MINI PENNY: My Home Studio Lighting Setup

Monday, August 10, 2015

My Home Studio Lighting Setup

A little while ago, I posted an article about my beloved FujiFilm X100T. Over the past few months of owning it, I've been really getting into the full capabilities of this little toy. I've had so much fun playing with lighting setups — more so than I ever did with my 5DMii!

It took a while for me to get the hang of it. I found a couple of posts that helped me along with the right gear, but didn't find much in the way of fashion-oriented shooting with it. I get inquiries about this camera, so I figure I'd share how I use it in my studio-style setups like flat lays and Etsy shop images!

First things first, this book is fantastic. An old acquaintance of mine from Columbus published this and I highly recommend it to everyone. It's a short read that packed with info on how to easily (and affordably) achieve studio lighting. I've followed Nick's work for many years and have always been impressed at his ability to make any location work — and this book is (for a lack of better terms) a godsend on retraining myself to shoot with flashes. Even if you're shooting in "conventional" locations, Studio Anywhere by Nick Fancher is a great tool and resource.

Okay, flatlays! Flat lays were how I got my start on Instagram. My old flatlays (so many years ago!) were poorly lit and shot on an iPhone 3GS. Nowadays, I shoot them using the proper tools to get even lighting like what you see above.

Flatlays are fantastic for outfitting when you don't have a model or don't feel like modeling — or when you just need a change of pace.

My first secret is this: rolls of paper. I had the faux-wood flooring in my apartment, so I found these great rolls of classroom project paper that look like aged wood. Perfect! I picked up this version and the solid white.

I roll out what I need and arrange my flatlay as I want. Using a step stool, I shoot from above. My tools for this are easy — the FujiFilm X100T and a FujiFilm EF-42 Flash. My ceilings are white, so it makes the perfect bounce!

Next, I edit in Adobe Lightroom. It's pretty easy from here — I straight to make the wood appear square, bump up my contrast and add a slight fade, and I'm set!

In the age of Instagram, I find that I'm so much more prone to shooting things in square format. Do you do this too? Anyway, this is the final result. The lighting is even and gives a more interesting background that my icky gloss floors.

(Shirt by Fred Perry x Amy Winehouse, Vintage Skirt available in my Etsy Shop, Shoes by Shoedazzle, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo available on Amazon)

Now, onto the more difficult part: Studio shooting for Etsy on a "white seamless." My apartment has this little lip/drop in the ceiling between my living room and dining room. I've set up a long curtain rod and that white roll of paper and it makes a great seamless backdrop!

I set my camera up as normal but use two wireless flash triggers, wireless remote, and a light diffuser to take the photos.

It can take a little bit of fiddling to get the setting right, but the result is a nice, evenly lit image! What do you think?

Be sure to check out all of the new vintage listing in my Etsy shop! Plenty of goodies to be scooped up. 

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