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Old Jul 7, 2011, 5:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 97
Default Help me build cheap photography studio...

I am posting on my wife's account. She recently purchased a Nikon D90 and she has three lenses so far. She has been taking some pictures of newborns and toddlers, but needs a little better environment for pictures (lighting, backdrops, floordrops, etc.). I want to do as much as I can to help her out but I have to think outside of the box. She will be getting a Nikon SB700 (I think) lens. I need ways to utilize this as a source of light.

I don't know much about photography, but have been doing a little research about some lighting concepts to give me some ideas. What I do know is I can build things. We have 8ft ceiling so one option is to bounce light. I also know that the price of "studio" backdrops is ridiculous. I will make something myself for a fraction of the cost.

Here is the plan. Please offer any ideas or critique anything you like. I will share the finished product.

I will be building two vertical stands approximately 6ft tall with groves on the inside and front to support various types of materials. I can also put holes in the uprights to accomodate rolls of different paper on dowels.

Instead of high dollar backdrops, I plan on either being able to stretch material across and clamp it to eliminate wrinkles. I also plan on buying several different designs of wallpaper and putting a different pattern on each side of thin plywood or melamine. Some of the pattens are paintable so I can do each side a different color off of the same roll. I figure it would end up running about $15-20 per backdrop this way.

Rather than floor drops, I will use either vinyl or thin laminate flooring to create various looks, which can be had at about $1 a sq/ft.

Here is where I am stuck. We need to make the most of the light available from her new flash. It can be mounted on a pole with an umbrella or bounced off the ceiling with a light scoop. Would it also be a good idea to use white melamine sheets on the sides to reflect light back on the subject and minimize shadows from only having one light source?

Also, I am trying to figure out the dimensions for a back drop or floor drop. Is there a standard backdrop size/height that I should shoot for?

Any other tips and tricks or ideas you can think of would be appreciated.
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Old Dec 24, 2012, 12:55 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: London E17
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re: props for photographing babies, have a look at susanbartolini.com It may give you a few ideas. Also have a look at digital camera world who give great tutorials covering pretty much all you need to know. Personally I would steer clear of any vinyl as it can be too reflective. Melamine is the same problem too, using foam board or a circular reflector may be a better choice. Hope this may be helpful.
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