Wednesday , March 29 2017
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Studio Lighting

MOST USEFUL DSLR ACCESSORIES … STUDIO LIGHTING

(Including, props, quirky tips, backdrops and a special mention for the God of photography, Photoshop!)

A mischievous guide by Antoine De Bent

Now here’s an opportunity to really have some fun; buy yourself a set of studio flash lights and create a studio in that spare bedroom. I have such happy memories of doing exactly that, about 200 years ago if my memory serves me right.

The thing is, a studio sets new challenges and opportunities; get it right and, believe it or not, people will actually pay to be photographed; the Brits just love studio portraiture!

In fact, studios are one of many ways for you to make money with a camera. Enough of that for now, making money from your camera is a whole new subject for a whole new day!

Studio equipment, these days, is generally lightweight, portable and easily erected and dismantled; some sets, such as the Godox DE-300 flash light kit, pictured above, actually come with a carrying case. Have studio will travel!

Bestseller No. 1
BPS Photography Continuous Lighting Real 125W 5500K Light Bulb 50x70cm Soft box with Boom Arm for professional photography 1x Automatic Assembly SOFTBOX + 1x 125W Bulbs Lamp + 1x Boom arm with 2.6m sturdy stand- UK Plug
  • 【Flexible】Suitable for commercial photography, videography, interviews, digital and family portraits with any Backgrounds, Photography Table and Light Tent to diffuse the shadows
  • 【Strong Lighting Stand】2.6M Big Aluminum alloy Lighting Stand, Fully Adjustable from 80cm-260cm, Maximum load capacity: 7kg. Tripod Section diameter: 29mm/25mm/22mm
  • 【Multifunctional Softbox】With removable front diffuser and E27 socket, you can directly connect light bulbs, fluorescent lamps, or slave flash to offer the light
  • 【Telescopic Boom Arm】With 2 sections extending from 72cm to 128cm, which adequately lights a number of different angles
  • 【Real 125W Light Bulb】Photo light bulb 125W CFL 5500K (equivalent to approx. 625W normal lamp), Daylight Balanced Pure White Light, Low operating temperature, CE approved, ROHS standard. General colour rendering index (CRI) Ra>92
Bestseller No. 2
BPS Photography Continuous Soft Box Lighting Kit Photo Video Studio Control Separately 15 x Lamps 2850W 3 x20"x28"/50x70cm Softboxes + 15 x 190W 5400k Daywhite Bulbs + 3 x E27 5-Socket Light Heads + 2 x 2m adjustable Light Stand + 2.8m Boom Light Stand Support + Boom Arm + Carry Bag
  • 【Control Free Light Head】Light heads equipped with fuse,avoid the short circuit fire danger,made of ceramic integrates heat-resistant,@each lampholder has a switch for each bulb@ on the back offering the ultimate in versatility regarding the strength of light for each softbox
  • 【15x190W Light Bulbs】5 x 38W bulb(equals to 190W regular incandescent) in each softbox give harmonious lighting, reduce the extreme highlights and sharp shadows which would be produced from direct lights,E27 socket,5400K, pure white daylight provide ideal & natural light colour temperature for photography
  • 【High-Quality Soft Box】50 x 70cm(20" x 28")softbox constructed with a highly reflective inner surface and a photography grade white diffuser to create a natural diffused light,the white diffuser can be removed from the softbox if a direct floodlight effect is desired
  • 【Strong but Light-weight Stand】2x 200cm light stand + 76cm - 280cm light suooport + 72cm - 130cm boom arm support,constructed from aluminum alloy,giving it exceptional strength for heavy duty work.tripod Section diameter 25.2mm/22.2mm/19.3mm & 29/25/22/19mm & 16mm/14mm/14mm,Its solid locking capabilities ensure the safety of your lighting equipment when in use
  • 【Boom Arm with Sandbag】Boom Arm Kit with sandbag can be integrated perfectly with any additional studio light stand to make a hair light boom stand in order to eliminate shadow or glares.Carrying Bag ensure your studio kit when not in use is properly protected from dirt,moisture,dust and damage.
Bestseller No. 3
BPS Adjustable 3x2.8m(10ft*9ft) Pro Portable Heavy-Duty Backdrop Support System Kit 3m * 2.8m- Tripod is adjustable + Carry Bag- Professional Photo Studio Backgrounds Kit
  • Maximum operation height: 2.8m, Width: 3m ( 2 x Crossbars, Adjustable from 1.5m-3m )
  • Material: Aluminum alloy, lightweight and easy to set up
  • Load capacity: 6kg, suitable for different backdrops kit,such as 1.6x2.8m,1.6x3m,2.8x3m,3x6m,muslin,cotton,non woven fabric backdrop or paper one
  • High quality Tripod Section --with three clip locks which is also to be used with the boom arm light
  • A carry case let you carry and transport it easily
Bestseller No. 4
BPS 900W Studio Flash Light Set Softbox Lighting Kit 3x 300DI Studio Light, Barn Doors w/ 4 filters, A wireless radio 16-channel trigger set, Umbrellas, Light Stands, Soft Boxes- photography lighting
  • 【Smart & Easier】 5600k+/-100k flash strobe lights is equipped over-temperature protection function, can be triggered by photocell, sync cable, test button,quite convenient for you to control.Flash power control is 1.0-6.0 1/32 stepless adjustment, while the modeling power control supports 1.0-6.0 stepless adjustment/auto adjustment/independent adjustment/off/auto off during charging.
  • 【Farther & Stronger】Transmitter&Receiver and Light Stand. 16 channel wireless Radio trigger: Sync speed: 1/200 sec , One receiver can trigger 3 flash lights,Outdoor operation distance: >= 20 ~ 30m ,Indoor operation distance: >=20m. The professional light stand was made from more stronger aluminum, the max load capacity is 7.5Kg and can be fully extended to 2M.
  • 【Brighter & Softer】Umbrellas and Soft box. The 33inch umbrellas are made of high quality Nylon and the softbox is made of high reflective fabric, is able to reflect light emitted by the flash in the max extent. Besides, its bowens bayonet design is suitable for most flash. The double soft cloth could produce softer light compared with common cloth.
  • 【Lighter & Thicker】Our kit bag has 10mm neoprene walls to protect the gear inside. We also include internal dividers. Stands go at the buttom. Waterproofing and wear-resisting ,Material: Oxford, 75x25x25cm , Lightweight.
  • 【1 Year Warranty】 Professional Photography Studio Setting for Perfect Shooting,video.100% new with high quantity.Complete package for setting up your own lighting system.1 Year Warranty
Bestseller No. 5
BPS 1250W Pro Photography Continuous Lighting Kit 50 x 70cm soft box kit and Black chromakey Green White Backdrops Softbox Equipment Kit Portable Photo Studio with 2 x 125W 5500K Lamp Bulbs + Free Heavy Duty Carry Bag ( 3m cable, UK plug, E27 Socket )
74 Reviews
BPS 1250W Pro Photography Continuous Lighting Kit 50 x 70cm soft box kit and Black chromakey Green White Backdrops Softbox Equipment Kit Portable Photo Studio with 2 x 125W 5500K Lamp Bulbs + Free Heavy Duty Carry Bag ( 3m cable, UK plug, E27 Socket )
  • 【Complete Photography Lighting Kit】Continuous lighting kit and backdrop stand set,portable carry bag included, easy to transport and store
  • 【Easy to set up】Flicker Free , Ideal for portraits, studio, photography and video,Set up in minutes to offer you a professional result
  • 【Light weight Stand】Aluminum alloy Lighting Stand,Ak dustable Anti-Shoc, Fully Adjustable Durable and lightweight,tripod Section diameter: 25.2mm/22.2mm/19.3mm(stronger than others)
  • 【High-quality lighting kit】2 x soft boxes, 2 x light stands,2 x 125w fluorescent bulbs.Daylight Balanced Pure White Light,90+ general colour rendering index (CRI). Bulbs Size:125W, 28x8.8cm (better than others:135W, 24x7.8cm)
  • 【Three colors backdrops】Backdrops: 3m x 1.6m , White & chroma key green & black , Seamless one piece backdrop , Non-woven Fabrics Material

I can see that catch-line emblazoned across the back of your car already.

How much is all this going to cost I hear you squeak! Well, surprisingly, the answer is, not a lot. A cheap set of lights with stands and reflective brollies could set you back as little as £100.

The cheaper outfits are generally ‘imports’; I have used them and they’re quite impressive, although I did once have a set, purchased from a well-known camera chain store, they had a most unusual feature in that, every time I touched one my hair curled; they’re gone, along with most of my hair.

The discerning photographer would probably spend a little extra on a more renowned brand such as Bowens.

What then, ideally do you need to start-up?

  1. A room
  2. At least two studio flashlights, although you can get interesting results from just the one
  3.  Two support poles for the lights
  4. Two brollies or other kinds of diffusers
  5. A background, backdrop or set

OK, I left out camera and the goodwill of your spouse.

Bestseller No. 1
RPGT® Photography Softbox Studio Continuous Lighting Kit with 2x80W 5500K Bulbs 50 x70 cm Softboxes 2M Light Stand
  • The complete lighting kit would be a good addition for your shooting. Great for both video filming and photo taking.
  • These high-output daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs are ideally suited for digital photography. They also have very low heat so they don't get hot like the more common photo bulb choices.
Bestseller No. 2
Abeststudio 135W Continuous Lighting Kit 50x70cm Softbox Soft Box Photo Studio 5500K Soft box Kit -Softboxes + Fully Adjustable Aluminum alloy Light Stand+135W Photo Studio Light Bulbs
  • 1 x soft boxes, 1 x light stands, 1 x 135w fluorescent bulbs,continuous lighting kit.
  • Aluminum alloy Lighting Stand, Adjustable Anti-Shock , Durable and lightweight, Tripod Section diameter: 25.2mm/22.2mm/19.3mm
  • Photo light bulb 135W CFL 5500K (equivalent to approx. 675W normal lamp),Daylight Balanced Pure White Light,90+ general colour rendering index (CRI)
  • 50x70cm softbox reflector with removable front diffuser,easy to set up. uk plug
  • Flicker Free , Ideal for portraits, studio, photography and video,Set up in minutes to offer you a professional result
Bestseller No. 3
Neewer® 700W Professional Photography 24"x24"/60x60cm Softbox with E27 Socket Light Lighting Kit for Photo Studio Portraits, Product Photography and Video Shooting
  • The kit included:(2)24"X24"/60x60cm Softbox+(2)85W 5500K CFL Light Bulb+(2)88"/224cm Light Stand +(1)Carrying Bag
  • This professional kit is perfect for advertising products,photo-art,industrial,scientific and technical photography,photographic reproduction.
  • (2)24"X24"/60x60cm Softbox:Softbox diffuses the light and gives you perfect even lighting when you need for the best shots possible.With E27 socket,you can directly connect light bulbs,fluorescent lamps,or slave flash to offer the light.
  • (2)85W 5500K CFL Light Bulb:Low operating temperature so they don't get hot like the more common photo bulb choices.Provide bright enviroment for taking product photo.
  • (2)88"/224cm Light Stand:Constructed from aluminum alloy,giving them exceptional strength for heavy duty work.And use quick single action locks,providing fast precision height adjustment.(1)Comes with carrying bag to transport and protect the euipment easily.
Bestseller No. 4
BPS 1250W Softbox Studio Lighting Kit 50x70cm/20"x28" Photography Soft Box Continuous Lighting Set with Carry Bag - 50cm x 70cm Softboxes + Fully Adjustable Aluminum alloy Light Stand + 125W Photo Studio Light Bulbs + Heavy Duty Portable Carry Bag
  • Photo light bulb 2 x 125W CFL 5500K (equivalent to approx. 2 x 625W normal lamp),Daylight Balanced Pure White Light, General colour rendering index (CRI) Ra>92
  • 50x70cm/20"x28" softbox reflector with removable front diffuser,easy to set up. 3m cable, UK plug, E27 socket
  • Aluminum alloy Lighting Stand, Adjustable Anti-Shock , Durable and lightweight, Tripod Section diameter: 25.2mm/22.2mm/19.3mm(stronger than others)
  • 2 x soft boxes, 2 x light stands,2 x 125w fluorescent bulbs,continuous lighting kit, Portable carry bag included, easy to transport and store
  • Flicker Free , Ideal for portraits, studio, photography and video,Set up in minutes to offer you a professional result
Bestseller No. 5
ESDDI Photography Lighting Umbrella with 5x 85W 5500K Studio Light Bulbs+ 3x Light Stands+ 2x Double Lamp+ 1x Single Lamp+ 2x White Umbrella Reflector+ 1x Carry Bag
8 Reviews
ESDDI Photography Lighting Umbrella with 5x 85W 5500K Studio Light Bulbs+ 3x Light Stands+ 2x Double Lamp+ 1x Single Lamp+ 2x White Umbrella Reflector+ 1x Carry Bag
  • Get in the kit: 2x Soft White Umbrella + 5x 85W 5500K bulb (2x double lamp + 1x single lamp) + 2x adjustable light stand + 2x 220v 50Hz light holder + 1 x bag.

  • 2x soft light umbrella: The white umbrella reflector may provide expansion of the soft and smooth light and remove ugly shadow.

  • 5x 85W 5500K bulb: Get 2x double lamp + 1x single lamp. Enter high temperature resistance for a long time continuously. Provide bright environment for recording product photo.

  • 2x light stand: aluminum alloy, suitable for heavy work. Use the stable adjustable tripod,Can withstand the greater gravity.

  • Easy to carry and transport with a carrying bag. Best choice for amateur photographers. Ideal for portraits, studio, photography and video.

There are two main options for creating a softer more flattering light suited for portraiture. One is the traditional brolly that reflects light and the other is a soft box style whereby the light is diffused by passing through a translucent material. Both options are effective.

Back in the day, studio lighting had to be triggered using a maze of trip-over-able wires and leads; today it’s wire free thanks to the wizardry of infrared and such like. This makes lights so much easier to manoeuvre.

STUDIO BACKDROPS

Backdrop systems are always a problem for studio photographers, some prefer to create a set, utilising and embellishing, the features of a room, staircase, fireplace etc. Fair enough, great idea.

Bestseller No. 1
Neewer 11.4 cm Heavy Duty Muslin Spring Clamps Clips Set for Photo Studio Backdrops (Pack of 6)
  • Heavy-duty reinforced nylon construction
  • Rounded handles for comfortable grip
  • Hardened, steel pivot and spring for durability
  • Strong clamps to fit onto most standard sized stands
  • Grips the background to the backdrop stand
Bestseller No. 2
Phot-R Professional 2x3m Adjustable Portable Heavy Duty Photo Studio Backdrop Background Support System Stand 2x2m Light Stands 3m Crossbar Lighting Photography + Carry Case
  • You can set up your very own photo studio at home or in the office. Suitable for all levels of photographers from amateurs to professionals. It is large enough for most photographic occasions such as shoots for full portrait shots of small groups of people, web retailers and commercial product catalogues.
  • Portable design, high quality and durable. Fits all items perfectly into the carry case that is included making it ideal for transporting to different locations outside your studio. Also protecting your items from dirt, dust and damage.
  • Backdrop Support System is heavy duty and especially suitable for holding most background backdrops that are up to 3m. Great for home and professional studio use.The Phot-R 2 x 3m Background Support System consists of 2 fully adjustable stands and a four-piece crossbar, made from aluminium for strength and portability.The system assembles in seconds and can be adjusted in height up to 2m. Width can be altered by removing sections of the crossbar
  • Our fully adjustable 2m stands are made from aluminium alloy with a professional black satin finish. They are lightweight and extremely easy to set up. Easily adjust the width by removing a section of the crossbar.
  • Folded Height: 68cm, Minimum Height: 72cm, Maximum Height: 200cm, Minimum Crossbar width: 1.5m, Maximum Crossbar width: 3m
Bestseller No. 3
BPS Adjustable Heavy duty Backdrop Support Stand Kit -1.6 x 3m Black White Backdrop screen + Background Support System + Carry bag- Photo Studio Photography Set- Photo Studio Background Stand Support Kit
  • 【Easy to Set Up】Professional Photography Studio Setting Kit ,Easy folded, stretched and setup . Comes with durable Oxford fabric carry bag, portable design
  • 【Strong but Light-weight Stand】Adjustable Background Support Stand: Made of aluminum alloy with black matte surface, light weight ,but stronger than iron ones
  • 【Fully Adjustable Crossbars】Load capacity:6kg. Tripod Section diameter: 25.2mm/22.2mm/19.1mm , sturdy , can be used as light stand if needed. 2 x Telescopic Crossbar (diameter:25.2mm),more Stable than 3 separate crossbars
  • 【High-quality Backdrops】2 x 1.6x3m Non Woven fabric Backdrops(White/Black)
  • 【Multifunctional】This kit is large enough for most photography such as to shoot full portrait shots of a small Groupe of people or provide a full background for a variety of poses of a model in a Sitting, Standing or even Lying position.
Bestseller No. 4
Neewer® 5.25ft x 10.5ft/1.6x3M Non-Woven Fabric Backdrop Background Cloth for Photo Studio Portrait Photography Video Shooting (Black)
  • The backdrop is large enough for most photographic occasions,great for studio and portrait shooting.
  • The background is 10.5ft/3M long by 5.25ft/1.6M wide.
  • Made from durable non-woven fabrics, which is a good alternative product for professional background cloth.
  • Completely seamless,one pieces of material design.It could be as a replacement for muslin cotton backdrop.
  • Crimped along the edges to prevent tearing.Easy to fold.Note:The stand is NOT included.
Bestseller No. 5
Excelvan® Studio Photo Portable Backdrop Stand Kit - 10x6.5 ft Stand + 3 x 9ft(L) x 6ft(W) Photography Backgrounds (Green/Black/White) + 2 Backdrop Clamps + Carry Bag (Black) for Photography and Portrait
  • This backdrop stand kit includes 1 backdrop support stand,3 Non-woven backdrops/backgrounds(Black,White,Green),2 background clamps and a carrying case (free gift)
  • 【Background Support】Made of lightweight metal,it's a strong but lightweight piece, with assembly frames for suitable background of objects in different size,fitting for both fabric (canvas/Non-woven) and paper backgrounds. It supports backdrop up to 10ft in width and extend to maximum height of 6.5ft,two bars are adjustable from 2.7ft to 5ft. Besides, it can be set up in minutes and stored in portable carrying case, a best solution for your professional photo studio.
  • 【Backgrounds】Note: Non-woven Backdrop may come with wrinkles due to the packaging. Please kindly iron it to make it smooth before using.It's the The Non-woven backdrop most popular and indispensable backdrops for your photo studio.
  • 【Background Clamps and Carry case】 Ideal for office and home use,able to clamp 2" Max. thickness.With moveable clamp teeth to hold backdrop or other items tightly,it is essential accessory for photo studio. The free gift carrying case(Valued $13.99) is included for your convenience, suitable for one set of background support.
  • The brand new portable background support stand kit is extremely suitable for all level photographers from amateurs to professionals, it is a perfect solution to produce photo and video for web retailers and commercial product catalog, especially for costume and portrait. With our wonderful backdrop support stand kit, you can take perfect photos everywhere anytime.

However, studio photography has become a tad stylised, people expect what’s gone before; what their friends had, what’s in vogue.

There are now so many backdrop variations; cloths, vinyls, silk, canvas, light projections to name but a few. The themed, one-off backgrounds are most imaginative and often extremely pleasing on the eye. Just look at that Christmas scene! No, it’s not tacky!

(I’ve scattered one or two backdrops/props within this article, courtesy of Amazon. The window ‘drop’ is made from a wipe-able canvas material.)

There are various backdrops available, plain colours from black and white to purple and green; Colorama were, and still are, very popular backdrop papers. The papers come in rolls, small and large, that need to be supported by a cross pole as shown in the above image. Backdrops need to be well lit tin order to eliminate shadows cast by overpowering front lighting.

You could invest in another set of smaller back lights to fill in that shadow behind the subject; or you could use a very dark backdrop that won’t shadow easily. Experiment, be critical and take advice.

Here’s a useful little gadget … the slave unit! Just plug your flashlight/gun into it and bingo! It’ll flash when triggered by any other flash within range, a great, quick way to fill-in background shadows; underused and underrated. One for the camera bag too, as it can be used away from the studio to great effect!

STUDIO PROPS

Ha, got to laugh, my first studio prop was a rubber plant! They were the in thing at the time, along with flares and the mullet hair disaster, as modelled by footballer Chris Waddle: really, what were we thinking of?

Lost my train of thought; ah, the rubber plant! Mine died.

Thankfully, so has the demand for portraiture with random foliage in the background. Nowadays props are much more imaginative, more bonkers in many instances; remember, the public gets what the public wants! Wasn’t that a lyric? Yes, the Jam.

There’s no need to spend a fortune on props, the cute half-moon basket (baby extra), by Generic, really is a simple idea that, with the child’s permission, works well.

Bestseller No. 1
Sunny Star 7X5FT/210X150cm Valentine's Day Thin Vinyl Seamless Photo Backdrops Customized Studio Background Studio Props For Studio/Party/ Decorations 9599
  • Size:Wide 2.1m wide x high 1.5m. Lightweight, easy storage and carry.
  • Material: Vinyl. Compare to paper and cloth backdrop, vinyl is waterproof, durable and winkle free.
  • Waterproof: Yes. Rich patterns, Strong, lasting wear, clear non-glare, etc.
  • Seams: No . Using a series of high-tech digital production equipment carefully made digital pictures inkjet pictures
  • Pole Slot: No. It can be used at many situations, such as getting together occasion, activities, graduation, weddings, work, any big events or decorations etc
Bestseller No. 2
LOVE-BABY Thin Vinyl Backdrop Classic Brick Wall With Wood Floor Photography Background 10X10FT/300x300cm Photo Props For Studio / Stage / Events DZ369
  • The material is vinyl, size is 10X10ft(3m x 3m).
  • It's not seamless. Because width of vinyl is only 5ft.And there is no pocket.
  • It can fold, easy to carry.
  • It can swab with water, easy to keep clean.
  • Our vinyl backdrops are waterproof, glare free and roll out flat.
Bestseller No. 3
Wooden Floor Background - SODIAL(R) Photo Background for Studio Props Wooden Floor Photography Backdrops Vinyl 5x7FT
  • Brand new and high quality. One Piece backdrop.
  • Computer-printed. Light and durable.
  • Easy to hang up straightly or naturally.
  • It is perfect for any professional or private photography.
  • It can be used at many situations, such as getting together occasion,weddings,work,graduation,activities,any big events or decorations etc.
Bestseller No. 4
Sunny Star 10X7FT/300X210cm Fairy Tale Scenery Thin Vinyl Photo Backdrops Customized Studio Background Studio Props For Studio/Party/ Decorations MP07
  • Size:Wide 3m wide x high 2.1m. Lightweight, easy storage and carry.
  • Material: Vinyl . Compare to paper and cloth backdrop, vinyl is waterproof, durable and winkle free.
  • Waterproof: Yes.Rich patterns, Strong, lasting wear, clear non-glare, etc.
  • Seams: It's not seamless. Because width of vinyl is only 5ft.Using a series of high-tech digital production equipment carefully made digital pictures inkjet pictures.
  • Pole Slot: No. It can be used at many situations, such as getting together occasion, activities, graduation, weddings, work, any big events or decorations etc
Bestseller No. 5
Sunny Star 5X7FT/150X210cm Easter Eggs Rabbits Mushroom Thin Vinyl Seamless Photo Backdrops Customized Studio Background Studio Props For Studio/Party/ Decorationsp QR38
1 Reviews
Sunny Star 5X7FT/150X210cm Easter Eggs Rabbits Mushroom Thin Vinyl Seamless Photo Backdrops Customized Studio Background Studio Props For Studio/Party/ Decorationsp QR38
  • Size:Wide 1.5m wide x high 2.1m. Lightweight, easy storage and carry.
  • Material: Vinyl. Compare to paper and cloth backdrop, vinyl is waterproof, durable and winkle free.
  • Waterproof: Yes. Rich patterns, Strong, lasting wear, clear non-glare, etc.
  • Seams: No . Using a series of high-tech digital production equipment carefully made digital pictures inkjet pictures
  • Pole Slot: No. It can be used at many situations, such as getting together occasion, activities, graduation, weddings, work, any big events or decorations etc

Shop around, charity shops are a great source of inspiration and bargains. Hats, beanbags, toys that’ll look cute and help keep attention, clothes for kids and adults; start making a wardrobe of styles and colours. Scarves are a simple prop that add instant colour and warmth to portraiture.

How about a bomber jacket for some glamour photography? Maybe, maybe not.

The red mushrooms (toadstools) are very quirky; a lovely way to lift your portraiture above the ordinary; professionally made, lightweight glass fibre construction. The barrel (below), by the way, is made of compressed foam; both props available by Walimex Pro on Amazon.

Whether you’re running a studio as a hobby or a profession, throw yourself into the project! You’ll be guaranteed fun, fun, fun all the way!

Times have changed. During the haydays of film photography a mistake had to remain a ‘mistake’.

Nowadays, Photoshop, and like computer programs, are available to correct your lighting and composition mistakes; arguably leading to sloppy camera and studio technique. Suffice to say, get the exposures and lighting right and thus minimise the hours spent on your computer trying to rescue the often un-rescuable.

However Photoshop is amazing! It is the industry standard of excellence.

PHOTOSHOP – a special feature, for a phenomena beyond special!

Photoshop has attributes much akin to that of our old companion, duct tape! They do have one thing in common; the means to salvage that which is defective.

I must confess, Photoshop has saved my bacon on quite a few occasions. Yes, I’ve added Uncle Albert in that all important family group; because the swine was absent, in the bar, at that crucial moment. And yes, I’ve removed that glowing ripe spot from the bride’s neck … guilty as charged, and mightily grateful to the photographer’s lifejacket that is Photoshop.

Bestseller No. 1
Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 (PC/Mac)
  • Adobe Photoshop Software help to Organize - It's easier than ever to find photos by the people in them, the places they were taken and the events they depict.
  • Edit - Make any snapshot extra-special with everything from one-click fixes to artistic looks.
  • Create - Surround yourself with your memories by creating beautiful collages, slideshows, calendars, scrapbook pages, and cards.
  • Fix photos by the batch - Edit a batch of photos at one time.
  • Share - Share with friends and family the way that works for you-Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and more.
Bestseller No. 2
Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book 2015 (Classroom in a Book (Adobe))
  • Andrew Faulkner, Conrad Chavez
  • Adobe
  • Edition no. Pap/Psc (2015-08-26)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
Bestseller No. 3
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan: Photoshop CC Plus Lightroom - 12-Month Licence - Download (PC/Mac)
  • The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan features the world's best photography tools, including Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom desktop, mobile, and web at an amazing price.
  • Do serious photography work anywhere with Lightroom mobile and integration with Adobe Photoshop Mix.
  • Always stay up to date. Automatically get access to the latest features and product updates.
  • Access an extensive library of video tutorials to get you up to speed quickly and master new skills.
Bestseller No. 4
Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 [Mac Download]
  • Capture the moment now, perfect the photo later. It's easy with Adobe Photoshop Elements 14.
  • NEW Bye-bye, camera shake - Your selfies' best friend! Just click to remove the camera shake that comes from unsteady hands.
  • NEW Never a hazy day - Easily remove haze to make the background as crisp as what's up front. Great for landscape shots.
  • ENHANCED Guidance at every step - Get the looks you're after with 34 Guided Edits. New options let you easily add a sense of motion to your photos and resize a photo to fit a certain frame.
  • ENHANCED Great looks for any photo - Elements analyzes the subject, color and lighting and gives you five effects that fit perfectly. Or start by picking an effect, and Elements brings it to life five different ways so you can choose the look you love best.
Bestseller No. 5
Photoshop Elements 15 For Dummies
11 Reviews
Photoshop Elements 15 For Dummies
  • Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova
  • John Wiley & Sons
  • Paperback: 448 pages

Photoshop will correct exposure issues, sharpen the somewhat out of focus, add colour to the bland and get Uncle Albert out of the bar!

How did we manage pre-Photoshop? Well, perhaps we took more care, sent a runner to grapple Albert from his pint; perhaps we took more pride in photographic techniques; although that spot really would have been an irreconcilable issue. Enough! No more of these diehard, things ain’t what they used to be, arguments! … Photoshop is simply brilliant!

Just take a look at these before and after photos of the running dogs. Took only, literally, a couple of minutes!

(Photo credit goes to Jackie Meaker, legs credit goes to Anne-Marie Meaker)

What’s more, Photoshop is terrific fun to use. For studio portraiture Photoshop is a Godsend; it’ll get rid of shadows, unwanted legs and can even open the child’s eyes; whilst you’re at it why not make them larger and bluer!

Photoshop can, indeed, be used to enlarge various parts of the human anatomy, see Page 3!

There are quite a few versions of Photoshop on the market, have a look on Amazon, set a budget, take the plunge and never look back.

Hey, just look at me, in the 21st century!

PHOTOSHOP, A TOY FOR BOYS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

A reality check:

Sometimes I really have to pinch myself, I started my studio in the spare bedroom, amid threats of divorce and strangulation. I ended up starting, and running, a retail photographic business, with photographic studio, for the next 30 years. Yes, I am a masochistic optimist.

The point being, apart from the fact I’m wonderful, how times have changed; my last set of portraits were shot, instantly projected onto a screen, sold, Photoshoped and printed within the hour.

By all means, in fact I insist, learn camera and studio techniques but also embrace the new digital technology; it makes photography and life so much easier.

Photoshop is here to stay, even if it’s just for your own gratification, get on board, buy a version now. I look young again, thanks to Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 (PC/Mac), available for around £70, let’s be honest even Harry Potter was never this good!

BOOKS

There are of course many books written on the subject of ‘studio photography’, including the use of Photoshop. Take a look on Amazon; so much choice, so many options.

Bestseller No. 1
Studio Photography and Lighting: Art and Techniques
19 Reviews
Studio Photography and Lighting: Art and Techniques
  • Christian Hough
  • The Crowood Press Ltd
  • Paperback: 160 pages
Bestseller No. 2
How to Set Up Photography Lighting for a Home Studio
  • Amber Richards
  • CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Paperback: 92 pages
Bestseller No. 3
Lighting People
4 Reviews
Lighting People
  • Rossella Vanon
  • Ilex Press
  • Edition no. 01 (2016-11-28)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
Bestseller No. 4
Studio Anywhere: A Photographer's Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations
  • Nick Fancher
  • Peachpit Press
  • Edition no. 01 (2015-03-30)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
Bestseller No. 5
Masterclass: Professional Studio Photography (Masterclass (Rocky Nook))
  • Dennis Savini
  • Rocky Nook
  • Edition no. 1 (2012-12-10)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages

Studio photography can be most diverse; from head and shoulders shots, dramatically lit from one side by an unfiltered light source, to photographing products for listing on Amazon, or other well-known sales sites.

Just think of the subjects and styles of photography available:

  • Family portraiture
  • Arty people portraiture
  • Product shots
  • Dogs, children and other animals
  • A little more risqué, boudoir style portraiture perhaps?
  • Natural light photography, using ambient daylight
  • Copy work, reproducing old family photos too large for the scanner

Come on use your imagination!

Books generally are a great source for ideas and learning techniques; however sometimes trial and error is simply more fun! Get in the studio and try out different ideas. Move the lights around, light your subject’s hair, from the front back and sides; makings of a joke there me thinks.

Perhaps buy some coloured filter to put over the flash lights; really, the world, in the immortal words of Hilda Ogden, is your lobster!

Here then are a few more extras you may wish to indulge in:

THE SNOOT

This cone fits over your flashlight head, it directs and concentrates the light to a targeted area, perhaps your subject’s hair. This particular snoot, by Docooler, comes with coloured filters, oh what joy, and a honeycomb grid that’ll split the light for more interesting effects.

You’ll need to ensure that any accessory you purchase is fully compatible with the lighting you have!

DUCT TAPE – seriously! AKA gaffer tape.

Sometimes you’ll get it wrong, you’ll purchase a piece of equipment that just won’t fit any of your existing studio gear, or you’ll need an emergency repair, or botch of some sort; bring on the mighty, lifesaving, incredible and legendry … duct tape.

Also very useful for that screeching child, you know, the one whose only aim in life is to ruin your, potentially lucrative, family portrait session; bless the little rascal … with duct tape!

Duct, or gaffer, tape can now be purchased in amazing colours and patterns; the roll pictured has a ‘Galaxy’ theme. Useful and funky!

No respectable photographer, nor criminal, would leave home without his, or her, duct tape; one for the camera or swag bag. I’m so hilarious.

Top tip most fun prop, and the award goes to …

THE BUBBLE GUN!

Translucent wobbly orbs of joyous soapy rainbows; babes and toddlers are transfixed and will reach tentatively to pop each little floating gem; a portrait of cuteness and concentration.

Even adults can’t resist a smile and the occasional ‘pop’.

Bubbles are cheerful, optimistic and colourful little fellows; they promise so much and then … poof … they’re gone; truly a reflection of life itself … (OK, I’ll stop now).

Seriously, try bubbles; they light so well. Although a lot of guns I’ve experimented with did tend to drip a tad; then again they were, shall we say, inexpensive imports. I never did try the bubble machines; more professional, more bubbles per pint and less dribbley, I assume.

There are also a variety of other, joy bringing, projectile apparatus available; party poppers, confetti, stones, rocks and snow machines.

OK, OK, this last offering is just a useful tip, a trivial inexpensive studio trick used by old lags like myself.

SELOTAPE – well that’s got your attention!

Why on earth, I hear you say, would Sellotape be considered a studio prop? Keep a roll to hand, trust me. In truth it doesn’t have to be the original Sellotape brand, just a clear and sticky similar product.

We’re back to that errant, uncooperative child; I was one myself once, so not making a criticism. Nevertheless, kids do behave like kids. In fact so do adults.

So what’s the trick? We are talking about, roughly, a 3 inch strip of tape.

Give the child a small strip of sticky tape; he, her or it, will immediately give the sticky tape their full attention. TAKE THE SHOT! The tape, being clear, is unlikely to show in the finished photo. If it does, go to … Photoshop.

In conclusion; creating a studio really is a most fulfilling and enjoyable exercise; you may have ready-to-hand subjects, usually your children or grandchildren.

Although, a studio works for all ages and egos. Your very sexy, bearded, spouse may also make a fine subject! And why not … although, she may find more lucrative work in a travelling circus… I’m so funny.