped sheets of this mylar to the front of the lights.
    2) I preset the camera ( back then i was using a Canon d30 ) to +1 stops at f1/8 using my 85mm f1.8 lens. ISO was set to 100. Camera mounted on a tripod with cable release as slow shutters are expected. Remember, I'm only using 60watt bulbs.
    3) take a picture of the blank white background and set that picture to the camera's custom white balance.
    4) Position the item and shoot away.

    Now this was only for small items for ads in places like ebay. You will have to adjust further for larger items and people. Have fun experimenting. In your first picture, I see that the lighting fades as it gets to the edges of the frame. Even out that lighting should help. The tone of your skin should be be corrected with proper white balance.
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    BTW.... After taking the shot above, I took another shot right afterwards with the camera set to Auto white balance. The result is very similar to what you experienced... yellow brown light....

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  4. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the help, today I bought Reveal 75 Clean Beatfuil Light but im not sure if theres a difference or not (i just used them for my main lights in my bedroom, like the lights in the sealing. Before I did that though I did take some pictrues for ebay, tried a white sheet of paper .... and messed with the lights a bit, and put my camera to manual foucus and got a semi desent picture ...

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    Still kinda yellow, but im working on it.

    Any other advice? I guess I got a lot to learn :(
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Did you set a custom white balance on your camera? With most cameras that I've seen, you take a photo of something white (under the lighting) and then go to the menu and use that image to set the white balance. Then, the photos you take with that setting should come out looking much more normal.

    As for the lighting...it's too harsh. You need to find a way to soften it. For small things, you could try making a light tent. You put the subject into a tent of white fabric (nylon etc.). Other ways you could soften the light would be to bounce it off of something white...or put the lights behind something...like nylon etc.

    Watch out though, those lights you have get very, very hot. They could easily melt synthetic fabric.

    Try using lights in conjunction with a white board (foam core board from a craft store works well) as a reflector. If you can bounce some of the light back onto the other (non light) side of the subject....you can get rid of or lessen the shadows.

    I'd suggest picking up a few books to read. Lighting is a tricky thing to figure out and a very hard thing to master.
     
  6. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    ok so I found the White Balance in my camera, along with a lot of other settings I didn't know exited ... and im uploading pictures 100% not photoshoped cuz I really don't wanna ...

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    Almost there, but im still working at it ...

    I think if I miss with the ISO Shutter Speed and Apature or whatever I can figure this out! Im gunna keep working at it.

    PS: im using the Florestent Light setting cuz that's what I'm using right? (go look at the main post)

    So I changed it to Incandescent cuz it says bright lighting such as photography studios ... so maybe that's better ...

    now im at this

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    but i think if i keep messing with the manaul settings im gunna figure it out!
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    That's already much better. Now you just have to work on your exposure, light placement and balance.
     
  8. iPanzica

    iPanzica TPF Noob!

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    Check this out ... I just about got it ...

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    That was with out any photshop ....

    I changed my ISO to 100 cuz I remember in Pho101 the lower the iso the better for this type of work.

    ANd then I took a bunch of didferent verions, didn't really remember what this one was but I edited it a lil bit in photoshop and got this ...

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    Not bad for a night?

    Edit: [​IMG] Portiet shot ... much better! I still need a lil teaking here and there, but thanks!
     

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