Wednesday, April 4, 2012


     My last two blogs were about the past. You now know who I was and where I came from, now let's move on to shiny happy things! My favorite thing to do in the whole world is not blog, believe it or not. It's photography! Some people might think that's boring, but if you stick a camera in their hand and send them out with me for an hour they will come back forever changed.
     I purchased a Sony Mavica years ago that takes pictures to the square disks, the ones you stick in the old A drives on desktop computers. It was a good camera for it's time, and I still love it, but the pictures don't look as good when you want to make an 8 x 10 out of one of the shots. Not only that, I had to buy an external drive that you plug into the USB port to read the disks after we switched to laptops. I complained that I wanted a new camera and spent a lot of time looking around for just the right one. God bless my husband for his patience while I made up my mind, and God bless him for his checkbook once I finally did!
     I chose a Nikon Cool Pix L110 and I am in love with it! I've taken thousand of shots and haven't had any problems at all. I'm actually making plans to go ahead and opening my own studio (sort of a side business) and taking portraits of customers in my home and at outdoor sittings. We have a large room in the basement that would be perfect to use. With a little research and ingenuity, I have found lots of ideas that would make my DIY (do it yourself) studio completely attainable and fairly inexpensive to set up.
     I used to be the manager of a franchised portrait studio, and it was the best job I ever had. Even with the low pay at that studio, I still loved to work because it was FUN and didn't feel like work. I'm really looking to recreate that happy feeling and if I can be my own boss just doesn't get better than that! Here's some of the ideas I'm going to be trying out:
     *backdrops ---going to buy large inexpensive canvas drop cloths from the hardware store...I believe they come in a 9' x 15' size (for around $20) and can be dyed to whatever color I want it to be. Common backdrops are white, the ever classy black, as well as neutral colors like creme or beige. I found that light pinks and different shades of blue are also used frequently. Another good thing about canvas is you can store it crumpled up if you want the backdrop to have a rustic look. Or I can make rails out of 1.5" PVC pipe and drape them over that if I don't want rustic wrinkles.
     *lighting ---I can't stress this enough! Straight on light from a camera flash can cause the dreaded red-eye and nobody wants to have their portraits look demonic! I'm going to make the three main light sources that I will need. I'll use 250 to 500 watt shop lights. They come with a rounded medal "disc" that reflects the light outward very nicely and they have clamps on them so I can easily attach them to homemade posts so that I can set the light at any level height I need. (Short people need portraits too!)These lights are around $30 at the hardware store. There are different types of lighting angles that I need for the portrait photography set up I want to use. I will need a key light, a separation light and a background light. If you are wondering what exactly that is, I think I can explain. Key light is the main light, and there are several positions for that lights to be in that provide different effects for the portrait.
Positions for the key light:
--frontal light is also called glamour lighting and it creates a shadow beneath the nose and even lighting across the face
-- loop light is slightly to the side of the subject and casts shadows to the side of the nose and beneath the nose
--45 degree light is also known as Rembrandt lighting, and is places so that the use of light is more dramatic and leaves one side of face almost completely in shadows with only a triangular area highlighted on the opposite cheek
--split lighting placement leaves only one side of face lit and other side completely dark, this is extremely artistic and really dramatic

Positions for the seperation light:
--Seperation light is placed opposite of the key light

Background light:
--is positioned behind the subject and points at the background, adds a glow behind the shoulders for added seperation
      The background light can even be as simple as a small house lamp. You have to position it carefully so that the lamp itself is hidden behind the subject. It's a soft glow that just provides the look of the background dropping back and gives the idea of space between the subject and the background.
     I also found some interesting ideas about using windshield sun (heat) reflectors as a another type of light source. They are also very inexpensive and the cool thing is that some of those fold down into small carry bags and would be very easy to take to different sights.
     I'm not wanting to be responsible for having to print the photos, although I don't mind photoshoping them if needed. I'm thinking I will charge for my time and per sitting, for portraits of people and families. I can copy all of their photos to a disc for them, and allow them to have full rights to the finished portraits. This way they can get their pictures printed on gifts like mugs and calendars without having to beg me to sign a photographers release for the photos. I realize I should probably charge for things like that, but I really don't want to. It's portraits of my customers, and they should be able to put their own photos on a t-shirt whenever they want to! Plus that, it's great advertising for me when they spread it around and tell others what an awesome deal they got with me!
     I'm trying to decide what all I need to do to get this studio really going, I need to make sure I can use all of the above ideas to get my DIY studio set up and working properly. I'll be enlisting the help of my husband and kids to make the backgrounds and lighting set-ups. I'm excited about what the future holds for me, and I will try to keep my readers updated. If anyone has any other ideas about photography, or just a comment they would like to add here, please do! I'd love to hear from you!

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