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07-04-2007, 08:46 PM   #1
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Lot of questions and a lot of things to talk about

Wow, finding this forum is like finding treasure. I finally found a place to ask and talk all that I want relating photography!

First off, I am still debating if I should convert one of the bedroom at home to a mini studio. Has anyone done this before? Can someone suggest on equipment? My current plan is just a simple back drop with 3 lights.. anything else? What are some of the major equipment that i will need?

Secondly, I have this idea that is stirring up. I am interested in doing more studio portrait shots, and I never really have any idea what i want to do, so here is a thought. Since I am a Japanese culture fanatics, I planned on bringing back a bunch of traditional Japanese clothing, like Kimono, Yukata, Hakama, Shiro-Maku, Uchikake, Shrine Miko kimono etc from Japan when I go on my trip in October

So my plan is to do a series in traditional clothing, what do you think? I will have to see if my studio setup is completed by then (and of course, it won't exist if the feedback is not to do it at all ) if not, I will rent a mini studio

If anyone else in Toronto also want to do this series let me know

Thanks
Godwine

07-05-2007, 02:09 AM   #2
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Good Morning Godwine, and welcome to the forum. I just did what you are thinking about doing. This is the kit I bought.
Impact VS300 3 Monolight Portrait Boom Kit (120V)
I also bought a Background stand and some background paper rolls.

The jury is still out on the quality. For the most part it seems OK for light duty.. THe radio triggers are typical of cheap units. The lag is such I can only sync at about 1/90th shutter speed and they don't always fire the flash heads. So far that is the biggest issue, so I am using a sync cord. I see a set of Pocket Wizards in my future.

Be aware, that once you start down this road you will quickly get a version of a desease we call LBA (Lens Buying Addiction) around here. In this case it is SEBA, or Studio Equipment Buying Addiction . All in all, I'm having a ball with mine.

Your idea of doing portraits with traditional Japanese clothing sounds like a very interesting project. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your shots.
07-05-2007, 05:08 AM   #3
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Ha, I knew I will get some help and answer on this forum! Thanks! and thanks for the link, I will look into this kit.

I was looking at some other cheap home kit on ebay. At this point, I still haven't decided yet what I will get, but you are right, i started going down the path of studio equipment addiction. As for the Lens. I think I am good for now with the 4 lenses I have, but I will probably be crazier when I do get the K10D

Thanks for the supporting message I will definitely post the pics up when and IF I do get the chance to do it. But thats only after I return from Japan

Thanks again!
Godwine
07-05-2007, 05:21 AM   #4
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Got another question.

I have done some portrait before, but I am more of a landscape and structural guy, so this new idea of doing a studio in control lighting is not something that i have any experience in...

What kind of lighting accessories should I be using for the purpose of portrait photography? Monolights? Strobe? Can someone educate me a bit on this?

Thanks
Godwine

07-05-2007, 12:39 PM   #5
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Hi Godwine. Glad you are enjoying yourself in this little corner of the internet. I do not know enough about lighting to answer any of your questions directly (someone here does I am sure), but here is a website that will probably be of interest to you. It has been mentioned on here before, and seems to be popular with many enthusiasts.

Strobist

Chris
07-05-2007, 06:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by godwine Quote
Got another question.

I have done some portrait before, but I am more of a landscape and structural guy, so this new idea of doing a studio in control lighting is not something that i have any experience in...

What kind of lighting accessories should I be using for the purpose of portrait photography? Monolights? Strobe? Can someone educate me a bit on this?

Thanks
Godwine
Well, I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll tell you what I've learned.

Basically, there is 2 types of studio lighting.
  1. Continuous lighting consists of either tungsten or fluorescent lights.
  2. Flash. Strobe units have a large central power supply and assorted heads plug into it. Monoblocs, also called Monolights are self contained flash units. They will usually have built in modeling lamps,and optical slaves. The output will be variable, allowing you to adjust lighting ratios.
For the amateur, like myself, I think the Monolights are the most flexible and convenient.

For accessories, you will definitely want umbrellas and at least one large soft box. Additionally, as you get more advanced you can look at Grids, reflectors, etc. Reflectors you can make your self out of foam core board. Invest in a good radio trigger system. Working with a sync cord is a pain in the A**. Cheap units aren't worth it IMHO. I've been very frustrated with the cheap unit that came with my kit. Pocket Wizards seem to be the units of choice.

Go to a book store and find some books on studio lighting techniques, preferably one that has diagrams of the lighting set up used to illustrate the book.

Well that about sums up what I've learned in the last few weeks. I hope it is of some help to you.
07-06-2007, 07:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by godwine Quote
Wow, finding this forum is like finding treasure. I finally found a place to ask and talk all that I want relating photography! First off, I am still debating if I should convert one of the bedroom at home to a mini studio. Has anyone done this before?

Of course. However, my bedroom studio slowly expanded over the years into two full floors of my home, financial investments in three commercial studios, and plans to finally move everything out of my home into a larger location.


QuoteQuote:
Can someone suggest on equipment? My current plan is just a simple back drop with 3 lights.. anything else? What are some of the major equipment that i will need?

Over the years, I've owned a number of different lighting setups for studio photography. This included a Speedotron setup consisting of four 600ws power supplies with various heads (2400ws total), a Balcar monobloc/monolight setup (three 1500ws, 4500ws total), a White Lightning monolight setup (three 600ws, 1800ws total), several portable setups made up of multiple on-camera flash units, and several tungsten light setups.

Today, for my own use, I've simplified all that down to Smith-Victor setups consisting of three modified Q80 tungsten floods (have several setups so I don't have to tote them around the house). I've found these three lights can handle nearly every situation I'm interested in photographing. When lighting people (portrait or model), two floods are bounced into 42-inch white umbrellas with the third perhaps used for an accent or hair light. With macro or product shots, one, two, or three are used with and without diffusers (though I often use portable strobes for most macro shots and some product shots).

I selected the Q80 floods because they include the popular GZ/GY-9.5 socket (2-pin pre-focus), meaning lamps can be easily found anywhere in the world. There are DYS, DYH, and EKB series lamps for 110-130 volt use and DYR and JCD series lamps for 220-240 volt use. These common 3200k lamps can be found with lifespans ranging from 75 to over 1500 hours. My choice is the GE Showbiz Quartzline Halogen lamps (M40, 500w, 230v), designed for movie or stage, because of their long life (2000 hrs) and consistent color.

Of course, these three Smith-Victor Q80 lights obviously can't handle everything. For example, they can't cover an entire automobile as the Speedotron and Balcar setups did. But most things can be photographed with only minor effort, such as noting to use faster shutter speeds with moving models.

This brings us to the issue of heat. When photographing models in a studio (which I rarely do today since I now prefer locations), I've seldom found too much heat to be a problem (especially if the model is wearing little clothing - bathing suits, etc). A simple fan is usually enough when the room gets too warm. For everything else (macro, etc), I only have to worry about my own comfort. Of course, heat might be more of an issue in warmer climates. However, in those situations, even the weakest air conditioning system should be able to handle any extra heat.

That just about covers everything. Hope it helps.

stewart
07-06-2007, 07:44 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. It will take some time for me to digest all the knowledge, but it definitely helped a lot. Thanks!

Godwine

07-06-2007, 09:51 AM   #9
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you biggest challenge might be the room size. how big is it?
I took a portrait course and she suggested that the subject be around 3 feet from the background (so you don't get a big shadow on the background paper) and have your main light around 6 feet in front of the subject.
I don't know if this is a guideline or her preferences, though

cheers and good luck

randy
07-06-2007, 09:55 PM   #10
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thanks, thats a helpful hint.. and the measurement does make sese, though i have a bigger problem, i have a 77mm portrait (just ordered it, waiting... ), for me to be close enough without interfering the light, I wil have to be standing quite far from the subject, since the subject is 6 feet away from the light..

hmmmmm
07-07-2007, 07:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Good Morning Godwine, and welcome to the forum. I just did what you are thinking about doing. This is the kit I bought.
Impact VS300 3 Monolight Portrait Boom Kit (120V)
I also bought a Background stand and some background paper rolls.

The jury is still out on the quality. For the most part it seems OK for light duty.. THe radio triggers are typical of cheap units. The lag is such I can only sync at about 1/90th shutter speed and they don't always fire the flash heads. So far that is the biggest issue, so I am using a sync cord. I see a set of Pocket Wizards in my future.

Be aware, that once you start down this road you will quickly get a version of a desease we call LBA (Lens Buying Addiction) around here. In this case it is SEBA, or Studio Equipment Buying Addiction . All in all, I'm having a ball with mine.

Your idea of doing portraits with traditional Japanese clothing sounds like a very interesting project. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your shots.
Even if the radio transmitters suck, it still seems like a great deal to me for light studio work. thanks for the link, if I ever have the $ I would give this one serious though, depending on shipping costs

cheers

randy
07-08-2007, 05:57 AM   #12
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Hi Randy,
If it is any help, I think the shipping cost for the whole thing was about US$70.00 from NY to Virginia.
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