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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk
Thread started 20 Jun 2017 (Tuesday) 12:56
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Need help setting up a single light portrait studio/setup

 
jrm27
Senior Member
788 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Vail, Co
Jun 20, 2017 12:56 |  #1

Hi all,

One of my responsibilities at work is to take photos of all our staff. In the past, I've just set everyone up on a white background, setup a vertical clamshell lighting setup, added a little fill from the Left, and overpowered the background with my Yongnuo flash. The results are fine, but it is a huge pain to setup repeatedly in a multi-use pace as we get new staff. On top of that, I'm losing the space where we would traditionally setup the little "studio", so it is time to re-adress.

I am being given a very small space to set up a permanent "studio" for portrait use. Basically I'm the the un-used end of a 6 foot wide corridor. So, I'm determined to figure out how to make a simple, one-light setup that I can basically "plug and play" for when new staff is brought on board. My plan is to get a role of white paper (and a roll of black) that I can hang on the back wall, and then using one large light from somewhat overhead to light the scene. I really like this look: https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=fs0OoW43Bj8 (external link), and I think doing it on white will be less dramatic (which is good for me). But really, my limited space needs a one-light setup and I need some help figuring this out.

So, what might you recommend to make this happen? I'd rather not have to go spend around $1600 for a one light setup if there are abetter options. I'm also wondering if anyone knows a good wall-mounted swing arm that may be useful here. I'd love to have an arm mounted to a wall that is perpendicular to the area I'm shooting so I can just swing the light out, rather than setup a light stand every time. Not sure if that makes sense.

I'd certainly appreciate any input!

-jon


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/jrmelot/external link

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Jun 20, 2017 13:43 |  #2

Heya,

White background may be more challenging simply because it will be grey when you expose your subject with one light. You would need a 2nd light (or post-processing) to turn the background to pure white. So that's up to you how much effort you want to put into it. Black is easier to do this with one light because your light will be close to subject, low power, and fall off quickly and allow the background to remain black with ambient camera settings. This is a very small space, so you don't need powerful lights at all, speedlites are more than enough, and really low powered strobes can do it fine too. A simple wired strobe may be ideal simply to avoid batteries, no down time, always setup and ready to go, and of course a modeling light. If you do go with white background, and a 2nd light, a floor light/strobe can be used to expose the white background to keep it white.

For modifiers, if you use an umbrella, it will spill every where and impact your ambient and background exposure in some ways. So a softbox is ideal here. A cheap one that will do the job is a simple brolly box (an enclosed umbrella style softbox with reflective liner). They're super cheap, $35, and big (47") which gives you all the stuff you need. Or get a little larger nicer ones if you wish, like a Softlighter II. Put a cheap 120~300Ws strobe in there ($50~150) and another floor strobe (cheap too) for the background lighting. A wall mounted boom arm or a boom stand can then do the rest (also cheap, $120?).

You certainly don't need $1600 for this.

+++++++++++++++

Main lights (get two):

Flashpoint 300 R2 - $120
300Ws monolight with a modeling light, wired only (no battery), no frills manual strobe with built in R2 wireless receiver system and Bowens mount.
https://www.adorama.co​m/fplfs300b.html (external link)

Transmitter (only need one):

Flashpoint R2T ($46) (obviously get it for whatever camera system you're using, canon, nikon, etc)
https://www.adorama.co​m ...tml#source=productO​ptions (external link)

Wall boom (only need one):
Manfrotto 3077B (holds 10lbs) - $150
https://www.adorama.co​m ...7b.html?RRref=produ​ctPage (external link)

Floor stand (only need one) for 2nd light (for background lighting):
Cheap 7' - $20
https://www.adorama.co​m/fpls6.html?RRref=pro​ductPage (external link)

Main Modifier:
Westscott 43" Apollo Orb - $130
https://www.adorama.co​m/weao36.html (external link)

Barndoors for 2nd light (background):
Universal Barn Door + Gels - $40
(use this to control spill and light direction to bleach the background white when doing white backdrops behind subject if you want; unless you want grey)
https://www.adorama.co​m/fplfbd.html (external link)

Just to get it started at least. There's tons of other configurations you could do.

I would use a light meter, no chimping, more professional, and consistent output results.
Budget ones:
https://www.amazon.com ...00UKUHOE?tag=sleekl​ens-20 (external link)
https://www.amazon.com ...words=sekonic+light​+meter (external link)
https://www.amazon.com ...words=sekonic+light​+meter (external link)


Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

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jrm27
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
788 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Vail, Co
Jun 20, 2017 16:00 |  #3

Wow, thank you! What an awesome chunk of information. Thanks for the links too. This is all really helpful. The entry point is going to be much easier than I thought!

I've never really worked with stdio strobes, so this will be a whole new venture for me. Everything I've been using are basically hot lights. Are there non-manual strobe options I should explore? I'm assuming I might as well use my flash to light up the white background as well.

Thanks so much for your helpful and informational response!


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/jrmelot/external link

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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Jun 20, 2017 16:09 |  #4

You can get TTL capable strobes, but be prepared to spend $500~750 to even start with those, per light. Thing is though, if you just meter everything with a light meter, it's pretty much set, that's the beauty of studio control.

You can use a flash/speedlite/strobe to take care of the backdrop. Nothing special needed there. Just something to slightly over-expose it so its white (if you want white). Or you can use gels. Or you can use things like barn doors to control spread and shape of light to frame up a subject. Or you can just add vignetting in post. Up to you. Depends on what you need from it. If you always use a black background you won't even need the 2nd light unless you just wanted to play with rim/hair accents.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

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PhotosGuy
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74,727 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Joined Feb 2004
Middle of Michigan
Jun 20, 2017 16:20 |  #5

http://photography-on-the.net ...showthread.php?p=17​811105
My grandmother. One flash on the walls of a hallway. Move the light around until you get the softness that you want.


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1280 pixels on any side.

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jrm27
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
788 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Vail, Co
Jun 20, 2017 16:24 |  #6

Thats a good point. Thanks!


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/jrmelot/external link

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jrm27
THREAD ­ STARTER
Senior Member
788 posts
Joined Oct 2008
Vail, Co
Jun 21, 2017 11:54 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #7

MalVeauX,

It looks like that light would be perfect for what we need and how I'd like to control it. However, it's not expected to be in stock until the end of July. Would there be a similar setup that you might be able to recommend? I really like the integrated radio to control the flash power as it will make the light much easier to manage since it will be mounted in a bit of an awkward place to adjust manually.

Thanks for your generous supply of great info.

-jon


http://www.flickr.com/​photos/jrmelot/external link

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kf095
Cream of the Crop
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Joined Dec 2009
Canada, Ontario, Milton
Jul 05, 2017 10:18 |  #8

Well, I hope it went well in the 6 foot corridor. Don't know why it was limited to the corridor only. But you never know.

For OP's future. Read and study Jane Bown portraits book - "Faces: The Creative Process Behind Great Portraits".
It is about to be creative with available light or with one bulb.


Old Site (external link). M-E and ME blog (external link). Film Flickr (external link). my DigitaL and AnaLog Gear.

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Need help setting up a single light portrait studio/setup
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