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Photography Question 
Hasnain Akhtar 

How to setup your own studio

Hi All

I have recently just become a father and wanted to take really good picture of my child. I therefore wanted to setup a personal studio in my house to take pictures of him.

Firstly I wanted to know what I would need for this i.e. all the equipment as I am a beginner and second if you could recommend something that would be sufficient for this and wouldn't cost alot of money. As you know having a new addition to the family has its own costs.


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3/22/2004 4:40:19 AM

Michael Pomerance   I was in the same spot about a year ago and was looking for a low cost setup I could use to take good quality pictures.

1st - You need space to take your pictures. I move my car and junk out of the way and use the garage. It is cool and dark which allows for good photos since there isn't much extra light bouncing around.

2nd - You need to make some backdrops. This site has awesome suggestions for making muslins. A 9x15 foot muslin will cost you about $20 at a fabric store, use 2 bottles of Dye per muslin and go for it. I like the mottled look at tie dye and the pictures come out great. Also use a black sheet for a black backdrop - very inexpensive.

3rd - You need to hang the backdrops. You could either use a portable stand )if you pan to move the studio around) and B & H Photo has some great options for about $100 or you can build one. I took a metal pole (12 feet long) which was bought at home depot for $15 and I found it in the closet area. I went to the hardware section and bought closeline hooks (7 to 10" long with a open hook). I attached a dry wall anchor (the kind that you push into the ceiling and it springs open) and hung the hooks. I then placed the pole in the hooks and you have a background hanging system. You will need to get a shower curtain hangers for the muslin and to avoid ripping the fabric, get your self a grommet maker (back at fabric store). The whole setup including the shower curtain hangers is about $30.

4th - You need lights. I bought a pocket bouncer for my flash which softens the flash as well as a cheap lighting kit from B&H. The kit was $200 but same with 3 light stands, 3 bulbs and bulb holders (250W and 2 500W, umbrellas, holders, a boom extension and a case. It is made by impact (KT900 1250 watt kit). I also bought a softbox like thing called the softlighter II 60" for $75 which makes very nice light.

Last - The setup - hang the muslins 9' wide by 15' long so you cvan have the m,uslin flow underneath the subject. Great for pet shots and shots on the ground. Get a stool for sitting poses. Use one 500W light with softlighter as main light. Use 2nd 500W as second light with umbrella and use 3rd 250W light as backdrop/hair lighter for your subject. Add on your pocketbouncer, and you are ready for great photos.

I use Portra 400 and 160 NC for my shots and would reccomend you buy a Soft Fx 3 filter for your camera. It removes fine lines on your model (my wife loves it) as well as softens the picture a little more.

Hope this helps.

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5/8/2004 8:26:53 AM

Melva Garcia   I have also just purchased Smith Victor Imageing withlight kit.. 300 dollars..
I also just purchased a new 6.1 digital camera to use in place of my slr camera.

But the kit does not give you to much info on how to set this equipment up .. as far as how far from the subject you are shooting.

I have been working on a family history book for years.. and now am ready to start taking family photos.. for this I have had my third garage turned into an office.. and set it up to work from.. I have already done the back drops only I ran a curtain rod accross the closet that pulls to one side when not in use..

I also put eyelets into fabric that attaches to base curtain and can be rolled up and held with ribbon when not using that color back drop.

can you help me with the layout of the lighting lamps?


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8/22/2004 5:39:54 PM

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