Setting up complete studio on 6-7grand

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by thanos, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. thanos

    thanos TPF Noob!

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    G’day photoforums, been a long time. Lots changed in my world and hence I need your help. I recently changed jobs and became a sales rep for a big wholesaler of frame moulding, framing hardware and due to the structure of the overarching company - trophies. But when they found out my background in marketing/media generation and passion for photography... well I’m now their de facto media officer as well. Basically, the boss wants to start doing everything in-house.

    Having never really done any professional studio work (up until now, where I did a few test shots with my d80 and a mates cheap light table & mini cold lights) and with photography a leisure pursuit for the most part (though I have done alittle studio lighting in regards to blue screens and video production), I basically have two questions;

    With a budget of 6-7000 dollars AUD (you could guess right?), I have to set up their studio to produce photos for their catalogues, webpages (both of which I am slated to produce now also) and other media. I got a private room, about 5x3m square. I shoot inanimate objects; frame mouldings, where three dimensional scale/proportions and colour rendition are paramount; trophies, where many are resin with matte gloss and others are just shiny glossy as you can imagine; and other misc. hardware and accessories of varying sizes. In regards to cameras, I was thinkin Fujifilm s5 pro due to highly regarded studio properties i.e. colour, dynamic range etc. plus the 105mm vr micro and a 60mm micro (which i have always wanted anyway, might ask to “borrow” it if I do a good job). I would prefer to stick with Nikon because thats what I use currently.

    In regards to lighting; you got me. I know the principles of it and have done some stuff, but as to which equipment I don’t know; point me in the right direction if you can. And with that comes my second question – how best to handle studio photography, especially in regards to colour rendition and in dealing with matte shiny/reflective objects such as many of the statues and trophies the company I work for stocks. Any pointers or pointing in the direction of tutorials, guides etc would be much appreciated. This community has been a great help to me over the past year, I only hope that I can eventually aid others as forums members have aided me, both directly and through just the wealth of information stored in these forums.

    Cheers

    p.s. plug; I still have a mint canon t90 + a bevy of mint lenses, filter and accessories for sale :)
     
  2. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    Congrats! I am not a pro like a lot of other folks here, but if I had 6-7 grand to play with, I'd do pretty well. The biggest thing I can recommend is space, as much as you can get, and paint it white. Being able to spread out makes a huge difference. As for the Fuji S5, I have it, and I LOVE it. It performs very well in the studio, and where ever I take it. As for the lights, try to get some nice monolights. A couple softboxes are key, and huge 4'X8' sheets of foamcore. Don't forget a few reflectors, I found an RV sized windshield thing that works great, and it only cost me $12usd at Wal-Mart. Oh, and clamps, lots of clamps. I found awesome clamps at Home Depot for $1 each!! They are heavy-duty carpentry clamps but look just like "photography" clamps, I bought 20 of them.
    Here is studio space that I share with another photographer and a color-specialist. We can drive a car in, put 'go-jacks' under the wheels, and roll the car down to the white part and spin it around with little effort.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. crystal_lynn

    crystal_lynn I am sure I sound childish

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  4. thanos

    thanos TPF Noob!

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    OK, thanks for the replies, you both demonstrate capable studio set-ups on a sparse budget.

    However, I do understnad the basics of the larger, more common studio work of portraits and large objects (once again, my chroma key experience); but I am looking specifically at contructing a macro studio where correct colour is paramount so light boxes and the like are necessary (and of which I know little about). And also to the studio photographers out there; what equipment, brands etc. would you recommend?
     
  5. thanos

    thanos TPF Noob!

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    BUMP Would appreciate additional contructive comments; I'm serious and this is real - and I just would like some more takes on studio set-ups. I am thinkin 2, 3 lights o with one of them underneth a smei-translucent table aswell as a large lightbox around the subject. Also thinkin about gear - went the store and that d300 is bloody good (posting a thread in the gear section in regards to that now). Thankyou. Note: Everything I shoot will be depetched so I want an eve nbackground
     
  6. notelliot

    notelliot TPF Noob!

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    look at alien bees.

    www.alienbees.com. they're in nashville. excellent, excellent customer service and i'm in canada.
    a couple of B800's with a big octaboxes would be nice. softboxes are good too, but with the square build, you have more shadows (albeit soft shadows) than you would with an octabox. better for accent lights or use with a lightbox.
    great thing about the bees is they're cheap. B800's are 320 true watts, have daylight balance flash tubes and go for $279 US each. less than speedlights. build quality is also very, very good.

    the octaboxes might run you about 2-300 each, i'd probably go with one large octabox (48"), and maybe two large softboxes (32x40"). the softboxes are around $175.. ?

    the light stands for these i wouldn't really recommend the one's alien bees sells. they're not very rugged. i mean, they take a lot of torture, but i wish they were a little more ridged with the lights on 'em, and the lights are just over 2lbs each.

    of course, you may want some reflectors - stick with white or silver for best colour.

    radio transmitters aren't 100% necessary with the bees, as they have built-in slaves. it's tricky to get the hang of using them with CLS, but if you don't have any off-camera speedlights, it's really straight-forward.

    that's my take on it.

    i don't have any ideas for lightboxes or backgrounds.. sorry. not much of a product photog.. and i like shooting environmental set-ups.

    hope that helps.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I doubt any aftermarket strobes support the Nikon CLS. What has to be done for the strobes to sync properly is that CLS has to be disactivated. In the case of using a D200 or D300 (for example), you can use any flash (it's onboard buit-in flash or a camera mounted SB-600/800, etc...) and set it to MANUAL and then use the lowest power setting (1/128th for an example) so that it doesn't add to the composition.

    Someone with a budget of 6-7 thousand dollars can certainly afford the industry leaders in triggers... Pocket Wizards.

    I also think that one has to take the attitude of maybe not needing to spend it all in 1 shot. The OP may not need a 7 thousand dollar studio to start out with. Maybe a 3 thousand dollar approach will give them all that they need to start off with, and that as their needs grow, so could their studio.

    I also want to make a comment about studio colour. If I was to do it, I would use 18% grey wall paint, not white. Results will always be better.

    It is hard to design a studio for someone else becuase no one else will know your needs better than you. And you will be better able to design a studio once you know what you are doing. Thats one of the reasons I said not to spend it all at once. It is as hard to design a studio for someone, as it is to tell them what camera/lenses to purchase... maybe even harder. BTW, that D300 was an excellent choice. Biased as I am towards Nikon, the D300 is already starting to rack up a reputation for quality output that is hard to beat.
     

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