Home studio setup


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jeanie

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May 19, 2005
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#41
Hi, I find that studio equipment usually are rather depreciative, meaning the more expensive strobes you buy, the more you lose. So if you are not intending to shoot on a full time basis, its actually better to stick with the cheaper brands. Afterall selling off 5k worth of "cheap" equipment at 1/2 price, you will lose less than selling off similar high end equipment worth 20k at 1/2 price. That said, studio equipments have quite a lot of hidden costs like reflectors, modifiers, stands, backdrops etc.

I shoot in a living room with some furnitures and usable space is only about 3.5 x 10 m, it's really too small!! The only good thing is the ceiling is higher than average.

For wireless triggers, if you are referring to those used to trigger off strobes, they can be pretty cheap if you go for the china brands. They do work well. I have been using mine for about 2 years and they still trigger every single time.

Modifiers like softboxes, umbrellas are good to have, but not really necessary. I have a number of umbrellas but practically unused as I'm trying to move to harsher lighting. It's more important to invest on the reflectors, grids and barndoors. I feel they are used more frequently. Of course there are much more modifiers like gels, beautydish, snoots, sun umbrella etc. Do take some time to read up on what you really require as these stuff add up to a rather significant amount.

Reliable brands like bowns and elinchrom are the most common in singapore since they have agents here. If you can somehow get brands like profoto,broncolor,balcar they are even better, but of course much much more expensive.

I'm using Jinbei that CSer afiend brought in, its really much cheaper and so far its been pretty reliable, so you may like to take a look at that. The number of lights required, well that's for you to decide. Sometimes I use 1, sometimes it goes up to 5. I think a good tradeoff will be 2-3. Think CP carries such 2-3 set kits too. Wattage wise, the higher it goes, the higher the F stop you can use. It usually recharges much faster too. Somewhere along 600w - 1000w will be very usable range.

Ok din realise I rambled so much. Better let you digest the vebal vomit first ;p Hope this helps!

very very helpful post for a newbie like me.i really appreciate the time taken to make the post.just a few queries.

1)how does ceiling height affect studio photography?not like we're going to use bounce flash right?

2)wat are grids?are they like venetian blinds that directs the flash to the subject instead of scattering them?

3)when i look for wireless trigger, how do i know if it's compatible with the studio flashes?or is it universal?

4)wat are beautydish and snoots?wah piang eh.lots of jargons!:D

5)so assuming 1 get a 2 unit light.it is enough to get going right?do i need a flash for backdrop?

i'm thinking i may not have sufficient space.which only limits me to half body shots.so sad.:cry:
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#42
Heh yea I know there other furniture in it, but a room the size of 15m x 7m should only be found in mansions and bungalows - huge!

The height is important, the higher the better (up to a certain limit).

how does height of room matter in studio photgraphy?
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#44
u stay in palace? OMG 15 x 7 m room that is big!!!
i wish too.but sorry to disappoint.no.

maybe i should correct my posting.

effective working space/area: 7-8meters by 4-5 meters.
 

Splutter

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2003
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Gim Boon Tai
www.splutterphotography.com
#45
1) Ceiling height matters! A lower ceiling would naturally mean that you cant place your light source high. It also means you may not even try out directly top down lighting. Another thing is that unless your ceiling is black, a lower ceiling will mean more stray light will bounce from the ceiling, which most studio photographers would not want. It makes lighting harder to control and you cant get the contrast you want.

2)You got it somewhat correct. Grids are more like honeycomb shapes binds instead. Some brands call them honeycomb too. They come in different sizes so you can control the angle of light output from the strobe. A narrower angle would mean more directional lighting.

3)Most triggers are universal, if not it'll just require a step down in size for the plug. I believe most use a monoplug, kinda like your normal headphones, but slightly bigger. If you are using cheapo strobes, do try to stay away from wire triggers. I had experience of voltage leak from the strobes to the camera, can give you quite a good shock :bsmilie:

4)Snoots are essentially cone shape devices with a small hole to let light out so you get a narrow beam of light. It's most commonly used to light hair, but I guess you can do anything you want with it. Best to search online for pics lah. My description suxs.

5)If you have 2 lights, you can use 1 for lighting the backdrop mah. In fact, use 1 also can. It'll depend on how bright you want the backdrop, if you want any shadows on the backdrop etc. Really have to experiment quite a bit to understand how it works. In any case, buy less first, can always add more later :devil:

Space is always a constraint in Singapore :( I think with your floor space, you should just be able to do full body shots. At most shoot with a shorter focal length lor.
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#46
3)Most triggers are universal, if not it'll just require a step down in size for the plug. I believe most use a monoplug, kinda like your normal headphones, but slightly bigger. If you are using cheapo strobes, do try to stay away from wire triggers. I had experience of voltage leak from the strobes to the camera, can give you quite a good shock :bsmilie:

i dont understand the above.

wireless yet will give you shock?how the electric current run from strobe to your camera?that's scary!:bigeyes:
last thing i want is some cheapo strobes burning up my d200.:nono: ;p
 

jOhO

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2003
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www.expressivelyjoho.com
#47
the cheapest (and most stable) option for your backdrop system is to drill triple hooks into your wall. autopoles iirc are about $460 per pair (manfrotto). there are replicas that can be had for cheaper.

paper is quite standard at around $90 per roll, for whatever colour, as long as the store got stock. these are 9ft long, and if you wanna take group images of 10 or more people you're in trouble. if u don't take such portraits, no problem!

with the hooks and paper, we have wat we call an "expan system" which is kinda hard to exaplain, it's like to holders on the end of the "tube" of paper and forms a holder where it can slot into the triple hooks.

so far, i've only spoken about the backdrop system. then you have your lights, which can be even more complicated, as you've mentioned, why 1000W and not 500W etc. usually my advise for anyone is "if you don't know why you need it, then you don't need it", so in other words in general, your 500/600W lights should suffice, when you need more power, you will know when! also, there's another saying where you could "get the best you can afford", so.. go figure!

then there's light modifiers. softboxes snoots barndoors cookies. again, you can get all these along the way when you know why you need them.

all that said, my studio is open to public. you are free to contact me to come and visit and i can show you all these things, and also to recommend you the backdrop and lighting system by Kenneth, who does the Jinbei brand of studio equipment found on these threads:

http://forum.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=149229
http://forum.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=200939
http://forum.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=180931
http://forum.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=136440

another advise i can offer is to find second hand stuff here on CS.

hope to hear from you should u need to visit my studio, either my partner or i will definitely be around give you a tour. :)

for your reference, we had an open house a couple of weeks ago and it was a great time!
ref : http://forum.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=230187
 

jOhO

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2003
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www.expressivelyjoho.com
#49
3)Most triggers are universal, if not it'll just require a step down in size for the plug. I believe most use a monoplug, kinda like your normal headphones, but slightly bigger. If you are using cheapo strobes, do try to stay away from wire triggers. I had experience of voltage leak from the strobes to the camera, can give you quite a good shock :bsmilie:

i dont understand the above.

wireless yet will give you shock?how the electric current run from strobe to your camera?that's scary!:bigeyes:
last thing i want is some cheapo strobes burning up my d200.:nono: ;p
he was talking about wired triggers, meaning a wire connecting from your camera to your strobe. it's actually the surest way to make your strobe fire, but most studios use wireless now, either with IR or radio. it helps in terms of flexibility, you're not constrained to your wires, and won't have too many wires around. and as wat splutter mentioned, the voltage leak.
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#53
comon joho, enlighten me.
why 500w vs 1000w?
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#54
ortega ngeow gau wont teach one lah.ask him go japan tfcd for me he also dun want.
chio gals ask he ok.double standards.:sticktong :sticktong :sticktong :bsmilie:

oic, wired triggers.
i would prefer those that will emit beeps after you fire or beeps when lights are ready.
very very kewl!
 

jeanie

Senior Member
May 19, 2005
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#55
joho,
saw afiend sales thread.honestly, so many to buy, which one to buy?:bsmilie:

and where's jinbei from?ROC?
 

Oct 23, 2006
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#57
Can I come too ? ;) Interested to learn :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
 

jOhO

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2003
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www.expressivelyjoho.com
#58
long essay lar, why 500W and 1000W...

generally, the further the light is with a large softbox the more evenly spread the light. the further your light is, the higher the power it needs. in a nutshell is like that.

so if your studio is small (which is not seeing from your dimensions!) then you might not need the power.

jinbei is from ROC, that's right.

got time come down lar, bring ortega along! :bsmilie:
 

jOhO

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2003
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www.expressivelyjoho.com
#59
Can I come too ? ;) Interested to learn :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
anyone, incl you, is welcome! perhaps if i get enuff responses, we could organise another open house so everyone can come together.

our studio is open for rent too, so if you want to experiece shooting in one, you can!

shameless plug :

STUDIO FOR RENT!! :bsmilie:
 

jOhO

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2003
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Singapore
www.expressivelyjoho.com
#60
ortega ngeow gau wont teach one lah.ask him go japan tfcd for me he also dun want.
chio gals ask he ok.double standards.:sticktong :sticktong :sticktong :bsmilie:

oic, wired triggers.
i would prefer those that will emit beeps after you fire or beeps when lights are ready.
very very kewl!
so far all the brands i've worked with have the beeps. ;p so no worries.
 

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