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04-02-2017, 03:02 AM   #1
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Beginner looking for budget studio lighting solutions to create flatlays

Hey - everyone I am posting here as I am a beginner...please let me know if I should post in the lighting thread.

I am wanting to start doing flat lays. I have no idea about lighting - so many of the blogs I have read have suggested setting up in front of a window. This is not possible for me for many boring reasons I won't go into. I do have access to a room I can pretty much block all natural light from....so I am thinking I need to spend at least some money on lights...

I obviously want to achieve bright, natural looking light with minimal shadows. Can anyone point me in the direction of a blog post or online article which will step me through the kind of lights I need to buy and how to arrange the lights and of course how to reduce shadows?

I know how to build a light box but I am wanting to work on a larger scale....Any ideas? I do already have three work/flood lights- without stands.....2 are 250 watt and the other is 150 watt......

Anyway hoping someone can point me in the right direction or give me some tips...

04-02-2017, 05:07 AM   #2
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You'll finds lots of examples and inexpensive to a bit higher end solutions here. I love Pinterest

10+ images about Flat Lay Studio Set Up on Pinterest | Instagram, Bionda castana and Monday morning
04-02-2017, 06:16 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I highly recommend the Flashpoint Monolights from adorama. I bought one and loved it so much that I bought another. You can trigger them with the flash on your camera. I point my flash at the back wall and it triggers the monolights every time. For a backdrop check the classifieds or eBay. I bought a 10x24 foot backdrop for $30+ shipping and it was basically brand new. I purchased my light stands used from keh camera. I found a large package deal of umbrellas and reflectors on eBay as well for $60. Look around and you'll be surprised at what you can find.


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04-02-2017, 09:50 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yas_min Quote
Anyway hoping someone can point me in the right direction or give me some tips.
What is your budget? How big of an area are you going to cover (feet X feet). The answer to these questions would help to narrow down the options.

04-02-2017, 10:20 AM   #5
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Godox Units are pretty cheap. I think Adorama rebrands them in US.

If you are looking something more portable, like speelights, have a look at Yongnuo & Godox as well.
04-03-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
You'll finds lots of examples and inexpensive to a bit higher end solutions here. I love Pinterest

10+ images about Flat Lay Studio Set Up on Pinterest | Instagram, Bionda castana and Monday morning
Hi there thanks for the reply I can't seem to find anything about lighting by following the link. I can see some pins about how to set out flat lays but. Pintrest and I never get along I have no idea why but I find it a really frustrating platform. Thanks anyway.....

---------- Post added 04-04-17 at 01:21 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
What is your budget? How big of an area are you going to cover (feet X feet). The answer to these questions would help to narrow down the options.
Hey thanks for the reply btnapa - I think the biggest I can go in my space is around 5 feet x 5 feet and budget is basically no existent...I am hoping to get lighting for under $50 but I have no idea if that is possible...so maybe under $100...thank again
04-03-2017, 09:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by yas_min Quote
so maybe under $100...thank again
In that case you have to build your own softbox. I bought a SnapOn LED light from COSTCO and I am using it for some of my setups. They are I think about $25. You can get two of them and use it with a homebuilt softbox or cheapo umbrellas to get the job done. Colors are funky but if you do custom white balance you can nail the colors. The only problem with these lights is that it is hard to mix them with other lights because of the color of the lights. One of the main advantages is that they run really cool because of being LEDs.
04-03-2017, 09:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
In that case you have to build your own softbox. I bought a SnapOn LED light from COSTCO and I am using it for some of my setups. They are I think about $25. You can get two of them and use it with a homebuilt softbox or cheapo umbrellas to get the job done. Colors are funky but if you do custom white balance you can nail the colors. The only problem with these lights is that it is hard to mix them with other lights because of the color of the lights. One of the main advantages is that they run really cool because of being LEDs.
Thanks I might have to try this- I do have access to some LEDs - they aren't mine but I should be able to get them and have a play around and see if they work for me....thanks again

04-03-2017, 10:30 PM - 1 Like   #9
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One learns something every day. I'd never heard of "flat lays" and had to Google it.
04-04-2017, 03:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by yas_min Quote
Hi there thanks for the reply I can't seem to find anything about lighting by following the link. I can see some pins about how to set out flat lays but. Pintrest and I never get along I have no idea why but I find it a really frustrating platform. Thanks anyway.....

---------- Post added 04-04-17 at 01:21 PM ----------



Hey thanks for the reply btnapa - I think the biggest I can go in my space is around 5 feet x 5 feet and budget is basically no existent...I am hoping to get lighting for under $50 but I have no idea if that is possible...so maybe under $100...thank again
Budget really tight? There's a solution: Take it outdoors! Early in the day outside when it's generally calm and a bit cloudy or overcast is a plus. If the light isn't quite as you like it just fix in post. It's easy.

Quoted from another site:

"The best light is a soft, overhead light that’s bright enough to illuminate your image, but doesn’t blow out lighter colors. Avoid the urge to use a high-powered lamp to brighten the image; as long as you have enough light, you can raise the saturation afterward, when editing. A good tactic is simply to go outside, preferably in the morning, before the sun comes out in full force. The ideal weather conditions are a cloudy, overcast day, since you’ll get more neutral, balanced light."

And from another:
Lighting can mean the difference between a gray, blurry mess and a bright wonder-thing of a 'gram. But you don't need fancy studio lights to make it happen: "The best lighting to use in pictures of beauty products is [a] natural one ...directly on the street," says Lourenšo. "I [also] usually shoot in the morning because the early daylight is cooler and makes a better contrast between the objects and the background."
...If shadows are a huge issue in your photos, shoot on a cloudy day. The type of light emitted in that environment helps diffuse shadows and create fewer of them, says Lourenšo.

In a nutshell, you don't need much lighting if forced indoors. Post-processing fixes are eazy-peezy. Outdoor is ideal when the weather cooperates. So a $50 budget is no problem at all. Post up some of your pics when you have them.

Last edited by gatorguy; 04-04-2017 at 03:25 AM.
04-04-2017, 09:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
Budget really tight? There's a solution: Take it outdoors! Early in the day outside when it's generally calm and a bit cloudy or overcast is a plus. If the light isn't quite as you like it just fix in post. It's easy.

Quoted from another site:

"The best light is a soft, overhead light that’s bright enough to illuminate your image, but doesn’t blow out lighter colors. Avoid the urge to use a high-powered lamp to brighten the image; as long as you have enough light, you can raise the saturation afterward, when editing. A good tactic is simply to go outside, preferably in the morning, before the sun comes out in full force. The ideal weather conditions are a cloudy, overcast day, since you’ll get more neutral, balanced light."

And from another:
Lighting can mean the difference between a gray, blurry mess and a bright wonder-thing of a 'gram. But you don't need fancy studio lights to make it happen: "The best lighting to use in pictures of beauty products is [a] natural one ...directly on the street," says Lourenšo. "I [also] usually shoot in the morning because the early daylight is cooler and makes a better contrast between the objects and the background."
...If shadows are a huge issue in your photos, shoot on a cloudy day. The type of light emitted in that environment helps diffuse shadows and create fewer of them, says Lourenšo.

In a nutshell, you don't need much lighting if forced indoors. Post-processing fixes are eazy-peezy. Outdoor is ideal when the weather cooperates. So a $50 budget is no problem at all. Post up some of your pics when you have them.
Thanks again - I should have said that outdoors is also not an option for me....I live in the city and do not have access to an outdoor space. I have a busy alleyway which i could not set up on and I also have a the footpath (sidewalk if you are from the US). I could go to the park nearby but literally getting all of the props there would be a nightmare- I live in the city so do not have a car, so have no idea how I would actually carry everything to the park.

I really need to make indoor lighting work plus then I can shoot after hours and I also want to be able to give my pictures a consistent look without having to do too much post-processing work.

Basically I want a set up I can walk into any time of the day or throw down my props and get a consistent image every single time.....thanks though
04-05-2017, 08:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Bounce one of these off your ceiling YN 560 III . You'll need $15 of decent rechargeable batteries and unless you have a PC Sync cord, one of these triggers . Looks like this, I use it for eBay when I sell retired gear
Thanks I will have a look
04-06-2017, 05:30 AM - 1 Like   #13
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A bucket of white paint and slap it on the walls and ceiling of a room. Aim your worklights at the walls and ceiling for the largest, softest light source you can manage. You'd want to be sure the lights have the same colour temperature, so you might be best using just your two 250 watt ones, assuming they are the same model. Get a grey card to do a white balance (a colour calibration chart would be ideal, but more $$$). Use a tripod and an ir remote + timer for the exposure.

If painting a room isn't an option, you can also make a giant light tent using cheap, semi-translucent white bath curtains hung from your ceiling. We're talking dollar store quality, so use double layers as diffusion material if necessary. Again, take the time to set up a good white balance and keep your light temperatures the same. Cheap options like this can be tough to work with for colour temperatures, but with consistency you can do ok with a low budget.
04-06-2017, 07:04 PM - 1 Like   #14
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This is a photo I just took with my K-3 for an eBay auction. I used two Flashpoint 320M monolights bounced off of the ceiling along with my Metz 64AF-1 flash. The sculptures are sitting on a piece of foam board I bought at a craft store. This is the same kind of inexpensive foam you see being used for signs or displays. Before I got the monolights I used to just bounce the flash off of the ceiling. It worked but I still had to fight shadows once in a while. The monolights eliminate most if not all of the harsh shadows and give an infinite depth look to the image.

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04-08-2017, 04:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Obin Robinson Quote
This is a photo I just took with my K-3 for an eBay auction. I used two Flashpoint 320M monolights bounced off of the ceiling along with my Metz 64AF-1 flash. The sculptures are sitting on a piece of foam board I bought at a craft store. This is the same kind of inexpensive foam you see being used for signs or displays. Before I got the monolights I used to just bounce the flash off of the ceiling. It worked but I still had to fight shadows once in a while. The monolights eliminate most if not all of the harsh shadows and give an infinite depth look to the image.

obin
Wow that looks pretty much perfect to me - if I could work out how to get the background white I would be beyond happy! Thanks so much for showing me this pic...time to look a bit further into the monolights. Thanks again

---------- Post added 04-08-17 at 09:17 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
A bucket of white paint and slap it on the walls and ceiling of a room. Aim your worklights at the walls and ceiling for the largest, softest light source you can manage. You'd want to be sure the lights have the same colour temperature, so you might be best using just your two 250 watt ones, assuming they are the same model. Get a grey card to do a white balance (a colour calibration chart would be ideal, but more $$$). Use a tripod and an ir remote + timer for the exposure.

If painting a room isn't an option, you can also make a giant light tent using cheap, semi-translucent white bath curtains hung from your ceiling. We're talking dollar store quality, so use double layers as diffusion material if necessary. Again, take the time to set up a good white balance and keep your light temperatures the same. Cheap options like this can be tough to work with for colour temperatures, but with consistency you can do ok with a low budget.
Thanks so much for this response this was kind of tip I was hoping to hear!!!

The walls are already white - so that step is already taken care of. Both worklights are the same brand so that is taken care of too, I also have a tripod - so this should be achievable. Thanks so much I think you have just given me enough info to get started on my very limited budget!
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