Building your own studio


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Sep 28, 2010
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Hello I was looking into making my own at home studio mostly for newborn baby shots or toddler/children shots. I have a room in my house that is empty with white walls one long window and normal room light with light switch. I was looking into getting white fabric for the ground and background then using blankets or other props for the photos. What lighting would you recommend? some natural lighting from the window unless it is dark out? OR putting on the celling row lights (like for paintings) where you can move the light around or stand up light? If stand up light where to you buy them at and what time do you need? Any advice or help would be great!
I have alien bees etc. with sb600 and sb900. I control most of my lighting for studio work. Also I have reflectors, stands, and stuff.

For babies though I found that I have to do things a bit different. Often times with adults you can guess on the lighting and it works out great. However with babies you might only get one second of timing for a shot while waiting minutes to get to that point. If the lighting wasn't correct, then that one second was a waste. So for babies I have opted for continous lighting. That way what I see is what I get. Instead of strobes which may be just an estimated guess at what you might get. Also, using strobes with babies just make them mad. You might have a laughing baby and then when you flash, you no longer have a laughing baby. Of course this is more for newborns to a couple years old. After that then it is a entire new ball game.

Hope that makes sense. I know people might say otherwise, but I just found that I work with babies differently than I do with adults or even children.
Agree, with very young children and animals I recommend hot lights rathter than strobes. Regular room incandescent lighting isn't really going to do the job for a number of reasons: The bulbs generally aren't colour-corrected, the wattages are often too low to be effective, and you will NEED to be able to move them around for different compositions. I would suggest both white and black seamless paper for most of your background needs and investing in a good flash-meter, Sekonic L358, Minolta V/VI or equivalent. long window....
What direction does the window face? East? West? North? South? And how many square feet is it? (Width times height = square feet)

Many studio shooters use a medium gray seamless paper background. By using proper strobed light camera techniques, it can be made white or black. Plus by using gelled lights (colored coverings) the gray can be made many hues.

Often a home studio is limited by nort being able to get subjects far enough away from the background, and still have enough room for the camera to be far enough back to render sufficient depth-of-field. Ceiling height can also be a limiting factor.

What are the dimensions of the room you have available? (width, length, height)
1. Buy the widest roll of white Savage seamless background paper that will fit into the room. Babies and toddlers move around a lot. You'll need the space.

2. Buy two or three large round white/silver relectors and stands. Use them to bounce the window light onto the subject.

3. My experience with large windows is that I still need high ISO around 800. This will five you a faster shutter speed to capture the fast moving toddlers.

4. Let the little guys move, while you watch, frame and shoot.

This is the most affordable, easy-to-execute plan I can think of. I do it in my my studio and the homes I visit that have great window light. It's so much more natural than strobes.
Hi. I personally use simple white sheet for background although the studio lighting kit which I bought last year has white background too... If I need I edit the pictures in Photoshop to make the background even white...
Here are two pictures from last month of my baby and a friend of mine's kid...



Anyways, in my opinion the best light is the natural light coming from the window, so use it whenever you can...
When my second son was born I decided to go for a studio kit and read couple of reviews at
I am really happy with my studio lighting kit - it has 2 strobes, 3 backgrounds and 1 small (background) flash, flash trigger, stands... I thinkg it's quite good for the money ($250).

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