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Thread: Minimum requirements for home studio

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Minimum requirements for home studio

    Just looking at what additional's I need for a home (non-professional) studio.

    At this point I've got the following on my list:

    Strobes (with soft boxes/umbrellas)
    Flash trigger (if not included with strobes)
    Light Meter (currently looking at a L358)
    Backdrop/Props
    Reflector with stand

    Is there anything I missed?
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Do you intend just doing head and shoulder shots?

    If not and you want to do full length body shots, to me minimum requirements are a space 6m wide by 4m high by 4m deep.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    absolute minimum you require?

    Flash + Trigggers (I suggest the Yongnuo gear YN 560 (or better) + RF 603 get more triggers then you have flashes, you will end up getting more flashes and/or use the spare as a cable release)

    Flash stands = a broom stick cemented into an empty bucket/tin $next to free$

    Flash holders = a pair of cable clamps + a quarter inch screw (bunnings $10 total)

    Soft boxes = a foam Brocoli/Vegetable box with a white cloth diffuser $free$

    Backdrop = 1x king bed flat sheet, White Commercial. Pm me, I'm a wholesaler.

    Backdrop Stand = some PVC Pipe and some creativity or go to a shopfitter and get a clothing rack etc

    Reflector = one of those silver/gold reflector things for the window of your car windscreen $3

    lightmeter - make sure it can do flash metering. Chimp and check is a good method for learning to "guess" a good exposure. I know with my flash 1/4 power into a vege softbox gives a good exposure at F:8-9 for 3-4 feet

    Snoots = pringles can

    gridstops = a bunch of straws stuck in the pringles can

    There are a HEAP of diy lighting stuff. Sure, they're not as professional looking as the real deal stuff, but you can get some very good quality results from them! for the $$ outlay, they're a good idea to get the basics down pat if you haven't done off camera flash work before.

    They're not so good if you're wanting to head to the beach and shoot models in bikini's while looking professional about it.
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    Ausphotography Regular JimD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Just looking at what additional's I need for a home (non-professional) studio.

    At this point I've got the following on my list:

    Strobes (with soft boxes/umbrellas)
    Flash trigger (if not included with strobes)
    Light Meter (currently looking at a L358)
    Backdrop/Props
    Reflector with stand

    Is there anything I missed?
    Don't forget a home
    .
    .
    .
    .
    f o t o w o r x

    People taking the time out to give me CC is always very much appreciated

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Andrews recommendations for space would be the absolute minimum IMO if you want to shoot full length without resorting to UWA lenses and distortion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Do you intend just doing head and shoulder shots?

    If not and you want to do full length body shots, to me minimum requirements are a space 6m wide by 4m high by 4m deep.
    Mainly kids, toddlers, babies but the odd full length. I have the space for it at home so size isn't too much of an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus79 View Post
    absolute minimum you require?

    Flash + Trigggers (I suggest the Yongnuo gear YN 560 (or better) + RF 603 get more triggers then you have flashes, you will end up getting more flashes and/or use the spare as a cable release)

    Flash stands = a broom stick cemented into an empty bucket/tin $next to free$

    Flash holders = a pair of cable clamps + a quarter inch screw (bunnings $10 total)

    Soft boxes = a foam Brocoli/Vegetable box with a white cloth diffuser $free$

    Backdrop = 1x king bed flat sheet, White Commercial. Pm me, I'm a wholesaler.

    Backdrop Stand = some PVC Pipe and some creativity or go to a shopfitter and get a clothing rack etc

    Reflector = one of those silver/gold reflector things for the window of your car windscreen $3

    lightmeter - make sure it can do flash metering. Chimp and check is a good method for learning to "guess" a good exposure. I know with my flash 1/4 power into a vege softbox gives a good exposure at F:8-9 for 3-4 feet

    Snoots = pringles can

    gridstops = a bunch of straws stuck in the pringles can

    There are a HEAP of diy lighting stuff. Sure, they're not as professional looking as the real deal stuff, but you can get some very good quality results from them! for the $$ outlay, they're a good idea to get the basics down pat if you haven't done off camera flash work before.

    They're not so good if you're wanting to head to the beach and shoot models in bikini's while looking professional about it.
    Thanks for the tips but I've got a lot of the gear already and fortunately I've managed to get away with some budget for this (justified to my wife). I've got a SB600 and SB700 for the flash side, but I'm probably going to get a D-lite RX4 kit which comes with two softboxes and an umbrella. The transmitter is included in the kit and I've also already got a decent 5 in one reflector so that shouldn't be an issue. I may get a stand for the reflector so that's probably the only thing I'm really missing on that.

    On the backdrop side, I've already got a heavy duty stand with a black and white roll so I'll see if I need anymore but most of what I do will be on black and white backgrounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Don't forget a home
    Damn, one thing I forgot. Any idea what they cost these days?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Andrews recommendations for space would be the absolute minimum IMO if you want to shoot full length without resorting to UWA lenses and distortion.
    Thanks. Only issue may be height. I've only got about 3m on that but the others are good enough at this point.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    You will need those D-Lites et al or more lights, because 2 speedlights just won't cut it. It can take 2 lights to light a 2.7M wide background roll, then you may need a hair/rim light and of course a key/fil, although with a good key, fill can often be a reflector. A boom is very handy especially in smaller width places as it will allow you to get the light in front or overhead without putting stands on your paper backdrops. That is the issue I'm kind of struggling with right now in my warehouse studio, it is only 4.6m wide and the background paper is 2.7M, plust stands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    You will need those D-Lites et al or more lights, because 2 speedlights just won't cut it. It can take 2 lights to light a 2.7M wide background roll, then you may need a hair/rim light and of course a key/fil, although with a good key, fill can often be a reflector. A boom is very handy especially in smaller width places as it will allow you to get the light in front or overhead without putting stands on your paper backdrops. That is the issue I'm kind of struggling with right now in my warehouse studio, it is only 4.6m wide and the background paper is 2.7M, plust stands.
    I figured the two lights and a reflector were a good starting point. Once I get to grips with those I'll start adding additional ones, probably in the same series. The boom is another consideration I'm looking at but I suspect it will come later as with some of the other accessories as my budget dictates what I add.

    Interestingly I don't have paper backdrops. The rolls I have are synthetic polypropylene. Standard rolls are 2.7mx11m and only marginally more expensive than paper roles. They're a little more durable for kids and you can draw on them to keep the kids focussed on where you want them to be (and then wash them off of photoshop it out)

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    Ausphotography Regular JimD's Avatar
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    What brand/model of strobes are you considering?

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    The choice is between the Elinchrom D-lite RX4 and the Bowens Gemini 400 but I'll probably get the Elinchrom at this point.


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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    The choice is between the Elinchrom D-lite RX4 and the Bowens Gemini 400
    Why?
    There are quite a few quality ( with a capital Q ) products out there that will suit your needs at a $$$ saving margin than "name" brand products that come out of the same Indian or Chinese factories as the E and B brands.

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    Only the low end Elinchroms are made outside Sweden, which is where the lights you are looking at sit. I disagree that there are cheap knock offs as good as the brand names. All good when using one light, but shoot 2 lights that show different colour temps shot to shot, inconsistent output power etc and the extra cost of well proven, well backed products soon fades into obscurity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Why?
    There are quite a few quality ( with a capital Q ) products out there that will suit your needs at a $$$ saving margin than "name" brand products that come out of the same Indian or Chinese factories as the E and B brands.
    Generally everyone I spoke to (and all the research I did) said that it's worth buying decent if you can afford to.

    There are other factors I consider, resale if I want to upgrade, ease of getting additional heads in the same model/brand, longterm product support etc.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    Generally everyone I spoke to (and all the research I did) said that it's worth buying decent if you can afford to.

    There are other factors I consider, resale if I want to upgrade, ease of getting additional heads in the same model/brand, longterm product support etc.
    Yep, we all value different things differently. I'm with you, quality, proven and well supported products that have a manufacturer that has been around 50 years is reason to sway from cheap Chinese shit made by whoflungdung that will probably not be there in 10 minutes time when I may need them. Try getting warranty from one of those suppliers, when you can be assured Elinchrom, Profoto, Broncolor,Bowens and even PCB will all be there for you if you need them.

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    The D-lite kit is very good value for money given the quality. I'm not a fan of many non branded items...especially when it comes to lighting. There are so many factors such as color temperature consistency, sync speed, flash to flash power consistency, warranty etc. Go with a tried and tested brand IMO. If you don't need short flash duration, don't even hesitate with the elinchrom set!

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Mission Man, I read two statements from you and asked a question based on those lines.
    The first part I read was in your initial post where you wanted advice for " a home (non professional) studio " and that indicates to me that you were not going to be subjecting the gear that you buy to heavy duty commercial use.

    The second line that I read and based my question on was in post #8 where you stated that you would add other gear " as my budget dictates " which I consider entirely sensible so my thoughts were to maximise the initial budget.

    The lighting units available in Australia at that end of the "non professional" "budget" range extend from poorly made rubbish through to very good bang for your buck units.

    I have nothing against the Elinchrom units that you have indicated as being suitable for your use but I do feel that in a few areas they are a little over hyped because of their "name" and advertising.

    Wayne has very eloquently described (not) various units as "knockoffs" "excreta" and manufactured by "whoflungdung" who "will not be there in 10 minutes when I need them" and I'm sorry to say that I don't find much merit in such descriptions with regard to some better quality "non named" brand lighting units.

    I was merely pointing out that there are good quality units available that will save you $$$, offer similar / the same / better performance than the "named" brands. I do not consider them "knockoffs" as they are simply light heads that are manufactured in a similar style to other light heads. I certainly don't consider the 2 heads that I use as "excreta" because they function entirely as they should and in a couple of areas are better specced than the E brand.
    As far as back up and service go for the "knockoffs" that I own, the business that sells them has been in operation for at least 5 years, maybe more but that is as long as I have been dealing with him. I don't think he is about to close up shop tomorrow, can always be reached with a phone call as well as having a physical address in Melbourne to visit.
    He keeps a good stock of consumables ( modifiers, backdrops, stands, flash tubes etc ) for his units.
    I have never seen any colour inconsistencies or power variances from the lights, they have never stopped working, they have not fallen apart. They have had more than average use over the time that they have been here.
    The other thing that appeals to me over the Elinchroms is that if I owned an Elinchrom unit and I needed any warranty work done within the one year warranty period I would simply have to deliver it to the retailer and then wait for the service agent to get around to repairing it.
    If my "knockoff" brand had suffered any form of failure ( flash tube excepted ) during the two year warranty period I would simply have delivered it to the retailer and received a new unit in exchange.

    Certainly, there are some very mouth wateringly excellent products available from the well known makers and as far as I know there are no "knockoff" products that compare with or even manufactured competing in that end of the market but that is not where I thought the original thread was headed given the "non professional" and "budget" parameters.

    Please excuse me for offering an opinion if you are determined to only consider name brands based on perceptions ( sometimes misguided ) of others who may not have even used the gear in question. Such is the life of the internet.
    Last edited by I @ M; 05-02-2013 at 5:51am.

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    Ausphotography Regular JimD's Avatar
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    I&M can you tell us the brand of strobes that you use, post pics or a link?

    Thanks

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    I&M can you tell us the brand of strobes that you use, post pics or a link?

    Thanks
    There ya go Jim http://www.studiolight.com.au/flashes.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    Mission Man, I read two statements from you and asked a question based on those lines.
    The first part I read was in your initial post where you wanted advice for " a home (non professional) studio " and that indicates to me that you were not going to be subjecting the gear that you buy to heavy duty commercial use.

    The second line that I read and based my question on was in post #8 where you stated that you would add other gear " as my budget dictates " which I consider entirely sensible so my thoughts were to maximise the initial budget.

    The lighting units available in Australia at that end of the "non professional" "budget" range extend from poorly made rubbish through to very good bang for your buck units.

    I have nothing against the Elinchrom units that you have indicated as being suitable for your use but I do feel that in a few areas they are a little over hyped because of their "name" and advertising.

    Wayne has very eloquently described (not) various units as "knockoffs" "excreta" and manufactured by "whoflungdung" who "will not be there in 10 minutes when I need them" and I'm sorry to say that I don't find much merit in such descriptions with regard to some better quality "non named" brand lighting units.

    I was merely pointing out that there are good quality units available that will save you $$$, offer similar / the same / better performance than the "named" brands. I do not consider them "knockoffs" as they are simply light heads that are manufactured in a similar style to other light heads. I certainly don't consider the 2 heads that I use as "excreta" because they function entirely as they should and in a couple of areas are better specced than the E brand.
    As far as back up and service go for the "knockoffs" that I own, the business that sells them has been in operation for at least 5 years, maybe more but that is as long as I have been dealing with him. I don't think he is about to close up shop tomorrow, can always be reached with a phone call as well as having a physical address in Melbourne to visit.
    He keeps a good stock of consumables ( modifiers, backdrops, stands, flash tubes etc ) for his units.
    I have never seen any colour inconsistencies or power variances from the lights, they have never stopped working, they have not fallen apart. They have had more than average use over the time that they have been here.
    The other thing that appeals to me over the Elinchroms is that if I owned an Elinchrom unit and I needed any warranty work done within the one year warranty period I would simply have to deliver it to the retailer and then wait for the service agent to get around to repairing it.
    If my "knockoff" brand had suffered any form of failure ( flash tube excepted ) during the two year warranty period I would simply have delivered it to the retailer and received a new unit in exchange.

    Certainly, there are some very mouth wateringly excellent products available from the well known makers and as far as I know there are no "knockoff" products that compare with or even manufactured competing in that end of the market but that is not where I thought the original thread was headed given the "non professional" and "budget" parameters.

    Please excuse me for offering an opinion if you are determined to only consider name brands based on perceptions ( sometimes misguided ) of others who may not have even used the gear in question. Such is the life of the internet.
    I have no issues with differing opinions. There are a wide variety of people from different backgrounds with different sets of experience and it's unlikely people will always agree, particularly when it comes to equipment. Ask two people for an answer on the best portrait lens and you're likely to get different answers because it's dependent on a number of factors like skill, budget, experience etc. I generally always take forum answers with some degree of scepticism because there could also be hidden agenda's (i.e. retailers/distributers hiding behind a name (although this is less of an issue with Ausphotography than other industries).

    I'm not determined to get brand names, most of the preference for brand names has come from discussions with people who used lighting (both in a personal and professional capacity), both here and elsewhere.

    The biggest drawbacks with non-brand name models is a lack of independent reviews, even if purchased from established stores. I tried searching for a number of the names and models of cheaper non-brand names and I could not find a single review of the models available, samples, etc. The big issue I've noticed is you don't actually know what you're getting, and as someone new to studio work, you probably won't know what you're getting until much later when you actually start to learn the limitations or issues with your equipment. Some people have mentioned issues with durability, issues with getting hold of bulb replacements (or at exorbitant cost), consistency of light, or outputs which are not as quoted. The problem as you mentioned is that "The lighting units available in Australia at that end of the "non professional" "budget" range extend from poorly made rubbish through to very good bang for your buck units." and the bigger problem is finding out independently which falls into each category because there is very little information that allows you to validate the non-brand named models. At least with the established names, you know what you're getting (good or bad), not what you think you're getting.

    On the issue of budget, it's a case of buying the best I can afford right now. In principle, I could get a 4 head no-name setup for the cost of a 2 head setup with an established name, but I've also accepted that with my limited experience, the use of 4 lights is unlikely as it will take me time to get to grips with the 2 lights and as the number of lights limit my ability, I should be in a position to purchase more and extend my kit.

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    Ausphotography Regular JimD's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link.

    They come in 300w, 400w, 500w etc etc ....... roughly how many watts (I know they're not the same of course) does a speedlight put out? What I'm asking is how much brighter is say a 300w strobe compared to a Canon 580EXII speedlight?

    Hope that makes sense.

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