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Old Feb 5, 2004, 11:47 AM   #1
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Default Startup home studio must-haves? (equipment)

Hey folks -

I'm a long-time landscape and nature photo enthusiast who is just getting into portrait/studio type work. Professionally, I'm a computer graphics artist, but I hope to develop my photo skills to some degree of part-time profitability.

For now, my goal is to develop my portrait/modeling photography experience and be able to provide a wide range of shot types. Some degree or portability (for location shoots) is a consideration.

In starting to set up my home studio, I've begun purchasing various studio equipment (lighting, background, etc) and wanted any advice from those more experienced that I am about what some additional "must-have" items are.

Here is a list of what I have already (please make other suggestions!):

Canon EOS D60 (purchasing a EOS-1D Mark II when available)
Assorted lenses
Canon 550EX Speedlite flash (with omnibounce)
Canon 420EX Speedlite flash (with omnibounce)
Lumiquest Promax System
Bogen & Canon tripods

Studio related:

Da-lite Deluxe Background stand
Photek Backround in-a-bag 8'x12' (white)
Photek Softliter II umbrella 46" (white)

SP-Systems Home Portrait Kit (2- 920MDLVP Strobes 1- SP100 Strobe 1 each: SPHOLD AC Socket and Cord, SPCLAMP AC Socket and Clamp 2- SPBRACK Swivel Brackets 1- SP-Snoot for SP-100 2- PMLS 90" Lightstands 1- SPBarn100 Barndoors 2- 36" White Umbrellas 1- SP Light Kit Bag)

Specifically what I'm looking for:

Are there additional lights, accessories, and other items that should be at the top of my "to buy" list? Are there specific things I should keep in mind?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Zero Dean
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 12:14 PM   #2
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You did not mention a flash capable meter in your equipment list.
They really help with setting ratios

Minoltas Flashmeters are good but rather expensive, The shepard flash meters work OK just not as accurate and don't break the bank.

I'd also recommend a large sheet or two of foam-core to use as a reflector.

Start out using a single strobe or a large north facing window and the foam-core reflector. Then add other lights as you get the hang of setting up lighting.

Also lot of little stuff (spring clamps, gaffers tape(or duct tape if you have loose ducks) posing tools(stand, chair, etc.).
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 12:16 PM   #3
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My photography work doesn't overlap with yours in any way, so take what I said with a grain of salt... maybe an entire box!

I would get a wireless adapters for one of those flashes. Probably save you lots of hassle. You might also consider an "Underdog" which is a battery pack for the flash that also doubles as a stand... well, stand isn't the right word, more like base. The flash attaches to the battery. Here are some related links:

I would have thought you'd need more reflectors. Especially if you're doing outdoor work. Unless I'm miscounting, you seem to have only 1? I'd think you'd want atleast two (one for either side to remove shadows.)

If you don't get an answer from NHL (another poster here), you might want to private message. I think he does studio work (use my name as the referrer, if you want.)

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Old Feb 5, 2004, 12:19 PM   #4
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Hi Peter -

Thanks much for the reply. Some good info there and I'll I'll definitely look into light meters...

As far as foam core goes... are there "stands" for this type of thing? Does anyone have a recommendation here?

I'm also specifically looking into a 2 monolight setup... anyone have any specific recommendations?
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 12:36 PM   #5
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Probably are, though I haven't seen any. Usually just prop it up against something heavy in studio. Foam-core come in 4*4 or 4*8 sheets so it is fairly large and very thin.

For monolights I like elinchrome and photogenic units (when I am not paying), but the britek SP lights work fine and is what I use at home (where I have to pay).

I think most of the SP lights already have a built in slave trigger.
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Old Feb 5, 2004, 1:59 PM   #6
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I DO like your website
Well laid out and easy to navigate.
Oh the pictures are great too
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Old Jun 9, 2004, 9:07 AM   #7
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So it's been a while since my post in February, but I just wanted to let folks know that I figured out what I needed. I went with some Alien Bees.

If anyone wants to see any of my resulting work, please check out:


Any feedback appreciated.


Zero Dean


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