Setting up a cheap studio


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StreetShooter

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#1
OK, here is how I set up my studio.




Instructions for building the diffusion panels can be found here:

How to build a diffusion panel



I would recommend reading through the other stuff at the site.

The dimensions I used were slightly smaller. Each PVC pipe is slightly less than 20 feet long, so can be cut up nicely into 6 feet x 3 feet panels. The PVC pipes can be bought at any industrial estate. I went to the one at Lavender Street.

The cloth materials are from Spotlight. You only need about 2 metres of each. I stitched a hem around three edges and threaded the PVC pipes through them. They were fastened with zip ties (you know, those plastic tying things you can tighten simply by pulling - very cheap one whole bag from Sim Lim Tower can last you many years).
 

tomshen

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#2
:thumbsup: Wonderful! I am looking forward to seeing more artistic studio shots of your kid models. If you need any volunteer to push the shutter button or set up flash, let me know;p
 

roygoh

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#3
Great job, Streetshooter!

One suggestion: put a light beside the flash, shining at the same direction, and that will be your modelling light. You can get a pretty good idea of the actual lighting with this modelling light. very useful especially if you want to gauge the effect of adding reflectors. If you use tungstan bulb though, then the colour would not be very accurate. Since it is much weaker than the actual flash output, it does not affect the actual exposure.
 

StreetShooter

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#4
Yes, will try to install a modelling light. Thanks for the suggestion. It will definitely help me get a better idea how the shot will turn out.

Exposure was set manually, in a trial and error fashion. The flash can be controlled, with four settings from full power to low power, so you can set ratios if you want (I used two flashes and diffusion panels, right and left).

I ended up with 1/125s, f8 as the best setting. This also helped to keep everything sharp even though I was sometimes using manual focus. Oh yes, ISO was set to 100, which made the pictures very smooth and noise-free. What a luxury.

I attempted to use larger apertures and a faster speed, but anything faster than 1/250s resulted in the lower part of the image being blacked out. Not sure what was happening, but I assume it was because the flash was not fired yet when the mirror was being flipped. Remember that I trigger my flashes using an on-camera flash, so it takes some time for the slave trigger to respond.
 

StreetShooter

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#6
Yes, I saw that.
In fact it inspired me to do what I just did!

Which part of Sungei Road did you get your 3x3?

For background, I've bought those plastic sheets which the tent/canvas makers use. But quite heavy and reflective. I also bought some curtain material from Spotlight:



As you can see, I haven't ironed out the cloth yet. It's a bit narrow (about 1 metre wide) that's why I'd be interested in a 3x3.

Incidentally, this shot was taken with Canon 420EX mounted on camera and bounced off the wall on the left. Makes you wonder why I bother with slave flashes and stuff. Just bounce off the wall...
 

roygoh

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#8
Great! Good to know that I have inspired your home studio setup!

The canvas was bought around 8 years ago. Don't remember exactly which shop already. Should have been near the flats located accross the old Sungei road buildings when you look from Sim Lim Tower. I remember it is a shop specializing in canvas.

The plastic material is indeed too reflective to be used as a background.

I have even built my own 500 Watt-Second studio flash before. But that is quite difficult and dangerous, so I will not post the details here. Furthermore I had a friend who worked in a company manufacturing studio flash tubes, that's how I got the lobang for the rejected tubes (due to comestic reasons).

Now very tempted to post some of my earlier studio shots, but must find the film and scan first. Also need to get the permission of the subjects before I post.
 

erwinx

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#9
(posting my studio question here to keep this excellent thread current)

Hi Roy / Streetshooter,

I'm currently shooting a 2 flash nikon ttl system and am considering acquiring another (cheap) light source and am looking at AC slaves because they seem competitively priced even in the UK to say an achiever flash+slave. i intend to use them as just extra fill, or background fill so ttl operation not important.

Any experiences with them and also, are they available in singapore?

ac slave
 

nuts

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#11
Isn't this bcoz of the camera's x-sync speed? I understand that the D30's x-sync is 1/200 or 1/250...

..NuTs..

Originally posted by StreetShooter

...

I attempted to use larger apertures and a faster speed, but anything faster than 1/250s resulted in the lower part of the image being blacked out. Not sure what was happening, but I assume it was because the flash was not fired yet when the mirror was being flipped. Remember that I trigger my flashes using an on-camera flash, so it takes some time for the slave trigger to respond.
 

roygoh

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#12
Originally posted by StreetShooter
I attempted to use larger apertures and a faster speed, but anything faster than 1/250s resulted in the lower part of the image being blacked out. Not sure what was happening, but I assume it was because the flash was not fired yet when the mirror was being flipped. Remember that I trigger my flashes using an on-camera flash, so it takes some time for the slave trigger to respond.
Hey StreetShooter,

I missed this part of you discussion until Que Lynn and nuts revived this thread.

I guess by now you should have realised that the lower part of the picture is blacked out when you use 1/250 because the shutter speed is higher than the camera's flash sync speed. It has nothing to do with the mirror, but it is caused by the second shutter curtain being released before the first shutter curtain has fully opened. This resulted in the film being partially covered by the second shutter curtain when the flash fired.

- Roy
 

roygoh

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#13
Originally posted by erwinx
(posting my studio question here to keep this excellent thread current)

Hi Roy / Streetshooter,

I'm currently shooting a 2 flash nikon ttl system and am considering acquiring another (cheap) light source and am looking at AC slaves because they seem competitively priced even in the UK to say an achiever flash+slave. i intend to use them as just extra fill, or background fill so ttl operation not important.

Any experiences with them and also, are they available in singapore?

ac slave
Hi Erwinx,

Sorry I missed your question also. Did you end up buying the ac slave flash? I looked at the link you provided, and I am also interested in such a product. Wonder if they have 110V versions so that I can use it in the US.

What came to my mind when I saw the product was that one could easily attach the flash to a mahjong lamp and get a studio flash instantly. The guide number of 8meter at ISO100 seems adequate also. However, if the output power could not be adjusted, then that will limit the flexibility of your lighting options.
 

erwinx

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#16
Ruby Photo is in Peninsula Shopping Centre. search 'Ruby Photo' in the forums. I bought a $35 stand from them as well. Very helpful chap.
 

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