Home Studio SetUp Requirements

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New Member
May 4, 2002
Jurong West Extension
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Hi to All,

I write in hope that I will get some advice here on what to purchase for a basic home studio setup, and how much should I expect to spend. Personally, I have never seriously shot portraits, and I understand it is a tough area in photography.

A few relevant questions are in order here, as follows :

>> the type and power in watts for a main photoflood
or type of light ?
>> backdrops / backgrounds / muslins ?
>> reflectors / lightboxes ?
>> additional backdrop spotflood with snoot?

I know the list could go on, but I wanna keep things simple, and my bank account away from red ink.

Your valuable advise will be much appreciated.

Regards to all,


Some cost saving suggestions that may not correspond directly to your questions:

1. Use a white wall as background. You can colour the wall differently by firing a flash covered with different coloured cellophane paper. You can create graduated colour tone by creative placement of the background flash. Do not place the cellophane paper directly over the flash surface, but keep a small gap in between. Otherwise the momentarily high temperature during the burst may melt the cellophane paper.

2. If you are shooting just 1 person, a standard hot-shoe flash shooting through a large piece of white cloth (as a diffuser) may still provide enough illumination. Use double layers of cloth with a small gap in between the 2 layers to provide a better diffused effect. Use a slave trigger unit that has a hotshoe mount on one side and a tripod screw hole on the other. You can then mound your flash on a tripod for flexibility in placement. If you need more power, try using (or borrowing) one more flash. Just stock up a few slave trigger units.

3. Use a large piece of cardboard and paste alluminum foil over it and use that as a reflector.

4. Budget for a flash meter. I have no idea how to cut cost here.

5. Buy a large piece of white canvas from Sungei road (3 X 3 meters) and paint your own background. Use emulsion paint that is flexible so that you can roll up the canvas for storage without cracking the paint work. I had some very good results from my DIY background. Will try to post some shots here as soon as I can find the negatives as well as the permission of the model (firends).

6. A digital camera should come in handy as a proofing tool before you shoot on film.

7. If you do use multiple hot-shoe flashes with slave trigger, you can trigger them all at once using a low-power flash mounted on the camera. I read somewhere that covering the flash with un-exposed but developed slide film will block most visible light but transmit the IR from the flash. That way you can have a IR triggering system.

Will post somemoe suggestions when I can think of them.

Good luck!

Hi & Thanks Roygoh,

Thanks for the many economical tips on setting up a basic home studio. Much appreciated.

However, I do still want to know what sort of cash output is expected when a proper photoflood, plus backdrops, relfectors, and softbox including all the necessary stands and trussings is to be acquired.

Basically, I just wanna know, how wide the canal is which I'm about to jump across. If it is too wide, then of course, I will consider the option of walking to its narrower end to crossover.

Sincere Regards,


hehe...I have been through all the suggestions that I have listed above, that's why I have no experience in the purchase of any professional studio equipment, except for the flash meter.

I bought a Minolta Auto Meter IV (not sure if it is IV or IV F) back in 1993 for S$520 from Cathay Photo. The price of that in US now is US$215 from www.bhvideo.com.

Hope this is helpful.

Hi & Thanks again Roygoh,

No matter, your useful tips on alternatives will be handy and you are truly resourceful. Thanks.

But one thing still bugs me constantly : process labs.

You see, I tend to wonder, if these minilabs we find punctuating HDB estates do truly do a good job of your blood-sweat-&-tears negatives when you send them in for dev. I have been going to one here in Jurong, and have noted mark differences in the quality of prints from my exposed negs from two different shifts of printers working at that lab. In fact, I am starting to lose faith in them, and I dread having to go all the way downtwon to have it dev at a pro lab. Damn these people at the jurong lab go blank when I asked if they have tungstan films. They have not even heard of push or pull processing.

Help... ?



:) Hey there. Understand that you're in the process of setting up a home studio. If you're interested, I'm clearing some of my gear (due to excessiveness ):( Can let you have a couple of studio strobes and my minolta IVF meter + spot attachment at a good price. Do lemme know your budget and see if we can work something out. *ciaoz*

If you need some advice, you can always email me as well.

Hi spilot,

Asking your Jurong Lab guys if they have tungsten film is not appropriate. You should know by now if you want to talk about pro films, you got to go to pro labs. My humble advice is for you to read up and test more on film development around Singapore b4 deciding to stick to one lab you're comfortable with.

Hi Camera1001,

It figures - but sure hate having to commute all the way downtown just to get pro prints.

But ultimately you're right. In this regard, what do you think of Joo Ann Fo at Holland V? I used to dev my negs and slides there when I was driving. They're not bad I felt, but now that I've gone public, the trip there is somewhat daunting. I'm quite a lazy ass when it comes to travelling.



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