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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
 

NOW WHAT!?


Ok, I got my Medium sized softbox today and after much frustration of attaching the speedring to the lighthead, it is all put together, but seems to be a bit top heavy for the light stand. Anyway, now that I have that great diffused light source....what do I do? Use a second light, second softbox, a reflector? Any suggestions?


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9/28/2005 6:39:11 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Lisa,
please give me a better idea of what you want to accomplish, are you trying to set up a portrait studio...?
as far as your top heavey softbox goes though- you can help the tripod to support it by just wieghing the tripod with a sand bag .
if trying to set up a portrait studio , you should have 3 lights when possible- and take a look at the thread "studio photography runs wild" there are 2 other parts , but you will find a helpful enviorment there with some truly wonderful and funny people to help.
hope this will help you out a bit,
Debby


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9/29/2005 7:36:27 AM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Hi Lisa,
Congratulations on your purchase. Did you get the Chimera 24x32 Super Pro Plus?
Sorry you had a frustrating time with the speed ring.
It is quite possible that the new rig will be too heavy for your current light stand, and you may end up having to buy a larger, heavier stand to accomodate the head/softbox rig. If need be, I can set mine up with the Novatron stands, but they are too weak to really hold securely. The Novatron stands, which I presume you are using, are just not meant for this capacity. They are super duper lightweight stands.
Years ago, I decided to purchase two additional heavy duty light stands from Bogen - about $100 each. They have caster wheels on each leg, go up a gazillion feet, and are simply a pleasure to use. I mount one of my Novatron/softbox rigs on a boom, which is then mounted to the Bogen stand. This setup gives me a free wheeling softbox that can be placed anywhere I want it, and the heavy duty Bogen stand holds it firmly no matter where it is placed. The Novatron stands would not be able to do this.
I believe once you are over the frustrations involved with any new project like this, that you will settle in, and really enjoy your new lighting system. Please keep in contact with any issues that arise.
Michael H. Cothran


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9/29/2005 7:56:41 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  thanks guys for responding. Michael, I purchased the 36x48 Super Pro Plus..too big? I have a small in home studio and do the rest on location. It sounds like I need a better light stand...yes, the Novatron is really lightweight. I am unsure now how to set up for portraits. Do you use more than one softbox? Should I have maybe gotten two smaller ones? Or can I combine both softbox and umbrella, or merely a reflector? I will play with it a bit, but am really just looking for a way to start.
Thanks for offering help.

Lisa


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9/29/2005 8:28:29 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  HI Lisa!! To temporarily solve your top-heavy issue, try weighting down the legs with sandbags. If it's truly a safety issue (for you, your subject AND your equipment!) don't do it. But if it's just a little bit tippy(?) try sandbage on the back side, at least until you get your heavy-weight stands!

Frankly, now that you have that great diffused light, you can do anything you want! Reflect the light from the other side for a nice soft low-key portrait. Add another softbox, two, ten... Add another light bounced off of (or shot through) an umbrella. A backdrop light for depth...Like Debby said...it really matters what you are trying to accomplish.

Michael...I ENVY your free-wheeling softbox! What GREAT flexibility!!!


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9/29/2005 8:32:38 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  My biggest frustration of all is my LACK of space. I have such a small area to work in and such BIG ideas in my head of what I want to do. I have just worked on my logo, having the website worked on, but I am just not ready to go and get a space just yet...UGH. Thanks for the advice.


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9/29/2005 8:41:21 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  Lisa,
I never recommend that a some what new photographer invest in space for a studio. this is where so many fail- they dive in to a commitment like this before taking a year or so to develop a clientel.
Please try to hold off- I usually encourge people to get light systems that they can transport(if you need more lights-such as the ones I just listed on ebay, I travel with these:link on my gallery)
this way they can be mobile as they develop a name and clientel.
if your space is not large enough then shoot in thiers- I even have friends that rent storage space and use it as a studio.
just please concider waiting before such a commitment-
put your money into developing you company and more toys.


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9/29/2005 9:19:42 AM

 
Michael H. Cothran   Wow!, you went all out! The very first softbox I purchased was Chimera's 36x48 also. It is a humdinger, and should work really well, whether for an individual, or a small group. It is definitely too big for the Novatron light stand though. If you have solid floors, I would really suggest (whenever you can afford it) one or two heavy duty light stands with caster wheels. You'll be amazed at how much easier it is to move your lights around during the session. I'd also consider buying one or two moderate boom arms, perhaps something in the 6 foot range.
These are ideal getting the softboxes at heights and angles not possible on a straight vertical light stand. They provide ease and versatility for hair lights, rimlights, or just getting the light stand out of the way.
Concerning your question about beginning a setup, I still recommend what I originally said -
I'd use a large umbrella as a fill light (1-2 stops less than your shooting aperture), set up directly above the camera. Use the softbox as the main light. Its meter reading should be your shooting aperture.
For adults, I would MOVE the main light with each different pose so that it remains perpendicular to the facial plane, and always use short lighting, rather than broad lighting for the face. This I learned from the master, Monte Zucker.
The fill light should not be moved.
Keep in touch.
Michael


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9/29/2005 11:27:11 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  You guys are truly fabulous for sharing information that is really helpful to me. I learn so much from some people on here and it really does help my photos. Yes, Debbie, you make sense about holding off...it is that side of me that gets really excited and that I think I can do it all, that makes me want to go and get a space. So, point taken:)
Michael...if I get one of those stands, will it work in a room where the ceiling is no higher than 8'? Yes, I am laughing at how difficult it is for me to handle the large softbox on this lightweight stand..it's almost comical to watch me move it without it falling over. Now, on the umbrella that is above the camera, do I shoot through it or use it the traditional way? FABULOUS tips, I am printing these out:)
Lisa


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9/29/2005 5:53:06 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  hey Lisa,
here is a link where you will find some wonderful tripods.
I was Lucky enough to wotk with them so much that I bought myself a set- sounds a lot like what Micheal has-and he's right you'll love them and NEVER go back to working woth out wheels.

http://www.photogenicpro.com/store/index.asp?DEPARTMENT_ID=39

About the studio, Honey it's not that you can't do it now- it's just better to make sure you are really secure in clients-to loose money sours a novice business person (I learned so much with first couple business)
and before you start, look into your community and see if they have a "league of retired business men"
these are usually made up of people who are retired and had owned successful businesses with in your community for x amout of years.
they also tend to have members that are laywers, tax people, advisers.
I met with them alot(I bought a struggling business in palm springs,ca and with in 7 mos. it was making money again , after the first year it was on top of the community)they contributed sooo VERY much to the success of my business.
i do hope this helps,
Debby


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9/29/2005 6:09:06 PM

 
Michael H. Cothran   You should have no problems with 8' ceilings other than how high you can raise your lights. And this should not be an issue other than if you are photographing someone 6' tall standing up! Otherwise, the larger light stands, and even a boom arm, should have plenty of room.
Concerning the umbrella, I'd opt for one in the 36"-42" range, either white or silver (I'd probably go with white when using with your softbox). Use it in the conventional way. Place it above the camera, giving yourself room to work (this is a good place to have the boom arm, as it allows the light stand to be out of the way of you and your tripod).
Michael


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9/30/2005 5:30:10 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Michael...what is "the conventional way"? Bouncing light into it or shooting though it? I currently have black-backed white, a black-backed silver and a white umbrellas. I obviously bounce light off the black-backed with great results, and have tried the shoot-through method on the white, but have not been happy with the amount of light I get. Although, I've never tried putting it above the camera, either! I'll have to try that! When used that way...is it your only fill?


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9/30/2005 7:27:15 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Hi Debby and Michael. I am excited to try these tips and see where they go. I will definately need to look into this heavier stand. I don't need my softbox falling on a client!! haha. And, I do see why it is important to wait a bit to see the business end of it before committing to a site. That can take some of the fun out of it while I am still getting my feet wet!!! Do you think people have a problem coming to a studio that is in a home? I have it set up in one of my guest rooms, the bed and all has been removed an it is used just for that, it is small, but works for now.

thanks


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9/30/2005 9:31:02 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
Really Lisa,
I don't find that a problem-Laura what do you think??
Laura has been helping others get started also on the thread:
Studio Photography" (it's her" cooked husband")
and there are so many ways to get stsrted right in your own nighborhood.
holloween is comming -
find a little one that you can take some portraits of
and do one in halloween and then one in Christmas-
put both on a business card and tape to every piece of candy you are handing out.
This will help let people know there is a photographer in thier own nieghborhood and give them a example of your work.
hope this helps,
Debby


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9/30/2005 9:51:04 AM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  I have only seen people be impressed that I can get such great results working in my home. I haven't had a lot of clients, yet, as I JUST started out, but another BPer, Connie Turner, has a room her husband built in her garage! She has had the same reaction. She's been inundated with clients - largely referrals from people who were really impressed with her work. I was worried about that, and so was she. But it hasn't posed a problem so far!


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9/30/2005 10:57:35 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Ok, I got a much better heftier light stand and wow, a difference it made. I am hoping that all people care about is the final result, not that I am in a home studio. It looks professional, it is just cramped is all. I am just grateful for people on here that are willing to share tips and advice....even when I think "I've got it!", I can still use more and more info....THANK U!


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10/1/2005 8:57:25 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Ok Michael, did I understand correctly that the softbox, main light, should be placed perpendicular to the subject(s)? So off to the side? This would be new to me since I am so used to somewhere in the 45 degree range. Just checking and of course, I am always experimenting.

Lisa


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10/1/2005 9:29:49 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Hi Lisa,

I have to agree with Laura about having a home studio. I kept thinking why would someone want to go to my house for portraits when there are studios that are in an actual storefronts. Please rest assured that it isn't a matter of where you are located, it is the type of work that you produce. For me personally, I think I felt inferior to other photographers because I worked from my home. I thought I'd feel more like a professional if I had a storefront studio. In all honesty, it didn't matter one bit. Get your work out there for people to see do some freebies if you need to to get people talking about you and most of all be confident in your work.

One thing I find helpful is to utilize your wall space. If you have props, either get shelves for a wall and place your props there. Or, I've found that those big red utility hooks on the wall have worked wonders. The idea is to get the "stuff" out of your way. The more organized you can make your space, the less crowded you'll feel.

I love the idea of a lightstand on wheels. I am a notorious Do It Yourself-er. I have been wanting to build a wooden box that is left open on top, with utility wheels attached to the bottom. The sides will be about a foot high and the lightstand will fit inside. I can the place a sand bag within that and still have room for any other items I made need to store. I would also paint it black so that it matches the lightstand.

I'm still working on an idea for a boom stand. Until then though, I think I'm just going to swipe my husbands' boom stand from his microphone in his music studio.

Ultimately I would love to have a ceiling track system. Wouldn't it be wonderful not to have any lightstands in the way?


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10/2/2005 7:29:25 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Small spaces definately get those creative juices flowing on how to make it more organized, I think I am constantly changing my space. I still have this desire to have a wide open spaced room with ceiling tracks and a backdrop stand that holds multiple backdrops and speakers wired into the ceiling to have a little music flowing through the studio...I have people bring a favorite cd and believe it or not, they love doing that. Of course, little children wouldn't really have one, but it does make for a fun mood. But, until that time of bigger spaces, I will be working to make mine more efficient.


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10/2/2005 3:28:00 PM

 
Laura E. OConnor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/12/2005
  Lisa, your dream studio is mine, too! I'm being overrun by prop items already! They're flowing out into my dining room right now to get more space in my studio across the hall!

I also use music...mood music for whatever shoot I'm doing! I used classical for my recent maternity shoot, I'll use holiday music for holiday shoots and children's cd's for the kids, modern rock for teens, etc.. I play them on my computer's cd drive.


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10/2/2005 3:47:22 PM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  SHELVES HELP OUT EMENCLY- FOR SMALL CHAIRS AND STOOLS AND TOYS,
THOSE RACKS OF COLORED BINS FOR SMALL STUFF AND
THEN NAILS OR HOOKS FOR HATS, BOAS,
UNBELLAS CANES GLOVES ETC.
PUT A SMALL PIECE OF VELCROW ON YOUR GELS AND ON THE WALL TO HANG THEM.
AND ONE OF THOSE LANDRY HOOPS(LOOKS LIKE A BASKET BALL ONE ) FOR ALL YOUR BALLS .
HOPE THIS HELPS,


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10/2/2005 3:54:57 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  It does...I am curious and I am sure I can learn even more by asking. Have you calibrated your monitor? What system do you use if you have? Have you ever used whcc.com or prolabexpress.com???? I am debating on buying a monitor calibration system but they are pricey....ugh, what isn't?


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10/2/2005 5:46:14 PM

 
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