Ghetto Studio, Part 1

So Diana and I are aspiring photographers. That is to say that we both have an interest in photography but since we have a limited budget we feel limited in what we can do with the equipment we have. Enter the DIY Photography site, with ideas a-plenty! Today’s ideas are from this page and this page. All told, we didn’t spend too terribly much. Here’s a little break down:

2 plunger heads: 2@ $3 ea. $6
2 window washer poles, 8 – 12 feet: 2@ $17 ea. $34
2 large clamps: 2@ $1 ea.  $2
6 small clamps: 6@ $0.50 ea.  $3
2 2-yard sections of white ripstop nylon: 4@ $5.99/yard  $24
4 yards of 120” wide black muslin: 4@ $7.99/yard  $32
4 yards of 120” wide white muslin: 4@ $6.99/yard  $28

Total: $129

Okay, so I went a little nuts, but the initial results are well worth it.

Lighting is everything in photography. We have a fantastic pair of windows into our living room which are on the east side of our home. Early in the morning the light really streams in strongly. Too strong, in fact, for using as a photo light source. If only there was a way to diffuse the light a bit. Enter those 2-yard sections of white, ripstop nylon. This is exactly what light tents and soft-boxes use. I’m soft-boxing the sun! I used 4 of the 6 small clamps to hold the ripstop nylon to the top of the blinds.

Enter the plungers. Conveniently they are threaded for those little wooden handles. The same threads are on top of those window-washing poles. When selecting poles there are other poles at your local hardware store but they’ll cost more. The window washing ones were half the cost of comparable ones in the paint department. You must select poles that are telescoping and spin to lock, rather than the ones with snapping pins. You need to be able to adjust for any height and the pin type ones won’t do that. Gently thread the plunger heads onto the top of the poles. When done, space them appropriately and attach your muslin backdrop with the large clamps. We haven’t had a chance to dye our white one yet, so we shot these photos with just the black backdrop.

Here’s a peek at our setup:

This is a very quick snapshot so don’t critique how crappy it is. This is only here to show our soft-boxed sunlight on the right and the black muslin backdrop attached by large spring clamps to window-washing poles extended from floor to ceiling, padded at the top by plunger heads.

That was a horrible run-on sentence but it gets my point across. Enjoy some very rough samples taken of my children with no preparation. Some are still in their pajamas.

That’s about it. For more pictures visit my gallery where I have uploaded larger versions of these photos. If some of those look softer in their focus I did employ a +1 diffuser on a few of the shots to see how they’d look. Hey! This is for portrait work, a diffuser isn’t necessarily a bad thing in that environment.

This last photo is my favorite, though. I just like how the light was captured on Patience’s face.

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