Starting an in-home studio....

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kidchill, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    So, I've decided to undertake some portrait photography. I'm setting up an area that is about 10ft wide and at least 20ft long. I've already priced out muslin from a local fabric shop, but my question is related to reflectors and the dispersion of light. I would like to put large sized white reflectors on either side of the background to eliminate color-bleed from the rest of the house and keep the flash light within the range of the subject. In an attempt to save money I was wondering if I could use white vinyl shower curtain material as the side reflectors. My question is, will this give more of a hard light reflection/glare or more of a diffuse soft light reflection? Also, would the bounced light purely depend on the light source? I will be using speedlights with diffusers. I'm still learning about light sources and diffusion and all that. But, I thought I remembered that direct reflection can be hard for a hard light source and soft if from a soft light source....CHRiS
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For a professional to use shower curtains... makes you look cheap. Colour bleed is not something thats an issue when you know how to light either.

    Honestly, I think your technicals skills are lacking for a "professional protrait photographer" to be asking these basic questions.

    Have some fun on www.strobist.com , get your basics down and then "go pro".

    You are not quite ready to go play with the big dogs yet. But don't give up on your idea!
     
  3. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Considering I'm asking about the nature of light reflection off of vinyl substances...I don't think it's a "basic question." Flat white clothe is going to give a diffuse soft light reflection, my question is, will a vinyl coated substance give off a hard light or glare reflection... So, do you know the answer to that question?
     
  4. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Highly reflective surfaces such as shiny materials will reflect the specular highlights more and could cause a problem.

    I have no problem with shower curtains in use. I had a friend who was a professional photographer and his reflectors were cardboard from packing boxes with white 8.5x11 paper stapled to them and the whole lot nailed onto wooden supports.

    It worked. People get way too hung up on buying stuff and that it should "look" professional. Most true professionals use the cheapest studio stuff they can and spend half their time making stuff - usually out of cardboard or go dumpster diving at weekends for interesting props. It only has to look good and a can of spray paint over some gaffer tape makes a big difference!
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sure! Give me the exact plastic compound. it's transparency level and it's exact thickness and I can tell you almost to a "T".

    As far as people getting hung up on looks... I could care less what it looks like, but what will your clients (the ones PAYING) think? There has to be a certain level of professionalism and yes, you don't see many people renting chauffers with extended Yugos... but lots of people paying big bucks paying to be chauffered around in extended hummers and what not.

    It all comes back to the question of knowing when to spend and when not to spend. I know people that have paid $1500/hour for a session... but had they seen a paper softbox with a shower curtain, would have walked out laughing.
     
  6. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Yah, it's about the material, how it's prepared, and where it's placed. My question wasn't related to what material to use, but whether or not a glossy surface would reflect light as hard or soft or if it was dependent upon the light source....I guess that was too much to ask for... And, I wasn't saying I was just gonna hang up shower curtains and be like yah that looks great. The idea was to take the vinyl and stretch it across supports which would look just like a fabric stretched out across supports but would cost less. It's all a matter of NOT wanting a hard light reflection.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Fabric would offer a softer light. That said, people use reflectors with aluminium faces. It depends on what you want and how you use it... more than what is used.

    Use the material that gives you what you want. To know what you want, that goes back to what I mentioned in my first post.
     
  8. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    I already defined what I want. Soft lighting. No hard lighting! So, would the reflective nature of vinyl (or polyvinyl) shower curtain material give a soft reflection if a soft light source were used. That's all I'm asking.
     
  9. That One Guy

    That One Guy TPF Noob!

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    very good question and creative thinking :thumbup:

    personally i think it would give off a soft light especially since the source would be a soft light to start with.

    why not make a small hand held reflector covered in the same vinyl and try it out?
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Again, depends on the material. If the plastic was shiney, it would offer not only harder light but specular aspects as well.

    Too many kinds of shower curtains to know... lol.

    Don't use a shower curtain that has a design of a nekkid woman on it, like the one I saw at a home depot this morning... lmao.

    Shower curtains are CHEAP, if you are dead set for using them... spend the $9 and try it out and see for yourself!
     
  11. kidchill

    kidchill TPF Noob!

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    Screw the curtain. I'm too worried about hard reflections and glare. I talked to the fabric shop and I'll just go with some cheaper white cotton material and leave the muslin on the background.
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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