Not all photographers are lucky enough, or even have the desire to have a studio to work in but that’s no reason why any photographer can’t make one, as and when they need it.
The following shots might look like they were made in a studio but in fact they were shot in living room above a shop. I was hired by the shop to cover the presentation of a new clothing collection. This job was basically candid shots of the afternoon and evening, working around the shop and recording events as they happened. However, the clothing that the models were wearing also needed registering in a good way for use in a book, flyers and advertising. In total 23 outfits and a seriously limited time to register each outfit with a photo. No problem if we plan ahead. I knew what was required by the client, I had a requested a space to build my mobile studio and made sure I had the right material with me for the job.
Dining table and couches moved out of the way, I had a zone that was big enough for the model, plus a shooting zone where I could stand and shoot from.
Setup? Normally I’d like a big paper backdrop, nice and wide, pulled into a nice soft curve to give a nice neutral infinity. This time I used a paper roll that was just 1.3metres wide. Supported by a set of Lastolite backround supports. Normally with such a narrow paper you’ll have problems framing the shot, not if you use a longer focal length though! 200mm here was enough to close the field of view enough to keep the framing tight and white.
Lighting? One large octagonal softbox, (about 1.6metres) set to the right of the camera. Ceiling height in the room was limited, about 2.6metres, so the softbox was up as high as it could go. This was triggered with an Elinchrom Skyport. Fill lighting was a white wall to the left of camera. Enough fill to give details and not flatten the image.
And that’s it. Simplicity itself, quick to set up and take down and nobody would know they were simply shot in a living room above a busy shop. Except you know now, because I told you..