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01-06-2011, 11:53 AM   #1
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Studio lighting for a small area-easy to store

I have seen many studio setups using soft boxes. I do ad magazine photography in my small den but never have solved the problem of effective lighting that is easy to store, and relatively inexpensive.
My need is to light a table top that has an arrangement of packaging items, boxes, fancy shopping bags,etc. I'll attach a photo to illustrate the kind of photography I typically do. I have room for a table top that is 5 feet long by 4 feet deep. My background needs to be 4 feet in height.
My den size (available space limited by my den furniture) is: Back wall to windows 11 feet. Side to side 8 feet. So the soft boxes would have to be workable in this kind of of space. I will need suggestions of lighting to go with suggested soft boxes of a kind that will not create hard shadows and reflections, due to the many angles created in my setups. Flourescents would
seem good for this purpose and also are low in wattage and heat.
I definitely do not want to scimp on the light.
Also, suggestions on color of backgrounds to use would be welcome. I OFTEN silhouette my shots in photoshop so maybe some neutral background colors can be suggested. Appreciate any suggestions from all. Thanks, Freddy

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01-07-2011, 04:34 AM   #2
Ira
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I would screw some plant hangers (those little hooks) in the ceiling, add some decorative hanger chain, and hang some overhead units that are scrimmed, as your main light down onto the tabletop. You then just unhook the planter chains and put the lamps in a closet.

The chains also allow you to easily adjust lamp-to-subject (ceiling-to-tabletop) distance.
01-07-2011, 05:51 AM   #3
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Ira, that's a really exciting idea. Then I could use some small fill lights in front, where needed.
I can't hang the hooks because of the ceiling fan but I can extend a removable bracket
out from the top of my tall entertainment unit. Won't take any space and easy
to dismantle. Would also be easy to adjust the height of the lamps. Have you been succesful with this setup. Freddy P.S. what does scrimmed mean.
01-07-2011, 05:59 AM   #4
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Ira, I just found this interesting "how-to" on the following website that may
be interesting for future reference. Freddy Beach Portrait

01-07-2011, 07:41 AM   #5
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Have you considered a tent arrangement, by the way? You could basically put your 'soft-box' over the subject, that way: using some appropriate bedsheet-sized fabric, and hang *that* from your ceiling or bracket, setting up the lighting as you will.

For what you describe, I'd be thinking a fairly large one, just use the size of your desk/table, and erect some kind of structure to keep it out of the way: if you're making your own table out of whatever, you could just drill holes about the corners wherever and insert dowels.

You could maybe bend a couple of actual tent poles of the collapsey kind, or something similar: drape some appropriate fabric over that, and have something free-standing, then all you have to do is light it. With, perhaps, something like Ira's ceiling chains.
01-07-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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Hey, guys, I had these two intravenous poles that are very sturdy and
have a 5/8" tip (when you take off the pincer like projection). See picture:
I can easily move the pole up or down by sliding the wheels where they're resting, up the back wall. Not only that but Adorama has a 16" sillver reflector
with 5 cfl bulbs for total of about 750 watts (without stands). And each bulb has a switch
so you can select as many bulbs as you want.
Only $80. each for total 1500 watts for $160. I can also buy a couple of $8. cloth diffusers
from Adorama that fit over the reflector. So now I have plenty of light and
room on the floor if I want to add some fill light from the front. I have extra stands for that. What do you all think. 54 Freddy
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01-07-2011, 07:46 AM   #7
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Thanks, Ratmagic. That's another really good idea, and a workable one.
Freddy
01-07-2011, 08:36 AM   #8
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Hey Freddy, I just sent you a PM on this subject.

01-07-2011, 09:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Have you considered a tent arrangement, by the way? You could basically put your 'soft-box' over the subject, that way: using some appropriate bedsheet-sized fabric, and hang *that* from your ceiling or bracket, setting up the lighting as you will.

For what you describe, I'd be thinking a fairly large one, just use the size of your desk/table, and erect some kind of structure to keep it out of the way: if you're making your own table out of whatever, you could just drill holes about the corners wherever and insert dowels.

You could maybe bend a couple of actual tent poles of the collapsey kind, or something similar: drape some appropriate fabric over that, and have something free-standing, then all you have to do is light it. With, perhaps, something like Ira's ceiling chains.
+1 - good idea!
01-07-2011, 09:17 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I had a set-up like this when I was younger. (In Canarsie!)

Basically, I had about 12 of these hooks installed, and used two huge fluorescent fixtures that each held four 4' bulbs. Depending on the shoot, I could adjust the length of the chains on one side to aim the light the way I wanted, if I didn't want it coming directly from above. Or I used both fixtures in various ways. Plus some bounce cards,

Same concept I'm telling you, but different lamps.

It's hard to explain how much floor space you'll save like this, and the flexibility is remarkable. Add CHEAP to the equation and it's a good way to go. Basically, this is how TV and film studios do their lighting--everything is on bars or tracks hanging from the ceiling that can be slid and raised and lowered.

By the way:

This method also works great for growing pot, which is how I first learned about it.

And a postscript:

Your intravenous pole freaks me out.
01-07-2011, 10:23 AM   #11
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Thanks, Ed. Your PM was very helpful. I also enjoyed your shots in PPG.
You have a lot of talent, there, pal.
Ira, glad you got a kick out of the intravenous poles. I finally thought of something clever! Appreciate all your advice. Freddy
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