Making the most out of 6 m²

The problem

On location work is fun, you always need to improvise. On location studio work is a tad more difficult, you need space to work. In this instance I was at my step-sister-in-law’s place, a place I know. We wanted to make some portraits against a black backdrop. so we had to move some furniture around to make some room to get a ghetto studio in place. I ended up with a 2×3 meter area (tight).

With this limited amount of space, I knew I would be unable to properly control the light and keep it from falling onto the background (the problem).

Recognize a problem before you encounter it.

The gear

-Lencarta Studio Background support system, extends from 2 to 3 meter and can reach 3 meter in height, simple & cheap.
-Some simple black cloth that you can find in any “sleepstraat” near you + some hardware store uni-clamps.
-A couple of 24″ x 36″ softboxes.
-2 lightstands and of course a couple of flashes, in this case I used a Canon 580EX and an Olyumpus FL40.

The solution

One possible solution would have been to put flags/gobos between the softbox & the backdrop. But remember,we are on a very limited space here.

Instead, I tore off 2 slaps of black cloth so they each could cover half of a softbox, tadaah , instant strip lights (or does the fall under the flag category?) and control over the spill. But there is another important reason why I opted for the 2nd option, with a narrower strip of light, the light wouldn’t completely wrap around the model and leave some unlit parts.

The diagram

The left light was positioned low and horizontal, the right light was moved in as close as possible at a 45° down angle.


The result


I really like the outcome, super female lines, some shadowplay and an accent on the belly.
And of course a big thank you to the model for the portfolio addendum.

(note, I’m still struggling with getting sharp images online at 800px, a browser resize from flickr’s large size seems to work best. At least with Firefox, chrome or safari)

7 Comments so far  
by fbaert 04.05.09 8:54 pm

Beautifull work !

by Christel 04.04.09 10:48 pm


by nimsa 04.04.09 12:48 pm

Tom, het ziet er heel heel mooi uit!! “Fotograferen is problemen oplossen”, wie zei dat ook alweer, onlangs?

by Sofie 03.31.09 11:45 pm

Mooie foto, heel mooi bewerkt!

En zoals mijn leerkracht fotografie onlangs zei: Fotograferen is regisseren en organiseren! En dat heb je hier goed gedaan!

by gekiekt 03.31.09 9:23 pm


by Serge Van Cauwenbergh 03.31.09 7:49 pm

Tom, zo zie je maar dat je met beperkte middelen (en een probleemoplossend vermogen) ook erg goede resultaten kunt behalen zoals je met jouw foto aantoont. Mijn studioruimte is ook beperkt en het is met momenten wel behelpen.

by Jasper Van Tilburgh 03.30.09 8:56 pm

Very nice result! I like the really black background and nice lightsetup.
Very well done under those conditions. Keep up the good stuff.