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Photography Question 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005

Ideal Home Studio Size

I'm looking at building a studio upstairs, (which is going to be costly!) We're currently playing around with room sizes and 4m x 4m seems to be about what we can squeeze for a studio. Is this going to be too small - I'm hoping to pick up a lot of baby/toddler/family work, with an infinity wall/backdrops etc. My 30D is not full frame, although my lenses are L, so I know I'll be losing some depth, but will it be a waste of money at this size?

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3/6/2007 3:02:57 AM

W.    With the constraints you describe you may need something else VERY soon, Robyn. So it sounds like planned obsolescence to me.
Imo better build in some flexibility.

That's why I have a "portable studio". It basically consists of 3x wireless 5600HS D flashguns on their own tripods (2 battery sets per), triggered by the pop-up flash on my camera (set to 'wireless' = IR), a 3' and a 4' silver/white Lastolite reflector. This provides plenty 'oomph', I can bounce and fake 'softboxes' and balance shadows, and endlessly vary combinations. And the whole schpiel fits a medium- sized suitcase, so it's perfect for locationwork and stores under a bed.

A seeming downside is that you have no modelling lights. But, hey!, this is the digital age, so you simply do a test shot with the real light output, you chimp - on a laptop for a good view - and adjust if neccessary!

Indoors I shoot live subjects often with unsupported camera, because flash freezes movement anyway, and it enables me to move around freely, direct the scene, try different angles and viewpoints, or adjust the lighting.

This set also provides TWO backup flashguns for my 'primary' flashgun.

The combination of versatility, portability and power means that I use this setup often.

I now have 2 more 5600HS D's (and a spare tripod) for even more versatility and flexibility (backlighting and/or background lights).

Works like a charm.

Have fun!

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3/6/2007 3:59:57 AM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  Thanks, thats what's worrying me - that it'll be too small in a short while. The lighting set up you have sounds great - we have a lighting kit on sale in SA which fits into a zip up case - and is fairly portable, but I'm not sure about the strength etc. It just sounds like a hell of a lot to schlepp around?! When you talk about battery sets - are these ones that plug into electricity points? Thanks for your comments - I think I need to get back to the drawing board!!

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3/6/2007 4:20:49 AM

The battery sets are rechargeable AA's. And I use two (x8 batteries) express chargers to charge 4 sets within an hour.
I used to use NiMH batteries, but had too many failures, requiring replacing the complete sets. Also the NiMH's charge decreases gradually, taking more and more time to recharge before being able to flash again. So, since a couple months, I use hybrid batteries. These retain a constant recharge/output rate. The downside is that they suddenly stop working when they get exhausted. Not gradually. That's why I always have spare charged sets around.

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3/6/2007 4:36:07 AM

Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  Hi Robyn!!!

I just got my studio completed (lucky me, my parents paid for it all!!!!) and I'm trying to think of what size it is.... ok 3 feet = 1 meter so you're looking at 12' x 12' for your space?

I just called my dad- my room is 10 feet wide and about 16 feet long. I wouldn't go much smaller in my opinion to be honest :( On my last test shots, I was using about 14 feet of the room, but I figured out that I really should back up even more because the subjects are not far enough off the backdrop.

My light set is also "portable", comes with a handy bag on wheels & everything but there is NO WAY I'd ever take it anywhere!!!! It's a lot of work to put up & tear down and LUG around. Ugh, not for me.

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3/6/2007 9:33:41 AM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/15/2005
  You lucky girl Denyse! I also agree, it sounds like a lot of work, and I don't have an assistant - but I do agree with the batteries - the re-charges are not hugely reliable/long lasting. Thanks all - I think I need to look at making the room longer - maybe not wider, but certainly longer!

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3/6/2007 12:36:07 PM

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