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07-11-2022, 10:21 AM   #1
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Suggestions for controlling dust in studio?

Does anyone have some suggestion for controlling the dust in your home studios? Specifically, when shooting on a mirrored surface?

I vacuum my floors and even take a spray bottle of, gently shoot above and around my shooting table to help knock the dust to the floor, But I found that no matter what, when I shoot on a mirrored surface I cannot control the dust, it always wants to cling to the mirrored surface. the only solution I have found was to spend time in PS and remove the dust from the photo. It's time consuming and a major pain in the backside.

Anyone?

07-11-2022, 10:29 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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You could consider an air filter, or a corsi-rosenthal box. Hepa is probably not necessary for your purpose.

Another thing I know is that humidity "knocks down" dust, and I've used that principle whenever I apply protective screen covers to phones or the like (in the bathroom with a hot tap running for a few minutes to steam things up). I'm not sure how far it would be wise to take that idea, given the electronic equipment and valuable optics involved, but a reasonable change there might pay some dividends, especially if your studio is currently extremely dry.

The last idea I have is eliminating sources of dust, like fabric and books. Some kind of sally-port / decontamination room / mudroom setup for entering the space might also help prevent tracking it in.

Just ideas, not speaking from a lot of personal experience solving that problem.
07-11-2022, 10:48 AM - 1 Like   #3
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At work, we use cleanroom stuff from ULINE. They have sticky mats that help get rid of stuff tracked in: ULINE - Shipping Boxes, Shipping Supplies, Packaging Materials, Packing Supplies
Changing the furnace filter more often does help. Plus as @wadge22 suggested separate entry space. I don't have room for it, and it kind drives me nuts when doing product shots. I have a compressed air setup that I use for cleaning the surfaces, and a microfibre cloth too. I use nylon or cotton gloves as sometimes I'm the source of dust./dry skin/hair when doing macro work.

I've also found a Weller WSA350 smoke absorber fan with carbon filter can get rid of some stuff, or at least pulls dust it's way.
Anybody got other ideas?
07-11-2022, 11:13 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Humidity, sticky pads, remove dust sources, filter air, positive air pressure to push dusty air away from entrance points… and still post processing may be needed. Keep a dust off can nearby and blow off the surface between shots.

07-11-2022, 11:19 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by spiralcity Quote
I vacuum my floors
After vacuum cleaning, the density of dust is less on the floor and more in the air.

QuoteOriginally posted by spiralcity Quote
spray bottle of, gently shoot above and around my shooting table to help knock the dust to the floor
That won't work, water drops are too large and far between to catch all the fine particles floating in the air.

QuoteOriginally posted by spiralcity Quote
Anyone?
The smaller the volume of air, the better the control of dust. Dust particles move with air flow or fall slowly by gravity on flat horizontal surfaces.
- clean mirror surface before the shooting session
- installing a roof over the mirror will significantly reduce the amount of dust falling on the mirror surface
- turn the mirror surface setup vertical so that dust won't fall on the surface
07-11-2022, 11:28 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I doubt without vast expense you'll ever eradicate dust, so how about a fan blowing across the mirror surface? Depends on your subject of course as to whether this would introduce movement that would show in the shots.

Last edited by JohnX; 07-11-2022 at 12:59 PM.
07-11-2022, 01:09 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Along with some of the previous suggestions, put the mirror on an anti static mat. I use one of these when scanning negatives and cleaning lenses. StarTech.com Anti-Static Mat

07-11-2022, 02:17 PM - 1 Like   #8
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If you have room, construct a plastic shroud (can be just a small hot-house type arrangement). You can set up a shooting area in that bubble and attach a filtered air blower to the inlet of that area. You'll have an almost clean-room environment to work in, other than dust you bring into the area on objects and your clothes (and you won't need a HEPA filter which would be used for a real cleanroom). Plastic is a good barrier, and as long as the inside is higher pressure than the outside (using filtered air to pressurize the bubble), dust won't migrate in and any dust in the area will tend to go outwards with the air flow (through leaks, entry ways, etc). Similar arrangements are used when small clean areas are needed, and for some bacterial applications, only a filtered blown-air arrangement is used over the area that needs to be dust and contaminant free (but that covers only a small area so may not work for your case).

Last edited by Bob 256; 07-11-2022 at 07:49 PM.
07-11-2022, 07:48 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Winix 5300-2 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier with PlasmaWave® Technology - Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave® Technology - Cover 360sq. ft.
07-11-2022, 09:34 PM   #10
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Thanks for some great ideas. I think a combination of a couple of these ideas may help me greatly. The anti-static pad and constructing a corsi box may be a good beginning. If I am not satisfied with the results, I guess a Hepa wouldn't hurt.
07-11-2022, 11:53 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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We have two Winix HEPA filters in our house. They've cut down on the amount of dust, but nothing is perfect. Still, I feel the air quality has improved. They have worked well for a couple years - quiet and trouble-free.

And that reminds me, it's time to change the charcoal filters again.
07-12-2022, 04:13 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Seems for me, the issue might be your vacuum cleaner. We have one with a 99,98% filter built in and there is no visible dust on any surface after using it.
07-12-2022, 05:54 AM   #13
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I use a smart air purifier with HEPA 13 filter and UV lamp. No dust, no fungus, no bacteria.
07-12-2022, 07:43 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessorBuzz Quote
At work, we use cleanroom stuff from ULINE. They have sticky mats that help get rid of stuff tracked in: ULINE - Shipping Boxes, Shipping Supplies, Packaging Materials, Packing Supplies
Changing the furnace filter more often does help. Plus as @wadge22 suggested separate entry space. I don't have room for it, and it kind drives me nuts when doing product shots. I have a compressed air setup that I use for cleaning the surfaces, and a microfibre cloth too. I use nylon or cotton gloves as sometimes I'm the source of dust./dry skin/hair when doing macro work.

I've also found a Weller WSA350 smoke absorber fan with carbon filter can get rid of some stuff, or at least pulls dust it's way.
Anybody got other ideas?
Be careful with furnace filters. The temptation, when attempting dust control, is to put a higher MERV rated filter into the return. Depending on what type of furnace you have, you can damage the furnace with too dense a filter.
If you are running a plain jane furnace (mid efficiency or lower) you can pretty much put whatever you like in the slot, but if you are running a high efficiency, a MERV 11 is about as high as you want to go. The reason for this is these furnaces move a lot more air than older ones and the denser filter can cause cavitation between it and the air pump causing the furnace to shut down, and even if it doesn't cause that, it can damage the fan bearings.
A better solution is to get your HVAC ducts cleaned regularly and put a filter on the HVAC inlets to the studio room only. You will lose some air circulation to that room, but you won't be harming your furnace.
To keep dust down, humidity is your friend.
I also saw a youtube video where a guy had built a room dust filter using a 20" box fan and furnace filters attached to it making a 20x20x20 inch box with the fan as one side.
Disclosure: I sell this stuff for a living.
07-12-2022, 07:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
After vacuum cleaning, the density of dust is less on the floor and more in the air.
That depends on the vacuum cleaner. In North America, central vacuum cleaners that exhaust outdoors are very common. Fine dust is shot outside, larger stuff is caught in the machine.
Portable vacuum cleaners are pretty useless for fine dust, but central vacs are quite good at removing it.
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