Traveling Portrait Business. : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I need to move my portrait business from a studio setting to in the clients home. The studio I used is no longer available. Recently I've been shooting out of a hair salon and setting up and breaking down every time I have a session which is mostly on Sundays or Mondays because of the business. It might not be bad if I didn't have to move furniture, cover windows, mirrors etc. My package includes three strobes with softboxes, a big background and all the extras. It's just getting to much to move around, so I need to make changes. I'd like to change the lighting package to battery powered units preset on lightstands with some kind of fast diffusion setup, and get away from the backgrounds if possible for the home sittings. I figured I'd ask to see what others are doing as far as doing in client home portraits from an equipment standpoint. I also shoot outdoors, but there are concerns there at times due to the weather here in Florida. The summer months are out mostly because of humidity and rain and people not wanting to sweat. Alot of homes don't have nice yards so you have to move to a Park. I'd like to keep the time expense down to keep prices reasonable as I work my way up the price scale and get more darkroom experience. Any insights you've discovered? I'm shooting a 4x5 Graphic.

-- Wayne Crider (, November 17, 2001


The above question was posted yesterday at I have slightly revised it for "this" forum since it's more apporiate here from an understanding of the format itself. It also seems some 4x5'ers don't frequent there.

After thoughts:

After thinking about my question overnight, I have figured out a few different ideas on reducing the amount of equipment with faster setup and breakdown. First, I will use a (single stand) backdrop which will be rolled on a common pull down shade core. I will construct an offset U channel aluminum frame for the top of the stand to hold the backdrop shade, and pull it down as needed. (I will construct multiple shades for every background.) At the top of the background stand I may put a smaller slaved strobe for a hairlight. If I don't have to use the background stand, all the better. Some of the more expensive homes in the area have large (and bright) rooms with nice decor. I've done alot of tv segments in such.

Second, I had perviously constructed a flash bracket for my 4x5 Super using the flash clamps for it and old round tripod legs of a broken tripod, and will make another for the other side. They both have 1/4_20 bolts at top. On the top I will put a long aluminum flat bar and mount 3 or 4 camera strobes on swivels (Vivatar 285's or Sunpak 383's) with a diffusion in front. (This will be a one peice unit allowing fast setup.) Since I know an excellent sewing person who can make anything, out of anything, I will have constructed a soft box to cover the heads asap. (I'm wondering about face size on this?) I'll power the heads either off Lumedyne mini cyclers or two larger multiple connector ones. I would be interested in a better/smaller/cheaper battery setup using maybe a small deep charge battery, or emergency light batteries.

The one question I have is concerning the diffusion screening and the best to get. I know Rosco has it. I don't want to loose alot of light, and I want it to be good. I've have thought of individual Chimera or Westcott mini boxes, but want a wider dispersion of the light for a family sitting. My thought is a shoot thru frame in front of the strobes.

A big question is using side reflectors, slaved camera strobes as fill or doing without totally. Or using a small backlight on a low backlight stand. The less stands/equipment the better. Some houses may have small rooms. I'll proof the light using my polaroid holder in test before hand and at the sitting.

I'm sure I'll come up with other ideas, but did want to see who's doing what in (client) in-home photography, and what their opinions are from a lighting/background equipment standpoint if any are doing it at all. My intension is too have everything packed as a unit for faster setup.

-- Wayne Crider (, November 17, 2001.

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