Portable Studio - Home Setup?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by charliearchibald, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. charliearchibald

    charliearchibald TPF Noob!

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    I am looking to setup a portable studio, one that I can setup in houses I go to take pictures of people, like families and stuff.

    I am looking to have the White back background and lights with the umbrella's - can anyone recommend what I should get? And how much it costs roughly, Not too expensive!

    Thanks to anyone who replies

    Charlie
     
  2. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    How many people will you be photographing? There are some really nice expandable backgrounds which have white on one side and black on the other. I've seen them on amazon.com. With those, you don't have to have a stand, just something solid to lean it against, like a wall. You can't do a huge family, of course, with them. Amazon.com also has some inexpensive flourescent continuous studio lights, with umbrellas, which can be a good starting place. You should probably also get some expandable reflectors. The one I ordered from Amazon.com is reversible, so you have white, gold, silver, and black, all in a neat little carrying bag!
     
  3. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do that kind of work. I use a couple of D-200's and a D70 so no lens changes and a backup is always handy. Lenses are 17-55 f2.8, 85 f1.4 and 70-200 f2.8 vr. Will occaisionally use 35-70 f2.8. I use two sb-800's with white umbrellas on stands as a main and fill. I use a couple of 285's with a snoots or barn doors set to low output as hair lights or with gels to add some color splashes. I'll be replacing these with sb-600's later on. I fire the 285's with peanut slaves, the preflashes don't trigger them. An sb-600 illuminates the backgound as needed or additional lighting when needed. I also carry a large collapsible rectangular reflector white one side gold on the other. Two smaller circular white/gold reflectors are handy in lots of different situations. I support background cloths with a homemade extension bar supported on two umbrella stands. I'm thinking of switching to live performance speaker stands since these are sturdier and less expensive. Backgounds are dyed cotton sheeting 10' by 20', these are stored scrunched up in a duffle bad. All flashes are fired wireless.
     
  4. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have found a great amount of information on strobist.com. A very reputable on-line retailer for this gear is B&H Photo. If you order on-line, use the link found in the upper right of this forum.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    I do this fairly often.
    For my background, I have a Dynatran background support system (from Amvona.com) $100. I don't have muslin backdrops yet, so I use bed sheets.
    For lights, I have three studio strobes from www.Alienbees.com and I'm thinking of adding a fourth. Lights with accesories (softbox, umbrella, stands, honeycomb grids etc) is about $1000.
    I trigger the lights wirelessly with a cheap radio transmitter from E-bay ($40)
    Light Meter.
    Then of course, there is the cameras & lenses etc.

    I wouldn't call it the most affordable set up, but I think it's much better than struggling with inferior equipment.

    You could try to using continuous lighting (incandescent, halogen, fluorescent) rather than strobes...but there are some problems with that. Firstly, you would need a lot of lighting power in order to fast shutter speeds...which you will want, because slower shutter speeds make for blurry photos when shooting people, especially kids. With strobes, that is not an issue.
    You could also try using cheaper strobes, but the cheap ones may be under powered for shooting more than one person and it will limit your options and creativity.

    Another option would be to use hot shoe flashes, like what Patrice is describing. Although, high powered flash units are not any cheaper than my studio strobes.
     
  6. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You shooting 400, 800 or 1600 bees?

    I am putting together the fundage to order a decent starter setup, I will start a new thread on it later though.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    I have two 800s and one 400 for a background light. I'm thinking of adding one more, as a hair light or kicker...which will probably be another 400.
     

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