BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Terry  L. 


I am not a professional photographer, just a major hobby and I want to take pictures of a few graduates in my garage. Now my question is......without putting out a lot of $$$$$ on photography equipment, because it is just a hobby, how can I get good lighting and set up a backdrop??? Any suggestions????

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10/28/2004 6:46:06 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I just try the "Search QnA" the first time. If you search on "background", you will see a list of discussion about setting up or self making background in home studio. If you search on "garage", you may find some discussion about light set up for home studio. Hope this helps.

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10/28/2004 8:37:59 AM

Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
You are worried about cost? Here are a few suggestions, for the low budget photographer. The following will give you years of service.
First: a trip to Home Depot: Buy some a 10 foot piece of PVC or metal electrical conduit.
Second: buy four of the silver parabolic shop lights, with the wire handle that allows clamping them on a board. Or, if you want to go first class, buy a set of the quartz halogen stand shop lights.
Third: Buy four spring clamps (6 inch size).
Now to Wal-Mart buy a white sheet and hang it up using the conduit or PVC wrap the sheet over the tube and secure it with the spring clamps. When you hang it, you will need some clamps or other way to stretch the fabric tight.
If you want you can make a frame use the PVC. Measure the sheet to get your outside dimensions. My frame has a center bar which is held by a set of T fittings set in the long side pieces. Make your frame about one inch larger than your bed sheet. DO NOT GLUE, any part of the frame, this will allow you to take it apart for storage.
Pled with your wife to sew one inch elastic across the corners, this will allow you to stretch the sheet tight. You may have some of this stuff in your garage.
For the parabolic lights, buy photo-flood lights and an 18% Kodak Gray card.
Set your lights at a 45 degree angle of the background. The lights should be about six to eight feet from the background. A pure white background can be established by having the background 2 to 3 stops brighter than your still life. Example: if your still life is f/8 then your background needs to be f/16 or f/22 when measured with a hand held meter. If you dont have a hand held, see if a fellow photographer has one you can borrow, or rent one from your local camera store. Measure the light on your still life and then on the background.
Your out of pocket expense is about $40.00.
Hope these ideas help.
Good shooting
PS. If you build the frame with the sheet, you have made a full length reflector that can be used outdoors. You can set up lights or flash behind it and use it as a scrim to soften the light. At a later point in your life you can buy, Lee color gels and add color to the background by putting the gels in front of the lights.

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10/28/2004 7:38:45 PM

Terry  L.    Thank you Doug, this will be very helpful!!! Terry

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10/28/2004 10:02:29 PM

Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
I am glad I could help.

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10/29/2004 8:42:41 PM

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