Every photoshoot is different, but depending on your concept and style, you don’t always need a massive studio space with tons of lighting. If you happen to have a decently sized living room with some amazing windows to take advantage of some natural light, it could be your perfect in-home studio for some of your projects.
Different projects may require different things in the background to help sell the story we are trying to tell with our photos. Sometimes they can be as simple as using a window in the frame. What happens when you are shooting and there aren’t any windows that fit your vision, or any windows at all?
We love gear. But this is next level stuff. If you’ve seen the smoothness of the shots used to introduce the Microsoft Studio Surface, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The guys at Motorized Precision who introduced KIRA robotic arm at NAB 2017 are taking pre-orders for the MIA, their latest robotic arm. It’s smaller, about as portable as a fridge is on wheels, and can plug into any traditional single phase wall socket. It holds up to a 22lb camera package, the arm itself weighs 120lbs and it comes with a standard six-meter track. If you want to see what it's capable of go watch Thor: Ragnarok, which used the KIRA for many of their shots. The video shows what the KIRA 1.0 could do.
Sometimes our creations behind the camera simply cannot be taken with just one frame, or perhaps you cannot travel to the destinations that would work perfectly with your concept. This is why some photographers choose to composite their images. Antti Karppinen shows off his most used composite image technique from his latest project "Kuopio Inspiration is a Force of Nature."
I absolutely love shooting commercial work in the studio. Who doesn't? Shooting in a studio environment allows the photographer full control over the lighting and the subject. It also allows for full creative freedom over what you can composite into the shot if needed by easily matching up the lighting. Earlier this week I had a few hours of downtime and decided to shoot a bottle of Bacardi Dark Rum in my studio. Using a softbox I built myself a few weeks ago, I decided to take it on a test run using the bottle of Rum as my subject.
A little over a year ago, I came to a point of wanting to take the next step in growing my photography business. To me, opening a studio space made the most sense. The ability to have a dedicated place to work, meet clients, and sell prints out of, as well as wanting a way to make my business appear more legitimate, all factored in to why I believed a studio space was the next step. I recently finished up my first year of having a studio, and although it has been successful and definitely worth it, I wish I would have had a better idea of the costs you can forget about when budgeting for a space.
Over the years of using my personal set of studio lights, I've found I've become increasingly frustrated with the growing cost of equipment such as softboxes and scrims. While these are necessary when shooting in a studio, I couldn't justify spending all that money for a massive softbox when it's actually quite easy to build one yourself. All it takes is a bit of time and effort, but once you're done, you're left with a solid sense of achievement and a light modifier that has a lot to offer.
Careful selection is the first and most important step in our creation process that is often left out of conversation. Nearly every client I photograph asks me "How do you choose?" It's actually a great question. After perfecting this process, I guarantee your solid and confident answer will blow their mind.
Since moving into my new house about a month ago, I've been thinking more and more about creating my own studio setup using as little resources as possible. As much as I'd love to own a huge Profoto Octa in my house, it's just not always possible. So why not build your own lighting rigs using equipment readily available at your nearest hardware store?
Cable management is one task that for me is bizarrely fun and rewarding. In my last article, I wrote about creating a DIY portable charging station built out of a Craftsman tool box that is serving me quite well in the studio and in the field. Clients have been impressed with the simplicity and intentional design in keeping a lot of gear charged. It communicates quite a bit about how you take care of your investments. Here are a few tips to help you manage the clutter in your office or studio.
Take a look at any boudoir image and a trained eye will see the lighting, posing, and of course the wardrobe. Attention to detail in how each look flatters your client will go a long way. This guide will list where to shop whether on a budget or having the ability to stock your studio with high-end lingerie.