Portable photo studio (for fashion photography)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by reddvinylene, May 31, 2009.

  1. reddvinylene

    reddvinylene TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I'm trying to set up this online fashion retailer (like Bluefly) and I need to take photos of people wearing my products.


    • Indoor vs outdoor shooting?

      I'm thinking indoor for product photos. What should I use for lights? Maybe I could use mirrors to redirect the sun on to my models? And should I just place them in front of a white blanket or what?

      Likewise, I'm thinking outdoor for the promotional material on the front page? The best time to shoot outdoors is around 10-11 in the morning right, while the sun is still "fresh"?


    • Use expensive fashion models or ask innocent people on the street?


    • What camera? Maybe a Canon EOS 450D? It came out "Best in Test" on Norwegian television in December 2008, and judging by what people seem to say about it, it looks like a good buy!


    • What lenses? Would I need seperate ones for indoor and outdoor shooting? By all means, I need lenses that make my photos look professional, not like your regular mom 'n' pops vacation photos :lol:


    • What tripod would y'all recommend?


    • Would it be easy / is there an easy way to bring all of this with me when I go travelling?


    • How to best ease the minds of my models and make them forget that they're actually in a photo shoot?


    • Is anybody familiar with the use of vintage cameras (LOMO etc.) in fashion photography?


    I'm looking to spend about $1000-$2000 USD.

    I'm a big fan of Julie Pike, SHOWstudio, Wenche Hoel Knai, Anne Christine Ogundipe and Lars Brønseth.

    Much obliged y'all!
     
  2. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Indoor or out, it doesn't really matter. You can successfully shoot models in both scenarios. It totally depends on what you're trying to achieve creatively. Outdoors you can use reflectors to reduce harsh mid-day sun shadows, but it's best to shoot in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is low (softer light) and to use strobes. What strobes you use is up to you. You can use a couple of Speedlites or you can buy a couple of affordable studio strobes.

    Here's an example. Here's the setup:

    [​IMG]

    Here's the final shot:

    [​IMG]

    I use Alien Bee strobes which are high quality and very affordable. You can buy a couple of B800's for the same price as a couple of Speedlites ($279 ea.). You then need a couple of stands, softboxes (or umbrellas which are far cheaper), and a Vegabond II power supply. All of this can be had for well within your budget and it will leave you money to spare.

    AlienBees: Flash Units, the B400, B800 and B1600 Mono Lights

    Get an account on Model Mayhem (Where Professional Models Meet Model Photographers - ModelMayhem) and you will find more models than you know what to do with. Many will shoot what's called "TFP" or "trade for photos" which means free. Some will require a minimal fee, I've gotten models for $100 a day.

    I love Canon and an very devoted to their products. Their lens selection is second to none, their prices are generally lower than Nikon and their support is great here in the States. With that said, don't discount Nikon, they make amazing cameras. I just wouldn't buy anything below the D5000 or D90 personally as these are the first cameras in their line-up that use a CMOS sensor, all of their other lower end models use the older CCD sensors which means pretty bad mid-range to high ISO performance. But in a studio setting, the CCD does produce outstanding images, some argue better than CMOS sensors. If you're doing purely studio shooting at ISO 100-200, then there's no reason to worry about CCD vs. CMOS.

    For a beginner, a good quality zoom in the 24-70 or 24-105 range would be a good place to start. Just remember when shooting at wider settings (like 24mm) you tend to distort the image. Many pros shoot at longer focal lenths to avoid this phenominon. Many would say anything less than 80mm to 135mm causes too much distortion (noses look big, barrel distortion, etc.). Here's a page that explains it with example pictures:

    Lens Distortion Explained

    Again, it all depends on what you're going for creatively. In my sample pictures above I wanted the shoot to look bigger - like a shoe ad. That's the effect I was going for, so I used an untra wide angle lens to achieve that look. Had I gotten back and used my 70-200 lens set at 100+ the image would look totally different. For product shots, you'll probably want as little distortion as possible.

    Tons of good choices here. You'll want something that's adjustable, has plenty of accessories and is somewhat affordable. I think Manfrotto is the way to go here.

    That depends on how far you're traveling and how. If your're driving, throw it all in the car. If you're flying or taking a bus, forget the moonlights and go with Speedlites for strobes. Get a good protective container like a Pelican case and stick everything in there. Here's a good resource for learning about using Speetlites.

    Strobist

    Find semi-experienced models first. Then learn to work with them. I'm not exactly a pro in the department, I'll let someone else with more model experience chime in. But I've found that creating a relaxed work environment and coaching them really helps in getting what you want.

    Nope, I have no experience here.

    Using my suggestions above you'll fall well within this budget.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  3. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    +1 for alienbees and vegabond II!
     
  4. reddvinylene

    reddvinylene TPF Noob!

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    That was some really great advice tharmsen, thanks a bunch!

    Great shoot and great links too!
     
  5. reddvinylene

    reddvinylene TPF Noob!

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    How about some nature scenery, like at Eddie Bauer, what lense would you recommend for that?

    Thanks again man!
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Whoa, wait, wha? If you want to get pro results, you're going to have to learn an aweful lot if you're starting from scratch. It's going to be extremely difficult to figure all of that out and do a shoot starting as a beginner in any small amount of time. Without experience, you'd be hard-pressed to figure-out how to effectively use all the hardware (cameras, strobes, diffusers, reflectors...) works, let alone the post-processing that is almost always involved. Toss-in colour correction, tonal ranges, specular highlights, clipping, and the mess of other concepts that you'll have to wrestle with, and you're looking at mountains of knowledge to absorb.

    My advice: Just hire a pro to do it. Get your product line in order, and set-up a day where you can shoot through all of the products. A seasoned professional will have all the gear and more to make excellent shots and show-off your product in the best light. Sure, you might blow that budget doing it, but I think it's safe to say that the quality you'll get in return will be worth it.
     

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