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Thread: studio photography

  1. #1

    Default studio photography

    Hello all,

    i would like to explore the realms of studio photography...and i was wondering what type of studio equipment i should buy...like lights and such...

    i am planning to do portrait or fashion photography...

    uh.....and yea..the studio equipment should be cheap and cheerful....i don't wanna burn a hole in my pocket


    thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: studio photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yihang View Post
    Hello all,

    i would like to explore the realms of studio photography...and i was wondering what type of studio equipment i should buy...like lights and such...

    i am planning to do portrait or fashion photography...

    uh.....and yea..the studio equipment should be cheap and cheerful....i don't wanna burn a hole in my pocket


    thanks!
    And you need a light meter.

  3. #3

    Default Re: studio photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yihang View Post
    Hello all,

    i would like to explore the realms of studio photography...and i was wondering what type of studio equipment i should buy...like lights and such...

    i am planning to do portrait or fashion photography...

    uh.....and yea..the studio equipment should be cheap and cheerful....i don't wanna burn a hole in my pocket


    thanks!
    Get Jinbei or Akira strobes, a set should cost you under $1k, good enough to play with. A cheap light meter would be the Sekonic L-358, should be under $500.

  4. #4
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: studio photography

    for home studio, beside camera, you need..

    #1, space, the more the merrier, unless you don't want to shoot full length,
    #2, lights, if you know your flash light well, you can use a few hotshoe flash units to do studio photography, of course have some limitation, and if you have some money to spare can try Jinbei or Akira strobes kits, or the Thailand made strobes which Ruby is selling.
    #3, some background, can be paper or muslin, and also need some reflectors
    #4, to speed up the learning process, you need a flash meter.

    and very important of all, do some Google search or barrow some books from National Library about setting up home studio.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
    www.benjaminloo.com | iStock portfolio

  5. #5
    Senior Member sykestang's Avatar
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    Default Re: studio photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yihang View Post
    Hello all,

    i would like to explore the realms of studio photography...and i was wondering what type of studio equipment i should buy...like lights and such...

    i am planning to do portrait or fashion photography...

    uh.....and yea..the studio equipment should be cheap and cheerful....i don't wanna burn a hole in my pocket


    thanks!
    There is no really 'cheap' solution. What is your budget?

    Here is a breakdown what you need to start a studio:
    i. Strobes
    Recommended for small studio use, minimum 500W, but I would recommend a 1000W and above anytime. Do bear in mind that lower power strobes means more difficult to adjust the light power.

    For basic lightings, minimum 2 lights. However if you want to achieve highkey, minimum 3 lights with a good reflector. For the cheaper ones, you can look out for the low-ends china made strobes. Brand like Jin-Bei, FalconEyes, etc are some good china made strobes. Prices range from ~$300 - $800 each depends on the power. However china made strobes are wel-known for their inaccuracy in light output and poor colour output. But good thing, they are cheap and affordable.

    On the other hand, if you have the higher budget, Elinchrome & Bowens brand are highly recommended for most users and generally speaking, they are also more lasting. Prices to be ard ~$800 - $1600 each depends on the power. If you really going into it, you can consider brands like Visatec or Broncolor. These are high end strobes that are colour calibrated to 5500K. The power charged and fires are accurate. Some of these strobes comes with a power pack to regulate the power output. Prices ard ~$2400 - ~$12000 each depends on models, the features of the power pack, etc. These strobes will really burn a hole in your pocket.

    ii. LightStands/BoomArms/Light Support System
    These are standard items. Don't go for something that is too small, cos you'd see your light stands keeps swinging when you extend too high and the risk of the light stands topped over when trip. My advise is a medium size ones. Good ones are the Manfrotto, cost ard ~$150each and the china made, ~$80-$90each. However you also need to get 1-2pcs of the short stands for the backdrop lights, Manfrotto ones are ~$95each.

    Boom arms are not actually required unless your studio do not have the width. Bare in mind, although boom arms looks impressive when installed, but they are not easy to adjust and you'd need a ladder every time you want to adjust the position. A normal length Manfrotto Boom Arm cost ~$250ea

    Lightings support are fixed mounted rails system on your ceiling. They allow lights to pull down and go up easily. Changing position is also easier, you just need to move the lights along the fixed rails. Very good for small studio without the width. However you'd need a ceiling that is high enough else the rails will be hindering your photoshoot. Not to mention, rails support system are every expensive to install, they cost $xxxx depends on system/models and you'd need professional help to install them.

    iii. Backdrop & Support
    Backdrop support comes in many different forms:
    - Wall/Ceiling Fixed Hooks, Manfrotto ones cost ~$180 for regular 3hooks. You'd also need to get expan to hold the backdrops. Each manfrotto set of expan kit will cost ~$160 for only 1 backdrop.

    - Autopole Supports, Manfrotto ones cost ~$2xx - $3xx depends on height. Autopoles is a very good temporary solution if you don't want to bolt a fixed hooks. But you'd need to pay more for the extra things like super clamps to clamp the backdrop hooks, and the backdrop hooks will also need to the those special ones that can be used with the super clamps. A breakdown of prices:
    i. Manfrotto 035 Super Clamp - ~$50ea
    ii. Manfrotto backdrop hooks - ~$50 - ~$200 depends on no. of hooks.

    Backdrops:
    Standard 9ft coloured paper backdrop, cost ~$100/roll. Recommended colours, White, Black, Maroon, Navy Blue, Bright Yellow/Orange, Brown & Grey.

    Special designed Muslin,. cost ~$150 - ~$300/roll depends on material, hand painted/digital printed. Many designs to choose from.

    iv. Strobe Triggers
    - Cable Trigger - These are the most commonly seen. It is a cable that attached to the strobe and your camera. Your camera will require to have a PC Sync socket, else you can always get a hotshoe PC Sync. Cost ~$30-~$50 for the cable depends on length and Hotshoe PC Sync ~$20ea.

    - Radio Trigger - These are the better ones, they work on custom or fixed radio frequency depends on model. Some can work up to 100ft away. Cost ~$80 - ~$600each set depends on brands, model & features.

    - IR Trigger - Almost all strobes are equip with a cell sensor. They can be triggered by IR/Low power flash. Common IR Triggers cost ~$65 - ~$150each depends on brands/models.

    v. Light Meters
    Light meters comes in many brands. The better brand ones are the Germany made brand, Gossen. Another recommended brand is Minolta. These meters cost ranges from ~$500 - ~$1000 each depends on brands/models/features.

    For budget, you can get the normal brand like Sekonic. only cost ~$200 - ~$600+ for the highest end model in the sekonic family.

    However, on a personal view, a light meter is not really necessary. You can always use your camera to meter and do test shoots until your desired exposure is achieved. It is digital so no wastage on films, etc.

    Last but not least, your studio size. The minimum width required is ~15ft. This is because your backdrop is already 9ft long. And a fully opened light stand spread to ard 3ft. So if you need to put light on each side, you'd need to have extra 6ft on top of the 9ft backdrop. For length, it is very much depends on which lens you use. For 50mm lens, to achieve a full body shoot, you'd need ard 10ft - 12ft of length.

    So based on these measurements and recommendations, hope I didn't burst your dream on setting up a studio. Feel free to contact me should you need any consultancy and help.
    Last edited by sykestang; 5th September 2007 at 10:06 AM.
    Visit me at my studio: http://www.studiospace.com.sg

  6. #6

    Default Re: studio photography

    Quote Originally Posted by sykestang View Post
    However china made strobes are wel-known for their inaccuracy in light output and poor colour output. But good thing, they are cheap and affordable.
    Hi,

    Just to correct a mis-conception here.

    Not ALL china made strobes suffer from light in-accuracy and poor colour output. Well known china branded strobes are good enough for normal use. They cannot be compared to top end brands like Broncolor or Profoto of course, where you pay 10x the price for the light.

    You can test out the china made strobes used by several local studios here. They are even good enough for professonial use.

  7. #7

    Default Re: studio photography

    for starting out you can try the jinbei 180w. good enough for half body shots. they are good stuff. used it for a couple of times.

    if you are game enough do check out the bowens 500W or the 1000W big guns.

    i will suggest to use the money saved for the lightmeter to get some decent backdrops, umbrellas, softboxes instead.
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  8. #8

    Default Re: studio photography

    Quote Originally Posted by yihang View Post
    Hello all,

    i would like to explore the realms of studio photography...and i was wondering what type of studio equipment i should buy...like lights and such...

    i am planning to do portrait or fashion photography...

    uh.....and yea..the studio equipment should be cheap and cheerful....i don't wanna burn a hole in my pocket


    thanks!
    If you dont know anything about studio photography, it is better you attend some lessons first before you decide what you want. You will learns the vary types of lighting equipment, techniques and application. Hands on is better then anything else ..
    AMPA * WPPI * J team

  9. #9

    Default Re: studio photography

    yes attend some short studio courses run by the various photographic clubs or companies (eg PSS , SAFRA, SLCC) will be a good introduction to studio photography.

    Once you learn the basics then it is easier for you to further explore on your own.
    :)

  10. #10

    Default Re: studio photography

    There are also a number of studio for rental out there with reasonable rates. You can always rent them to do shoots before you decide on setting up one for yourself.

    BC

  11. #11

    Default Re: studio photography

    Thanks All

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