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School me on studio photography

 
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intotheflats
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Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Posts: 5492
City: Port Clinton, Oh

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2011 7:51 am    Post subject: School me on studio photography Reply with quote

I know a guy that does studio photography out of his home and does fairly well for himself considering it is a part time thing. He does mainly modeling work and I got to thinking that I would love to do something like that and I have the space to have a studio in my house. I am getting more comfortable with my D5000 but mostly with outdoor stuff. What kind of equipment other than the camera and glass would I need to have a legitimate studio? I know lighting and backdrops but there are so many lighting options out there I don't know where to start. So if anyone has experience with this I could use some advise. Thanks
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vette74
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Posts: 2142
City: Houston

PostPosted: Aug 17, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went ahead and wrote a craigslist add for you.

Paid TOP $$$$ for nude modeling must be 18-30 female with good attitude in Professional studio. Become a model in Playboy, Penthouse and several other. I also have a bunch of imitation crab meat you can have in my freezer if you want.

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Goonz
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PostPosted: Aug 17, 2011 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of, brands!

Here's a list for you:

Best broncolor verso packs,
than profoto 7 series
Profoto D4
Elinchrom
hensel
balcar
speedotron blackline pack and heads and mono force series
comet
White lightening zeus 2400ws pack head system
dynalite pack head systems
calumet/bowens
White lightening Zeus 1200 ws pack head system
White lightening monos
alienbee
Norman
Speedotron brownline
dynalite monos
jtl
sp Excalibur
novatron
britek
interfit

Try to go as high on the list as your budget lets you. You better buy good once, than many times cheap.

Get some light stands, triggers and heads or pack system. Maybe start with 2, then build up as you feel you need more light. Try some umbrellas or softboxes. As you advance you will get rid of them if your staying with model photography.

This is a good forum for starters: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/index.php?s=0659836abc0e7e78e7a8a751240f951e

A good read: http://photo.net/learn/lighting/choosing-studio-lighting/
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Mike Isler
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PostPosted: Aug 22, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

intotheflats, I didn't specifically read the "modeling" part when I started typing my post, so skip to the bottom for my thoughts specific to that.

I do a lot of work with photographers that do still life photography. Not "artful pictures of flowers" still life, but commercial high end work for cosmetics, watch, jewelry and similar companies.

Addressing the equipment side of things, here's what is generally used on our end:
- Mamiya 645AFD with Leaf Aptus back or Hasselblad H2 with PhaseOne P45+ back
- 120mm lens
- Lighting either Profoto Acute or Broncolor. I've used all of the manufacturers (Elinchrom, Bron, Speedo, Profoto, Balcar etc)...my preference is Profoto.
- Many modifiers. Silks, beauty dishes, snoots, fresnel attachment, various grids
- For the tabletop set, we use a pair of sawhorses and on top of that goes 2 1"x3" plexiglass beams, about 4' long. On top of that is whatever our shooting surface is for that project. That could be any one of various flavors of plexi (frosted, matte, glossy opaque white, matte black), glass, black glass, seamless paper, cloth, or anything else.
- For still life work, one of the most important tools used are fill cards. Foamcore or paper cards that are matte white, black, shiny silver, dull silver, shiny gold, etc. These start as 30"x30" or so, and pieces are cut as needed for various reflections or fill. This is what makes the real difference in the work... controlling the light.
- The camera is always used tethered to the computer. Often the art director or client is on set, and it's helpful to have a big view of the image for making adjustments.
- C-stands are used almost exclusively instead of lightstands. They give a lot more control over light placement, with the wand/boom.
- Sandbags
- If you have a low-ish flat ceiling, Autopoles will be useful for suspending/mounting things, in combination with super clamps and j-hooks.
- Clear wax and blue-tac
- Fishing line for suspending things, clear plexi cubes for propping things up, and a whole assortment of other small specific tools


As for modeling, a few things set amateur work apart from professional work very quickly:
- Lighting. Quality of light. Direction, quantity, shape. Simply going out and buying 2 studio strobes and some umbrellas or softboxes won't instantly give you the "professional" look. The lighting is different for every setup, depending on what we're looking for. There are basic formulas (beauty dish with a octabank fill and hairlight, or 2 softbox clamshell lighting, or octabank with ringlight fill etc) but each shot is different. On beauty or fashion jobs, one of my most important modifiers is the Beauty Dish (frequently called a Soft Light Reflector), as well as an Octabank. A true Octabank is only made by Elinchrom, and the strobe head sits inside and fires back into the umbrella...as opposed to 8-sided softboxes (Octaboxes) where the strobe faces forward. V-flats are also used ALL the time. These are two 4x8' pieces of 1/2" white/black foamcore taped together to create a foldable freestanding all-white or all-black fill surface.
- Makeup, wardrobe, styling. While models know how to pose, doing makeup for the camera is not always their strong suit. Professional makeup artists make a huge difference. Wardrobe and prop styling are very important touches as well. A bracelet/necklace/purse/scarf/whatever can make a big difference, and stylists are very valuable on set.
- Retouching. Owning Photoshop doesn't make one a retoucher any more than owning a DSLR makes one a professional photographer. It takes time to learn retouching, and even still there are many specialties. Retouching skin is quite specific, and is very different from removing a telephone pole in the background of a family portrait.

Just a few quick thoughts.

I've got to take my website out of my signature. I don't shoot any more. I do mainly digital technician and consulting work for photo and video projects these days.
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intotheflats
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Joined: 31 Jan 2003
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City: Port Clinton, Oh

PostPosted: Aug 24, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mike, very helpful.
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jumalian
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PostPosted: Aug 24, 2011 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Isler took the time to post in here? wow...that's HUGE! the guy's big-time now!

hey mike!

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Mike Isler
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PostPosted: Aug 25, 2011 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every once in awhile, I jump on here...

My shoots these days vary from "very exciting" to "watching paint dry". 3 weeks ago, I was operating a camera in a $2k/hr helicopter over NYC for a new Evanescence music video. Today, I was tech'ing a photo shoot of yarn for one of Martha Stewart's companies. It runs the gamut...but pays the bills.
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Craig-R
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PostPosted: Oct 03, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i love yarn!!!!!


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