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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 14 Aug 2012 (Tuesday) 15:03
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Product studio: what is needed?

 
Daan37
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Aug 14, 2012 15:03 |  #1

A business partner has decided to do their product photography in house. They want to built a small studio. They have got a large hall available. The studio itself will be about 5 x 8 meters big. The products will be chairs, sofas and benches, as well as tables. Shiny and matt objects.

They have ask me for some advice on what they need for equipment. Not sure they have come to the right person. I know a thing or two about studio lighting of course, but I am not entirely sure what you need for shooting products like they are selling. So, I come here to seek some advice.

What do you think is needed to built a product studio?

Thanks


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borealis
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Aug 14, 2012 15:15 |  #2

More space.


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Daan37
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Aug 14, 2012 15:16 |  #3

How much more?


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borealis
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Aug 14, 2012 15:18 |  #4

And, more helpfully, getting advice here is great, but you might also want to look at the websites of studios that do similar work.


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gonzogolf
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Aug 14, 2012 15:27 |  #5

More space would certainly be nice. To control perspective distortion you generally want to have a bit of (relative) distance from your subject and thus work with a bit longer lens. That means you need the ability to back up, and yet still leave some space between the subject and the backdrop for shadow control. You are probably going to want a minimum of 4 studio lights with a variety of modifiers, namely large softboxes and strip lights. I would think a boom would also be essential. Before you buy anything, or suggest they buy anything, I would look at some product photo tutorials either on DVD or online if you can find some. Shooting large products can be more of a challenge than it seems.




  
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dmward
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Aug 14, 2012 15:29 |  #6

Furniture photography studios is relatively specialized. Shooting the individual pieces is one thing, shooting them in settings it something else. Use of the image dictates some minimum elements as well.

For catalog, including web, distortion is one consideration which means they will want to use relatively long lenses which in turn means enough room to get back from the subject etc.

Two or three sided cyclorama is also an important consideration. Especially for catalog shooting.

All told, a dedicated studio for this kind of shooting would be double and more likely three or four times the dimensions you mentioned.


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borealis
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Aug 14, 2012 15:40 |  #7

Space depends on what will be brought in to a given shoot as much as the mechanics of shooting a big bulky object- for example, a couch. One couch is usually not an issue- bringing several into a working studio can present a storage and logistics problem.

If they have the luxury of bringing one item in to the shooting environment at a time and not too many people hanging around, a shooting area 8 metres x 5 metres is "okay" for an object as big as a couch. 8 meters (~26 feet) is pretty wide, but 5 metres is not very "deep" . (It can be difficult to move a large object far enough away from the background to light it and still maintain a desired shooting distance.) If you shoot the other way, you may not have a lot of room on the sides for lights, props, etc as it would be only 5 (~ 16 feet) metres wide.

Drawing it out on paper or computer can help visualize space requirements. I think if neat and organized it's probably doable for one-off's of most "regular sized" furniture, but might be tight for very large pieces.


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Daan37
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Aug 14, 2012 16:16 |  #8

Thanks for all the input :)

The hall is actually quite larger than 8 x 5 meters. Probably 10 times as big. But they want to built the studio in one corner, since the hall is also used for other things. But the photog has room to back off and use a short tele.

So, besides the space, what else do they need?

I was thinking a large white seamless backdrop.
4 lights: strobes or continuous lights? How much power?
Large translucent panels and reflectors (DIY maybe) and flags
Stands, light meter, sync, etc.

Do I miss something?


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gonzogolf
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Aug 14, 2012 16:29 |  #9

Daan37 wrote in post #14858515 (external link)
Thanks for all the input :)

TSo, besides the space, what else do they need?

I was thinking a large white seamless backdrop.
4 lights: strobes or continuous lights? How much power?
Large translucent panels and reflectors (DIY maybe) and flags
Stands, light meter, sync, etc.

Do I miss something?

Strobes, and pretty powerful ones if the budget allows. Something along the lines of 640 ws monolights would be my choice, although this might be where a pack and head system is a good option too.




  
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dmward
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Aug 14, 2012 22:06 |  #10

Packs and heads will be better in this situation.
Its likely that you will need as any as 6 or 8 heads with varying power output, modifiers and other light control.

I would build a two or three wall cyclorama much better than paper and can be made larger with paint on the floor.

Strobes will work much better and probably large panels.

Best way to figure out what you need would be to go to a comprehensive commercial studio, take pictures and then identify all the stuff. That's what you need. Maybe not the first day, but certainly the list will grow as they are shooting a job. Depending on sources of supply it may be more appropriate to anticipate than send someone out to get something that is holding up a shoot.

This question isn't to be rude, but if the photographer doing the work can't tell them what they need, maybe they need to consider another photographer.


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Foodguy
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Aug 15, 2012 09:13 |  #11

dmward wrote in post #14859865 (external link)
This question isn't to be rude, but if the photographer doing the work can't tell them what they need, maybe they need to consider another photographer.

That was my thought as well.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

  
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Product studio: what is needed?
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