Shoot Like A Pro...
In Your Basement, Bedroom, Or Spare Room
One of the most difficult
obstacles to overcome for the aspiring studio photographer is the lack
of a proper space to shoot. Spare bedrooms, garages, attics, and basements
have all been transformed into makeshift studios, and most lack adequate
space to really establish a proper lighting setup.
While I have always sought
out a studio space with adequate ceiling height for my commercial work,
there was a period of time when I had no studio, yet often had the need
to shoot people or products in my own basement. While it wasn't
the most professional atmosphere, the results were topnotch and I am quite
sure that the pictures from the basement were no less professional than
those from my current studio. Obviously I wasn't anxious to have
my advertising clients visit, but at the time it was the best shooting
space I had. Years ago I worked for several wedding studios that were
located in the lower levels of houses, and we managed to shoot lots of
excellent portrait settings in very modest surroundings.
Get Low. Obviously
if your ceiling is low, you'll want to try and position your camera
as low as possible. Since a standard tabletop is 30" to 32"
high, you'll want to fashion your own shorter table for product
shots. I have had very good luck with a standard 32" wide hollow
core door supported by four milk crates.
Where Did I Put That
Lens? Working out of your home or a temporary working environment
is tough for a lot of reasons, but without a permanent place for your
gear you'll spend a lot of time searching for stuff. I have become
fond of those big red Craftsman tool boxes that mechanics have. They are
metal, can be locked, and offer very heavy-duty draw slides for heavy
stuff. I like the base units that come with casters and have deep draws
to swallow up medium format bodies and lenses. I store my light heads
in the bottom bin, and the computer that drives my digital studio camera
sits on top. I can move this rig anywhere in the studio and have my lenses,
flash heads, and film at my fingertips.