Brian's Photo Blog — Article 273
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The Frustrations of Inadequate Studio Equipment
Wednesday 21 August 2013   —   Category: Equipment
Earlier in the month, when I was taking photos of some of my tripod equipment for the Converting a Manfrotto Head to an Arca-Style Clamp article, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the inadequate lighting and support equipment I was trying to use in my makeshift studio.

As you can see from the photo to the right — taken with my Olympus TG-2 point-and-shoot — I've been making do with whatever I can find from around the house: a desk lamp, a clip-on book light, masking tape that doesn’t stick to the desk lamp, a ladder as a light stand, foam-core board, and whatever else I can beg, borrow or steal!

For my entire adult life I have lived by the principle that investing in the right tools for the job will save a lot of time, effort, frustration, grief, and even money, in the end. Now that I’m starting to take more of my own product photos for these articles — rather than just “borrowing” them from elsewhere on the Internet — it seems the time has arrived to acquire at least a minimum amount of decent studio equipment so I can get on with the work of photography instead of scrounging for resources all the time.

This next photo is a closer view of the setup I had that day. Don’t ask me why I decided to use a magenta postcard as a flag — it ended up being an excellent, unwanted, magenta reflector! I guess I was too lazy to take the time to dig a white index card out of the drawer — shame on me!

You will also notice that there was a good amount of outdoor light leaking in through the window blinds behind the ladder. The difference in color temperature between that light and the indoor artificial lighting definitely caused white balance problems in the resulting photos.

Because I had already covered the other four windows in my office with some heavy light-blocking curtains from Walmart, I've gone ahead and gotten one more curtain to cover the remaining window. They don’t block the light perfectly, but for what I’m doing, it’s good enough.

Since this day of frustrating photography, I have researched the options in three categories of equipment:
  • Small, portable, battery-powered LED lights with variable intensity and color balance
  • Clamps with gooseneck attachments
  • Multi-purpose light and accessory stands
During the past couple of weeks I have been making some purchases in each of these categories, and have even used this new equipment for a couple of recent projects. I plan to write future articles about the items I acquired in each category, so you can find out the pros and cons of each piece of equipment ... stay tuned!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 273
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