Home Studio Questions

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by kathy65, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. kathy65

    kathy65 TPF Noob!

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    I just started a couple months ago doing some photography of my new grandson, and some family pictures for friends. Of course I used just natural light. Now that it is getting cold where I live, I would like to get a few back drops and use in my garage.
    I don't want to spend alot if money, I would rather improvise things for now. I have read alot on the Web on what to use for various things that don't cost an arm and a leg.
    Any suggestions on lighting, backdrops that are neutral? Anyone else have a garage they use for photos?


     
  2. FotosbyMike

    FotosbyMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is hard to help without a real number of budget or camera and lens details, spending a lot for some is $100 and to others it is $1,000. If you are on the lower end of the budget start with hanging different colored bed sheets, canvas tarps, fabric, shower/window curtains, and/or fleece blankets from eye hooks from the garage ceiling. For lights I highly recommend strobes like the Paul C Buff AlienBees B400 or B800, this is because you will need a lot of continuous light for portraits. You will need at least 2 lights to light the subject and light the background.

    Just remember improvising on something will cost more down the road.
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As Mike mentioned, real budget numbers willr result in better advice, but it doesn't need to be a lot. $500 will get you a nice little home studio. Start with a roll of Savage Thunder Grey seamless paper for the backdrop, and this set of lights, along with a large reflector will be a GREAT starting point. You can go cheaper; you can use an old sheet for a backdrop and $49 MIC monolights or even cheaper continuous lighting, but chances are, you will become frustrated quickly. Even if $500 is a little outside the budge, save up and spend enough to get you started on the right foot. Gear does make a difference, to a point, and entry-level is where it makes the most difference, especially in stuff like this.
     
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  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No, I don't use my garage for photos.

    Almost any plain surface (like a wall) will work. If your garage is unfinished, just finish one wall for the background.

    You can find low-cost strobe lights at Adorama Flashpoint Budget Flash

    You'll need a light stand and some type of modifier for each strobe.

    Depending on how many lights you buy, (three?) this is about as cheap as you can get.
     
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    IIRC, my roll of paper (109" wide) was around $55 plus shipping. The backdrop stand was additional, of course.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Really good suggestions in post #3...Thunder Gray paper is a very useful shade, and the Flashpoint 320M monolight set with two umbrellas and two light stands is a good start. I've recommended the Flashpoint 320M monolights for several years because they cost so little, yet give more power output than lights that cost $149 and $179 more.
     
  7. Jim Walczak

    Jim Walczak No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As always, these are just my own opinions and in this case I'd add the addendum that I'm NOT a portrait photographer...I don't really like "people" to begin with, so it's not something I've pursued to any serious extent (beyond a few images for my portfolio).

    That said, my dirt cheap budget method was to get some inexpensive used hot shoe flashes with a few of those el' cheapo wireless remotes...I have a hot shoe trasmitter and 4 flash triggers. I mount the flashes to old tripods, but you can damn near use anything really...I've used an old mic stand on occasion! LOL! For a background I actually have a home made drop cloth...basically ran out to the local fabric store, picked up a few yards of the cheapest white cotton fabric I could find and...yea...I tie-dyed it! I used a .99ยข box of black Ritt fabric dye and a whole bunch of rubber bands. Total cost was around $100. I did go back later and bought a couple of cheapy flash heads (with small soft boxes) off Ebay, but those were likewise around $50 each or something...not a huge investment at all.

    Again, I'm NOT a portrait photographer...just not my interest at all, however I'd like to think I got pretty decent results with only a VERY modest investment...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    For my use and the rather minimal investment, my cheapy setup did the job pretty well. The nice thing about the backdrop coming out gray is that using a simple color filter over one of the flashes, I was able to give the shot a different look using the same backdrop. Unless you're planning to do this as some sort of professional or semi-pro gig, I honestly wouldn't sink a ton of cash into it...you can do quite a bit with just the basics.

    Again just my own opinions...please use them for what they're worth!
     

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