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Photography Question 
Christy D. Walker

Makeshift Portrait Studio for Church

Our church is less than a year old and we are creating a church directory on a limited budget. We are also allowing the members to purchase these at cost if they turn out well enough. My husband and I are novices and have limited equipment (Canon Digital Rebel XT with fairly low-end zoom lens added recently and we purchased a 10x20 muslin with stand for the event). We can take pretty decent pictures, but this is different. We don't want to deliver poor quality. Our biggest concern is lighting. We aren't sure waht to do for lighting and again we are on a limited budget. Any suggestions regarding lighting or anything else we should consider? We would really appreciate the help.

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6/24/2008 11:27:38 PM

Hi Christy,

your cheapest solution is of course daylight, with a large window (if possible facing north) as a large softbox, preferably augmented by a (D-I-Y) reflector or two for filling in shadows.
If you can't use daylight next best would be a flash gun – off-camera, on a tripod or such – with the same (D-I-Y) reflector(s).

Do trial runs before you set up to actually shoot the church members.

Have fun!

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6/25/2008 3:07:31 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Christy,

Assuming you have no lighting equipment and your makeshift studio is not illuminated via window light. Go to the hardware store and buy five 100 or better yet, 150 watt flood bulbs and porcelain socket pin-up fixtures. There are two types of floods, either will do. Outdoor floods type PAR or indoor floods type R. Additionally you could buy inexpensive pin-up fixtures, the ones with 10 inch aluminum reflectors, these accept ordinary lamps.

Bring extension cords and electrical outlet strips. Extension cords are to be the outdoor type with sufficient length to allow plugging-in, maybe, in a different room (another circuit as your work area may not support five powerful pin-up’s).. You will need a pole or other suitable support to clamp the pin-up on. A portable coat hanger stand works, so to doors but doors are not always well placed. You need three, one for the main, one for the fill, one for the kicker.

Place a chair or love-seat, four or five feet from a wall. Further is better. Think of this subject position as the center of a clock face.. The wall is covered with a light gray or better, a warm color. You can use paper or cloth. If possible, background should consist of swirls rather than the mundane. A light rust or rose applied like finger paint works.

Camera is placed at 6 O’clock position 8 feet from subject. Too close is the enemy, further is better, zoom to fill frame as you compose.

A flood is placed 5 1/2 feet from subject at 8 O’clock position. This is the main. It is placed high to simulating late afternoon sun.

A flood is placed near the camera at lens height. This is the fill. It is 8 feet from the subject.

A flood is placed behind the subject at about their waist height, adjusted to shine on the background.

A flood is placed behind and to the side of the subject 6 feet away from subject shining on shoulder. This is the kicker. It rims the shoulder and head and hair, it give separation subject-to-background.

This description will spark lots of controversy. Follow it on not. Likely others will give a more detailed and wiser - - - as to how to construct a makeshift studio.

Best of good fortune.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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6/25/2008 7:59:47 AM

Christy D. Walker   Thanks so much for the input guys! We really appreciate it! We will let you know how it goes!

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6/27/2008 10:45:09 AM

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