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Hey guys,

So things are quite busy in Paris since I've gotten here, and no doubt that when my semester begins my free time will quickly dwindle. However, I've really wanted to try and see if I could do some studio work. I love outdoors photography and I am also trying to invest more into it, by getting some reflectors, for example. I've always been so content with my results and so aware of how broke I am, that I never invested even in basic things like that or an external flash. But anyways...

My question to you is, what are the bare minimums to make a studio in your own apartment? It would be quite small, since there is not much space in my, what is the minimum amount of space needed to setup your own little studio area? And what are the key elements in terms of the setup, lighting, etc, that you absolutely cannot do studio photography without?

I'd love to hear recommendations on brands and lighting techniques etc. I have very little money, so with this restriction, on top of space restriction, I wonder if it'd even be possible.

The other alternative is to rent an already set up studio, but I wouldn't rent it on a monthly basis, I'd only rent it on a daily basis...but that gets to be quite expensive so I'm not sure...
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morbidman187 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:paranoid: I obviously am not a studio photographer but I may be able to ramble enough to make things almost as bad as our lens talks with some of the things you are interested in. 
Yuukon Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016   Writer
I used to work in a small studiospace some years ago, and we only had some "essentials". We were lucky enough to some backgroundrolls, but you can also create a lovely background with a sheet or just a nice wall. One thing I felt I couldn't go without was two decent flashes with softboxes. You can do a lot with only one, but results are much better when you have two. You can work with speedlites, they often have a remote function nowadays and aren't too pricy. You can put them on tripods or just a pile of books, whichever works. They often come with some sort of diffusion system and a remote, so if you have two of those you can already do a lot. 
If you have nice windows you could chose to work with daylight, but in my experience, it's never what you need it to be. Softboxes can be made with sheets of white paper, reflection screens can also be white paper... there are a lot of very cheap options out there. But I'd go with two flashes/speedlites for sure. :nod:

(Hours later I realized I forgot to hit submit comment.... :dummy:)
Kendra-Paige Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016   Photographer
The big concern with small studio spaces isn't so much width and length, but height. If the ceilings are too low, it will reflect your lighting and therefore muddy the lighting you're trying to get.

While budget is always a concern, I am a huge proponent of investing in the must-haves slowly, so you get quality equipment without breaking the bank. That said, my top brand is always Elinchrom for the entry to mid-level, with Alien Bees as another recommendation. Impact makes a lot of affordable modifiers, which would work beautifully with an Elinchrom or Alien Bees set.

I would invest in one monolight, and in basic modifiers: beauty dish, softbox, 9" reflector, and hand-held reflector. This way you can explore studio lighting with the ability to modify, as one light setups are remarkably effective.

Depending on the size of your space, I'd also highly recommend building v-flats for yourself, to help block out or fill in light. While not the prettiest option, taking black cinefoil to your ceiling can also remove bouncing light if you have low ceilings.

Renting a studio to experiment with their available lights and modifiers is also a great option, if their rates are affordable. This way you can try before you buy.

Hope that helps! 
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for all the advice Kendra! It helps me a lot to either confirm or make me rethink some of the info I've found throughout my research. The more I read, and the more I examine my new apartment, the more I think it might just be too challenging to find the appropriate amount of I suppose I'm just going to have to try and invest more either by renting a studio, or just focusing on improving my outdoor portraits I suppose! I'm already looking into buying a nice set of reflectors (I was actually looking into larger ones, around 43inches, to place on a stand and shoot with...I've read mixed things about using large ones versus smaller ones, depending on the situation etc...I imagine it'd be useful to also add on handheld ones as well).
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Submitted on
August 17, 2016


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