How to Build an Affordable Photo Studio

Flash Photography Sample (4)

Creative studio photography can be both challenging and rewarding. In the beginning, when we just start taking the first baby steps to improve our photography skills, we always start out by utilizing available light. It does not take very long for most people to figure out that it can be extremely difficult to create beautiful photographs in low light environments, especially indoors. Naturally, we start looking for answers on how to get around the low light problem and we end up buying faster lenses and better cameras. Only to find out later that even better and more expensive camera gear cannot properly capture a badly-lit scene. The last resort then becomes flash photography – a subject that scares the heck out of many photographers out there.

Flash Photography Sample (4)

[Read more...]

Impact Two-Light Digital Light Shed Kit Review

Impact 2-Light Digital Light Shed Kit

Do you need to take photos of small objects or products, maybe in order to sell something on E-Bay or Craigslist? You could make a white walled box out of paper or sheets, but doing so can be a bit of a hassle. What if you had a pre-assembled light shed that is easy to set up and quick to take down? The Impact Two-Light Digital Light Shed Kit is a ready to go kit to help you take product shots easier. Let’s take a look at it and its capabilities in more detail.

Impact 2-Light Digital Light Shed Kit

1) Product Information and Specifications

What’s Included:
1. Impact’s Extra Large Digital Light Shed is a high-quality, translucent cloth material housing for photographing small and medium products that can be lit with daylight, HMI, electronic flash, fluorescent, quartz and tungsten light sources.

[Read more...]

Impact Background System Kit Review

Impact Background Support System

Every photographer knows that a background can make or break a photo and for that reason a clean, non-busy background is desirable for many photos. Having a light, portable and inexpensive system is helpful for both portraits as well as product photography and the Impact Background System Kit with 10′x12′ Black and White Muslins may fill that need for you. The kit for this quick review of how it handles has been kindly provided by B&H Photo.

1) Product Information and Specifications

What’s Included:
a.Impact Background Support System – 12′Wide
The Impact 12′ Background Support System will support seamless paper up to 11′ in width, as well as accommodate the 12′ width of any brand of muslin background. Total weight distributed across the length of the crossbar should not exceed 20 lb.

[Read more...]

Impact Fluorescent Cool Light Kit Review

Impact Cool Light-2

This is a review of the Impact Flourescent Cool Light Two Fixture Kit. When most people think of studio lighting, they think of flash or strobe lighting. There is another option, though. Continuous light sources are a great alternative. They allow you to see exactly how the light is going to fall on your subject, you can see the ratio of light to shadow, and they are much easier to use if you’re using multiple lights and don’t have a lot of studio experience. Additionally, you can use them to light video. I was very excited to test out these Impact fluorescent lights in my studio to see if they’d be something I could add to my lighting arsenal.

1) Product Specifications

Input Voltage – 120VAC
Lamps – 5 (per head)
Ballast – In each bulb of choice
Reflector size – 18.5″
Mounting – Standard 5/8″

[Read more...]

Impact Portrait Kit Review

Impact-Portrait-Kit-3

This is a quick review of the Impact Portrait Kit. The kit includes a snoot and a beauty dish with accessories that include grids and colored gels. All of these modifiers are made to fit onto almost any on-camera flash. I was initially skeptical about how well they would work while shooting portraits, especially considering that on the packaging it only shows examples of product photography.

1) Product Specifications

Mounts to Any On-Camera Flash
Dish Reflector with 3 Interior Discs
Three Grids
Neutral Filter to Reduce Light Output
Three Color Filters
Snoot for Narrow Circle of Light
Snoot has 2 grids

2) Packaging and Field Use

The Portrait Kit is shipped in three boxes: a beauty dish, beauty dish accessories and a snoot. Each box is the standalone retail box that you would receive if you were to purchase them individually. They are securely packaged inside of the boxes.

[Read more...]

Impact Quickbox Softbox Review

Impact Quickbox Softbox-1

This is a review of the Impact Quickbox Softbox. It’s a 24”x24” collapsible softbox that’s made to be used with any hot shoe mountable flash unit. I was pretty excited to use this softbox, as I’ve never had a light modifier for my Speedlights that I felt was suitable for portraits. Would this be an acceptable, more portable replacement for my studio lighting kit?

1) Product Specifications

Size – 24 x 24″ (61 x 61 cm)
Shape – Square
Compatibility – Shoe-mount flash
Removable Front Face – Yes
Removable Interior Baffle – Yes
Accepts Grids – Yes
Required Speed Ring – Included
Weight – 2.8 lb (1.270 kg) [entire system]

[Read more...]

Impact 7″ Grid Set Review

Impact Grid Set-1

This is a quick review of the Impact 7” Grid Set. This grid set comes with 10°, 20°, 30° and 40° grids that fit into standard 7” reflectors. I was happy to find that they work perfectly with my Alien Bees and I’m sure they would work just fine with most other lighting systems that use 7” reflectors (although they apparently don’t work with Broncolor or Profoto systems). I typically grid my lights to add a controlled splash of light on a background. I also use them when I shoot with a hair or rim light on my subject and want to avoid light spill and flare.

Impact Grid Set-1

1) Product Specifications

- Includes four 7” grids (10/20/30/40-degrees)
- Each grid has a tension spring to ensure a tight fit in the reflector
- Each grid has a tab specifying the grid size, which is also used to remove the grid from the reflector

2) Packaging and Field Use

The first thing I noticed about this grid set was that the 40° grid was packaged in a different box than the rest of the grids. It’s box is a sturdy brown cardboard while the rest are packaged in flimsy white cardboard boxes. If all of the boxes were made of the sturdy brown cardboard, they would be perfect for storage and transportation. Instead, you’ll probably want to find an alternate way to store your grids when they’re not in use so that they don’t get damaged.

Impact Grid Set-8

[Read more...]

Impact Air Cushioned Heavy Duty 13′ Light Stand Review

Impact Lightstand-1

This is a quick review of the Impact Air Cushioned Heavy Duty 13’ Light Stand. As soon as I received this stand, I started using it in my studio. I thought it looked great and felt like it would be sturdy, but how would it hold up under actual use?

1) Product Specifications

General
Minimum Height – 44 in (112 cm)
Maximum Height – 13 ft (4 M)
Closed Length – 42 in (107 cm)
Footprint Diameter – 36 in (91 cm)
Leg Tip – 25mm
Weight – 5 lbs (2.3 kg)
Maximum Load – 10 lbs (4.5 kg)
Attachment Size – 5/8″ stud with 1/4″-20 threaded top
Accepts Wheels – Yes
Air Cushioned – Yes

[Read more...]

Impact 52” Collapsible Circular Reflector Review

Impact 52 inch reflector 1

This is a review of the Impact 52” Silver/White Collapsible Circular Reflector Disc. It is commonly used for bouncing natural light or flash onto subjects when taking their portrait. I use reflectors with almost all of my portrait work and consider them to be an indispensable tool that I always have with me. I’m used to using a smaller, 30” Lastolite TriGrip by myself, so I was curious to see if I’d still be able to use such a big reflector without the help of an assistant.

Impact 52 inch reflector 1

As you can see, with a little creativity it can definitely be used without an assistant! This should also give you an idea of the size of this reflector.

This reflector has two sides, a white side that’s great for adding some fill light, and a silver side that can provide enough light to act as a key light or just add some much needed fill light to a portrait. I typically use a soft silver reflector (which has both silver and white lines on the same side), so I wasn’t sure which side of this reflector I’d end up using the most. I knew that because of the size of the reflector, I’d get some nice soft light, but would the white side give me enough light? Would the silver side be too harsh? There’s only one way to find out, so I took the plunge and started using it.

1) Product Specifications

1. Shape – Circular
2. Size Open – 52”
3. Size Collapsed – ⅓ open size (18”)
4. Surfaces – Silver, white reflective

[Read more...]