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Monday, August 22, 2011

My own home studio (part1)

For months (not to say years), my beloved, now wife, has been asking me "When will you do my (photo)book?" And my answer was always the same: "you know I really want to do this, but first I need to buy some expensive gear". I thought I needed at least a backdrop, a few flashes, umbrellas and I believed I would have to spend maybe 500€, or probably more.

I have been very busy the last few months, preparing our wedding, and after that I thought I had no more excuses not to start the book project.
So I started to look for gear, as unexpensive and professional as possible, and for tutorials.

Getting started

As I already wrote, you mostly need two things: lights and a back. The first thing I got was the most simple and unexpensive quality light possible: a continuous light kit (as opposed to flash light). The one I bought
is composed of two tripods, two bouncing umbrellas, and two daylight low consumption lights (daylight means the color of the light is close to the color of the daylight) which provide 370W equivalent light for 65W consumption. I was pretty happy I must say that I could get started with just 100€ (shipping included)!
I then needed a backdrop, and I was quite depressed when I saw the prices. The cheaper stand I found was 65€ and the drop itself was the same price. 130€ just for a back, it was too much for me. While looking for a drop, I realized it is atually pretty close to a curtain, and then I had a great idea! Why not set the drop directly in place of my curtains?? So I went to the Montmartre district in Paris, the place to be for fabric, and I found what I was looking for: a thick, smooth fabric that does not let light through (they call it "blackout"). The width was not perfect (1.60m, my curtain stand can go up to 2.10m) but I paid 7€/m! So for 28€ I got a 4m x 1.6m white drop. It even has a dark backside I can use too.

With 128€ I could get started with good stuff, I was very happy. This is just the beginning, but it's a pretty good start!

Here are two pictures I am quite proud of, taken with the gear I just described. Feel free to share your feelings about them, your experience or anything constructive.

430 EX II Strobe ini the back, strobe with bouncing umbrellas in the front, down to the falsh
430 EX II by ©Gabriel Trần

version française

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