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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 26 Sep 2005 (Monday) 22:22
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Setting Up a Small In-Home Studio on a Large Budget

 
DwightMcCann
so, what are we talking about?
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Sep 26, 2005 22:22 |  #1

I am in my new house, finally. I have my own den, finally. I also have been granted exclusive use of an "extra" room by my wife for use as a studio. It shares a hallway with my den and a full bathroom. I have not managed to unpack/find my tape measure yet, but the room is about 10' wide, 20' long (more or less) with a 9' ceiling. The room has two windows, one south and one west with entry door on the east. It has a darkish wooden floor and "contractor white" walls.

I have a Bowens QUADX 3000 w/s studio flash unit with four heads, two with extension cords. I also have a few light stands, a softbox, a couple of umbrellas, reflectors with grids, etc. I also have a PhotoFlex three roll adjustable backdrop setup with white and black seamless paper and one neutral gray muslin backdrop with some innocuous design.

I would like to do individual portraits and maybe a little glamour work along with occasional product photography for things like wine bottles/glasses (I have a winery client.)

I am interested in getting input on such things as possible light support fixtures, camera stand, and any/all manner of accessories. I may not do anything to the room immediately (won't even be unpacked for a couple of months I guess) but don't want to do anything I will regret quickly, such as painting the walls black.:lol: Also, I guess I would like to know if this room just isn't going to be useful and I should set it up to do matting and framing rather than screwing with it to make it a studio. I know there is a full range of opinions and I would like to hear them all. Oh, I added that bit about "Large Budget" more as an eye catcher than anything else, but I will, over the longer term, have ample funds to do whatever looks the most useful.

Surfkahana is going to come over tomorrow night to show me how to clean my sensor and we could take some pictures of the room, although it has a few boxes sitting on the floor.


Dwight McCann
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tim
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Sep 27, 2005 02:40 |  #2

I wish I had a room like that!

It's not answering your question, but if you plan to do many glass photos the book "light science and magic" is a great help. Things like light and dark field lighting, not too hard but not something i'd have worked out myself in a hurry.


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DwightMcCann
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so, what are we talking about?
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Sep 27, 2005 17:42 |  #3

Thanks, Tim. I will try to get some pictures of the room up before too long ... some of the things I am wondering about are those frames that attach to the ceiling that allow you to place lights, suggestions on backdrops, floor/plexiglass coverings, storage units, etc. I'm surprised I haven't had more input or questions but it may turn out that I will need to ask very specific questions.


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chtgrubbs
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Sep 28, 2005 10:56 |  #4

In a smallish room such as this the ideal would be an overhead rail system which would eliminate lightstands and free up a lot of floorspace. I've used a camera stand for large format tabletop work, but I'm not sure they are the most practical things for digital cameras. Good ones are REALLY big and heavy and expensive, and smaller ones are pretty awkward to use. What I liked about them was the ability to swing or slide the 4x5 out of the way to make adjustments to the set and then just slide the camera back into position. But for portraits I don't think they are flexible or fast enough to make it worthwhile.




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DwightMcCann
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Sep 28, 2005 11:41 |  #5

THANK YOU, chtgrubbs ... that's exactly the kind of info I need. I will do research on a rail system ... open floorspace is certainly a premium in this long narrow room. BTW, there is wiring for an overhead light in the center of the room (currently holding a chandellier that I will be removing) ... any thoughts on what I should replace it with? Track lighting, and if so, what sort?

Surf came over last night but after cleaning sensors we didn't make time to shoot the room. I will be very busy processing Steve Miller Band images tonight. Tomorrow night I am shooting ZZ Top. Friday night I am hoping to shoot a high school football game with Surf. So it will likely be the weekend before I can post any images.


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PhotosGuy
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Sep 28, 2005 19:56 |  #6

there is wiring for an overhead light in the center of the room (currently holding a chandellier that I will be removing) ... any thoughts on what I should replace it with? Track lighting, and if so, what sort?

I'd suggest that that should be your "work light". Bright enough so that you can see everything in the room well.


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DwightMcCann
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Sep 28, 2005 20:29 |  #7

Yes, but what sort of light? That's why I thought I might do track lighting since it allows a lot flexibility in positioning lights and/or changing the configuration.


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PhotosGuy
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Sep 28, 2005 20:33 |  #8

To me, track lighting is a lot of iddy bitty spots. That's why I said I'd use whatever lights the whole room.


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DwightMcCann
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Sep 28, 2005 20:52 |  #9

Track lighting comes in a huge variety of heads, like studio lighting, and can include both spots and larger area lights. So while I guess I could stick a 300 watt bare bulb in there and light the whole room I don't think I will.:D I'll defer this for a while!


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chtgrubbs
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Sep 29, 2005 11:24 |  #10

Most of the studios I have shot in were industrial type setups with large overhead flourescents which were turned off during the shooting. Track lighting would probably work well if they were not in the way of your overhead track system.




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DwightMcCann
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Sep 29, 2005 12:12 |  #11

Ah, an excellent observation, chtgrubbs, if I am going to install a rail system then track lighting might well pose an issue. I'll hold off doing anything other than removing the hideous beast hanging there now and still with a floor lamp or two.


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scottbergerphoto
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Sep 29, 2005 12:45 as a reply to DwightMcCann's post |  #12

Dwight, the problem as I see it, is that large budget you have. It gives you too many options. Just think how much easier it would be if you sent us each 20-30 dollars. You'd be heading down to Home Depot for some work halogens. Besides, you're already a great concert photographer. Why waste all that money on a studio? ;)


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Doug ­ Rowan
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Sep 29, 2005 14:08 |  #13

If I had that room, time, money and inclination...I would rig the center light as a pull down unit, hollow center, square framed, 8-48" bulb 5000K-daylight florescent bank (2 bulbs per side).Have it mounted on a swivel frame so it's flush against the ceiling until you use your James Bond remote to drop it down to turn it & shoot through the center opening. Heck, if you did it right, it wouldn't even be in the way of your rails (plus you'd have another, cool, lighting option)!


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DwightMcCann
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Sep 29, 2005 16:20 |  #14

Oh, Scott, how could I have missed the obvious ... too many options killing the project. Hmmm, well, I think the 'correct' thing to do is suffer the "natural consquences" of my indecision and take responsbility for my failings rather than the easy way out by sending money to all my fellow photographers and reducing my options to a manageable number ... guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.:rolleyes:

I actually won't have any money to do much until next year. I am awaiting an Epson 7800 printer at the moment and will need to build lots of storage into my garage and office first. I also have my eye on a few lenses, remote gear and maybe Wi-Fi. And in all seriousness, you are correct that it isn't an area I'm into currently. I am really positioning for the day when I retire from my day job and have the time and perhaps need to expand my commercial services. But on such a project, getting early ideas is critical. I expect when I finally get my butt in gear and post some pictures that there will be even more suggestions.

Anyone have a clue on where to start researching rail systems? Doug, any place I see what kind of lights you are talking about?


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Doug ­ Rowan
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Sep 29, 2005 21:15 as a reply to DwightMcCann's post |  #15

DwightMcCann wrote:
Doug, any place I see what kind of lights you are talking about?

Here's a link to a video showing the photographer using something very similar (actually, his is a triangle rather than a square):

http://www.leafamerica​.com/3701.htmexternal link

A square one would be very simple to make by building a frame for 4-48" double bulb flourescent shop lights.


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Setting Up a Small In-Home Studio on a Large Budget
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