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My photography setup

My photography setup published on No Comments on My photography setup

Someone on MWD asked what mine was. Since I recently consulted with a Green Mountain Camera employee who came over to my house to give me advice, I have improved my studio based on some of his recommendations. The setup below includes those innovations that I recently incorporated.


As for my photography setup… I shoot in a 9×9′ room with a door and one exterior window. Walls are light cream, ceiling white, carpet navy blue. I have a single-panel, black, insulated blackout curtain over the window, and I shoot only with artificial light.

I set things up on an unfinished desk on a white cardboard flat to cover the yellow unfinished desktop. The backdrop is a folding three-panel magnetic screen, covered in canvas, to which I affix various pieces of fabric or paper with neodymium magnets. A pale blue or pale pink sheet of art paper, mounted on cardstock to stiffen it, serves as my green screen.

For light, I have two umbrella lights that are supposed to be the Kelvin of natural sunlight [hah!]. When I say “umbrella lights,” I mean two light bulbs on tripod stands with white umbrellas for shades, the whole rig of which, including stands, bulbs, umbrellas, and carrying case, cost me less than $100.00. Each is set up so that the bulb is about 5′ off the ground and the umbrella is pointing out and away from the desk. Both lights are tilted up so that they shine down on the desk from a bit above, like they are satellite dishes receiving signals from my dolls. :p Each umbrella light points in at a 45-degree angle toward the center of my set.

To set the room up for shots, I use natural light or crappy overhead light to arrange things in the set. Then I turn off the overhead light and shut the shade, making sure that it is tacked to the window frame for better darkness. Then I turn on the two umbrella lights and move them around so that they mostly cancel out the shadows behind figures. I just started with this setup, so I’m not sure if I need more light.

I currently use a Canon EOS 30D 8.2MP Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and no tripod. I have a 60mm macro lens, but I don’t use it as frequently. The camera was used when I got it about 5 years ago, so it is nowhere near the latest and greatest.

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