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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

 
pcasciola
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Oct 09, 2005 22:54 as a reply to  @ post 831963 |  #31

Some of these systems use a TON of bulbs, and softboxes and umbrellas as well to soften it on the models. One for one I don't think they are even close to strobes, but if you check out the Rololight setup, each box I think holds 4-6 bulbs. Fluorescents are so energy efficient though that you are still only talking about I think 12-14 watts per bulb.


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DwightMcCann
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Oct 10, 2005 10:44 |  #32

Philip, someone else suggested fluorescents, too, so even though I have $5K sunk into a Bowens QUADX strobe system, I will certainly look into them. I think my biggest problem is going to be using the confined space well. My goal is being able to shoot portraits, perhaps glamour and products (meaning wine related items such as bottles and glasses for one of my clients.) Hmmm, I also need to take/show a photo of my livingroom space which is plenty large enough with 16' ceiling and a staircase that overlooks it ... I'm already prepping my wife to expect that I will want to use it from time to time.


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pcasciola
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Oct 10, 2005 10:53 as a reply to  @ DwightMcCann's post |  #33

I know fluorescents are gaining popularly for product shoots, but I'm not sure about portrait work.

Either way, sounds like you will have an awesome setup when you're done. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


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DwightMcCann
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May 26, 2007 21:01 |  #34

I know it has been a few days since I last visited this topic but I have been busy ... oh, yes, BUSY. Anyway, you can see there have been a few changes since the picture on page two of this thread. I have replaced the overhead chandelier with a fan/light ... with the 9' ceiling there is plenty of room and we really need the fan in the summer. OTOH I will replace it in an instant if it becomes a problem. A big chunk of the area to the left of the door is now a storage rack. On the far wall is my three roll backdrop setup ... fits like a glove with 9' paper rolls! And the rolls block light from that window which faces West. I usually don't have trouble with the other window. The table nearby on the right is nice ... it is a stylized drafting table with tilt top but it takes up too much space so I am likely to move it elsewhere. That's a "beauty dish" and muslin in its plastic holder on the table. I'd like to put in a smaller work surface and a wall mounted rack with a stereo system with some wall mounted speakers.

The studio isn't very studio like right now. I was doing a series of 17 portraits at the casino and after #11 my Bowens QUADX 3000 generator exploded. The one you see on the floor is a floor model demo I bought as I can't wait for the original to go to Chicago to be repaired! I haven't decided yet whether to start writing terrible reviews everywhere until I see if they are going to repair the old one for free ... it was just out of warranty but it was clearly a short of some sort and the two fuses were completely protected!!! When working the one I had was really pretty damn good! Anyway, all light stands and heads are packed (except for the one I used to test the new unit) to back over Monday to finish.

So, why am I bothering you? Good question! I am hoping to make a little headway on further improvements this summer. Now that I have two generators I am thinking of using two wall mounted boom arms on the right hand wall with one generator. These would allow easy hair/background lights while the other generator and pair of heads would be main and fill. Would also work for the occasional product shots I do for my winery client. Anyway, I am committed to the QUADX system at this point so the lights are determined. But does anyone have suggestions for wall mounted booms? Vendors? Anyone still think a rail system would be best? If so, vendor recommendations?

On a related topic, I have two umbrellas, two soft boxes (3' x 4', approx.), two flash head reflectors with barn doors and four flash heads (plus stands.) I am considering a bigger soft box, maybe 5' to 6', to get full body soft light ... is this reasonable/right?

Finally, the image of the six guys is a band I do a website and photography for. I had to clone in the wall behind the right hand guy because the shooting angle required to avoid the light stand on the right side ... this image is what got me thinking I would use boom arms on that side so I could shoot from much farther back. I needed a higher light near the middle but then it would have blocked shooting!

So, I am once again open to suggestions and bloated ego comments! :rolleyes: I still have a substantial budget over the long term although I have thoroughly researched the H2D with 39MP capacity and it just doesn't work for me right now. :lol:


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May 26, 2007 21:56 as a reply to  @ DwightMcCann's post |  #35

You seem to have it completely under control. I'm certainly no expert, but one piece of advice I can offer, if you decide to go with stand mounted lighting, is to buy high quality stands. They make a big difference.

Also, when you say glamour, are you intending on bringing models into your home? I know your wife is a cool person, and so is mine for that matter, but it's just something I personally wouldn't be comfortable with.

With business booming as you say, and more power to you and may it continue to get better, have you considered a studio space outside the home? That room is kind of narrow, though if you remember way back when, when I shot with Nilologist, her studio was quite small also and it worked just fine.

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DwightMcCann
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May 26, 2007 22:41 |  #36

MDJAK wrote in post #3272639 (external link)
You seem to have it completely under control. I'm certainly no expert, but one piece of advice I can offer, if you decide to go with stand mounted lighting, is to buy high quality stands. They make a big difference.

Also, when you say glamour, are you intending on bringing models into your home? I know your wife is a cool person, and so is mine for that matter, but it's just something I personally wouldn't be comfortable with.

With business booming as you say, and more power to you and may it continue to get better, have you considered a studio space outside the home? That room is kind of narrow, though if you remember way back when, when I shot with Nilologist, her studio was quite small also and it worked just fine.

mark

I think the booms or rails are a must in such a small space. As for stands, I have three low end ones and three mid end ones. Big difference between them as you say.

Bringing the glamor models into my house. Hmmm, never thought of that being an issue. Actually, when I say glamor I am leaning more toward portraits of neighborhood ladies that lean into glamor rather then nude, implied nude or erotic. Perhaps more like fashion or magazine style. And I certainly have occasional shots like the band or kids or stuff like that. But, as you say, my wife knows it is about photography and making pictures and providing a product and I wouldn't do anything that I wouldn't want my five year old daughter to see ... I'm just not a very secret guy. OTOH, I would let her watch me shoot nudes as I don't have much in the way of nudity taboos ... which is, of course, different from things with sexual/erotic implications that I wouldn't permit her to see ... but I won't debate that here (or anywhere as I doubt I will change anyone's mind.)

My photography is just part time at this point and 95%+ of my work is "on location" Live Entertainment and other types of location work. The studio portrait/glamor stuff is mostly for fun or experience. Also, I live in a very small town ... 5000 ... and there aren't many buildings that lend themselves to being a studio. So, while the casino does have me do some things that clearly benefit from a bigger studio space, they provide me with use of their stage as a studio which is quite extensive and will bring or setup anything I need beyond my studio kit ... stools, chairs, ladders, or even stands or trusses and stage lights if needed. I really have the best of all possible worlds for what I am doing these days.

Yes, I remember Frederique quite well ... if I recall I wierded her out somehow ... oh, well, she has a lot of talent and should do well as she builds her experience and portfolio ... I haven't got enough years left to do that. :lol::lol::lol:


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Aug 09, 2007 11:58 |  #37

Man, am I slow! Essentially nothing has changed. But I did want to report that my Bowens QUADX 3000 that exploded a while back has still not come back from repair! Rather unbelievable that it has been almost three months. Much as I like using the Bowens I really have to strongly recommend against them at this point due to the repair turnaround issue.

So, I am now looking at using drape material to cover the walls when I want black rather than white. Anyone have suggestions on a good way to do this? I have a place to get great (expensive) material, same as the casino uses on their stage, but I am not sure how to hang the material so that I have it cover the walls or not.

I have contacted Bowens and gotten some feedback on their rail system which seems to have a good reputation, but until I get that generator back I am not likely to do much of anything, although I am getting two more flash heads (for a total of six) since they are apparently prone to failure occasionally and I can't wait for months.


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Aug 09, 2007 13:04 |  #38

Just saw this thread for the first time, and thought I'd mention one piece of equipment you probably hadn't thought of; a set of wood or foam blocks that people can stand on. One of the most important things to do in group portraits, like the one you posted above, to create interest, is to vary the heights of the people in them. Having a straight line across the tops of peoples' heads just doesn't look terribly interesting.


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Aug 09, 2007 13:18 |  #39

bieber wrote in post #3697640 (external link)
Just saw this thread for the first time, and thought I'd mention one piece of equipment you probably hadn't thought of; a set of wood or foam blocks that people can stand on. One of the most important things to do in group portraits, like the one you posted above, to create interest, is to vary the heights of the people in them. Having a straight line across the tops of peoples' heads just doesn't look terribly interesting.

Wow, you're right, never thought about it but I need to. The band in the image is defunct, but as often occurs another had grown from their ashes like a Phoenix and I will be shooting them soon in the same location. I'll have to keep my eye out for such props although I have very limited storage space.


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bieber
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Aug 09, 2007 18:06 |  #40

DwightMcCann wrote in post #3697717 (external link)
Wow, you're right, never thought about it but I need to. The band in the image is defunct, but as often occurs another had grown from their ashes like a Phoenix and I will be shooting them soon in the same location. I'll have to keep my eye out for such props although I have very limited storage space.

I don't know where to find them, but at a seminar recently, Hanson Fong showed off a set of foam blocks he sells, different sizes, and they all pack together nicely. Light, compact, and so on.


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Aug 09, 2007 18:12 |  #41

i wish I had a room like that too! I'm using my living/dining room (and since there is no wife there is no problem!!)

good luck!


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DwightMcCann
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Aug 09, 2007 18:14 |  #42

bieber wrote in post #3699170 (external link)
I don't know where to find them, but at a seminar recently, Hanson Fong showed off a set of foam blocks he sells, different sizes, and they all pack together nicely. Light, compact, and so on.

Apparently Hanson keeps his sales secret ... but the blocks are call "Apple Boxes" and you can get them lots of places, including B&H. I'm gonna have to put some on my wishlist.


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TMR ­ Design
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Aug 09, 2007 23:45 as a reply to  @ DwightMcCann's post |  #43

Yup, I was just at B&H today (Spent the better part of the day. There's no way for me to just get in and out. :D ) and saw the Apple Boxes. They look pretty nice.


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DwightMcCann
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Aug 10, 2007 00:16 |  #44

TMR Design wrote in post #3700803 (external link)
Yup, I was just at B&H today (Spent the better part of the day. There's no way for me to just get in and out. :D ) and saw the Apple Boxes. They look pretty nice.

I went in on a visit to NYC (where I was born) a few years ago (maybe 12) and literally couldn't catch my breath ... a salesman saw me and when I told him he laughed and said he would get me catalogs of whatever I was after and I could go back to California to make my selections. I've spent about $50K there since!

I will definitely be getting half a dozen apple boxes after my generator gets back, I get the new flash heads and a couple of more soft boxes. And I really need to move on the rail system and drapes.


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Aug 10, 2007 07:58 |  #45

Have you tried theatrical supply houses for the drapes?


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