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Thread: My Photo Setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    My Photo Setup

    A few people have asked me to show my photo setup, so here's the 5 cent tour...

    I've got a 30" photo cube that I bought on eBay, and I use three 30 watt flourescent photo lights. These are 5000 degree Kelvin bulbs (another eBay purchase), which are supposed to be the right color range for still photography. The bulbs are in cheapie clamp-on fixtures, which are attached to either an old boom micophone stand or an old camera tripod, also with a boom. It all works pretty well together, but I wish I had spent the extra 10 bucks or so to get the clamp-on lights with bigger reflectors. That would give me better control over stray light.

    Here's the basic set-up, with the cube on a card table in the living room. I adjust the lights as necessary, but this shows a typical setup...bounce the overhead off the white ceiling, put one side light fairly close, and the other one farther away.

    Attachment 10291

    I'm using a Flotone gradient background from B&H Photo...I think it cost more than the tent itself, but it has helped my pics a lot. It's flexible plastic, and somewhat prone to scratches (plus it likes to pick up black dog hair), but I like the results I get with it. I use Photoshop to remove any scratches or dog hair from the picture. Previously, I was using the solid white, gray or black fabric backdrops that came with the tent. Not shown in this picture is a 12" x 12" x 3" tall box underneath the backdrop, to raise the piece I'm photographing above the lip of the tent.

    Attachment 10296

    The backdrop is attached in the back with metal binder clips and rare earth magnets. This makes it ewasy to adjust up or down, so I can adjust how dark the background is.

    Attachment 10293 Attachment 10294

    It's held in the front with a couple of LOML's potato chip bag clips. If I didn't clip it in place, it'd curl up like a windowshade.

    Attachment 10292

    And of course, you need a good photographic assistant. I'd be lost without mine. He's always one or two steps behind me, ready to trip me up if I step backwards.

    Attachment 10295

    That's the quick tour...lemme know if you have any questions.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Well there you go, that is what I've been doing wrong................. no assistant

    Thanks for the pics, I see how this works better, I've got a few things to change on my set up, mainly the lights.

    I've tried to get the photo lights, but when I found them they were about $150 each

    So I have some Halogen flood/work lights that I'm going to try, they are supposed to be the right temp lights

    The gradient background does look really good, I'm going to try to see if I can find one of those local, now that I know what to look for!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...The gradient background does look really good, I'm going to try to see if I can find one of those local, now that I know what to look for!

    Cheers!
    I recall seeing a post from John Hart on SMC where he made his own gradient backgrounds. He made a few gradient JPG files in Photoshop (or something similar) then went to Kinko's and had them blown up and printed on large paper stock for a few bucks apiece. I've been meaning to try it myself just for some variation.

    On the lights, you might keep your eye on the Japanese auction sites. I think I paid about $30 for a box of four bulbs.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
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    I'd love to see some of the shots resulting from a shutter firing as the tripod tips over, following you as you pinwheel your arms wildly trying to keep your balance after tripping over your assistant. But I have a sick sense of humor. LOL.

    Seriously though; cool setup. I'm hoping to pick up some tips from a friend I'll be visiting over the fourth. Not sure if he'll be able to help as his lenses cost more than my table saw.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    North Ogden, Utah
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    I use the same photo tent but use some regular old household type flourescent bulbs, the curly ones. And I've never gotten around to buying a graduated background but I really like the way yours looks. I use a Canon S2 IS camera that has a setting for indoor photography that seems to work pretty well. And I don't know anything about setting it up manually so I use the factory indoor setting all the time.

    But my favorite part of your setup is the mutt. What would the world be without a good dog!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Fuller View Post
    But my favorite part of your setup is the mutt. What would the world be without a good dog!
    How does this sound
    "The Dogs get to run the world and we try to be their best friend"
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    My Photo Setup

    Vaughn,

    I can see now how those photos you post are made so well. Real nice setup.

    (Pssst, how about a picture or two of that beautiful clock up on your mantel?)

    Aloha, Tony
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

    "Time flies like..... an arrow,,,Fruit flies like..... a banana." Groucho Marx

    Ah,,,to live in Paradise!

    Registered voting member

    Fighting for all I am worth, and praying every day.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Goodland, Kansas
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    Great looking setup Vaughn. I just got mine so need to get going on it.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

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