New lighting setup

Desktop lighting setup

We recently setup some new lighting/photo/video equipment at my home studio, so I thought I’d share the haul. Above is the light is suspended over the desk with a counterweighted boom arm to rain soft even light over the desk. A smaller light is acting as a fill, and with it I took this solder spool picture. I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities with this versatile combination of equipment, and hope writing about it helps you take better photos and video too!

We picked up:

Light stant caster

The light stand has locking casters, making it easy to wheel around the studio (instead of lifting it, oof), then lock it in position. The locks can be operated with a foot alone, which means I don’t have to bend down at all (a big plus for my sore knees). Avenger gear is built to last for generations.

Manfrotto magic arm

The Manfrotto magic arm uses a single dial to tighten up all three of its joints. It uses a compatible quick release plate to my tripod head (thanks, Johngineer!), so I can move the camera between the two simply. My desk is super sturdy with no wobble, otherwise I’d clamp it to a shelving unit or something else nearby that won’t move as I work on the project at hand.

Host lighting setup

The setup can be configured for people shots easily– the soft box is set to rake across the subject’s face while the fill light is clamped up high to shine down as a hair light. We chose a constant light source (instead of strobes) so it can be used for video and photos. I can’t wait to make more videos to share with you! Tell us about your setups in the comments.

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  1. Great advices, it’s always nice to see behind the scenes 🙂

    For cheaper setups and small objects you can also consider tupperware/paper based lightboxes

    Here’s a nice setup: (In French, but the images should speak for themselves)

  2. I shoot almost all of my stuff at home where my basement workshop is (despite having a photo studio at work, and doing lots of hacking at Milwaukee Makerspace) and my home studio consists of an old table with a white sweep, held up with a PVC contraption. Since I’m usually shooting stills (and not video) I’ve just got two speedlights on stands with umbrellas, and a lot of miscellaneous materials like white foamcore for bouncing, black foamcore for absorbing, some black material, various gels, tape, clamps, etc.

    I do have a question on the last photo shown (the portrait) in the post. What was the f/stop at? I’d think you might want to shoot wide open to drop the focus of the background… just wondering.

    (I’ll need to get a shot of my setup one of these days, thought it really is as unimpressive as I make it sound.)

  3. @Pete As you know I mainly shoot video, where objects are changing location within the depth of field, so I usually opt for an F stop that will keep everything I want in focus. I hate it when I roll my chair a bit and then discover in the editing phase that something is blurry! That said I agree with you for still photos.

  4. nice 🙂

  5. Hey,
    what’s the camera you use? Is it the one in the 4th photo? Do you use it for both video and photo?

  6. It’s an Olympus E-P2, and yes, I use it for both photo and video!

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