Mobile Photo Studio

Messages
9
Name
Andrew Sutcliffe
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
I am planning on starting to offer a service where I go to events with a pop up studio and take group photos that I will sell on to guests. My idea is this: A white cloth backdrop from Amazon with stands holding it up, a tripod set up in the middle with my camera on it, two light stands on either side of the tripod with a flashgun and a wireless trigger mounted on each with a 84cm white shoot through umbrella on each light stand. I am planning on buying some props related to the events I'll be shooting and will take group shots with friends with a fun theme in the hope of selling quite a few images. Will this setup suffice for some good quality, well lit images? Or will I need a more advanced set up - like a light behind the people to blow out the backdrop and make it pure white? I am only 15 so I am on a relatively small budget of about £200-£250, just for the flash kit. Please could you guys suggest whether this setup will do, and if not, what I could do to improve it and the resulting images for not alot of money.

Thanks alot,
Andrew Sutcliffe.
 
Messages
23,276
Name
Phil
Edit My Images
No
#2
Welcome to TP Andrew.

If you want a clean white background for a group of people you’ll need at least 2 lights on it. If you want to light the people well, you’ll need a keylight and a fill, 2 lights at 45deg is a ‘crap’ light pattern.

If you have access to mains electricity, then proper studio lights are a much better spend of your money.

From a business perspective, you either want paying for your time up front, or some way of delivering on the night, trying to sell after the fact is a proven point of failure.

If you’re printing on the night, you’ll need a dye sub printer.

Paragraphs are good for making posts easier to read and understand, if I’ve missed anything, just ask again.
 
OP
OP
Andrew Sutcliffe
Messages
9
Name
Andrew Sutcliffe
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
Welcome to TP Andrew.

If you want a clean white background for a group of people you’ll need at least 2 lights on it. If you want to light the people well, you’ll need a keylight and a fill, 2 lights at 45deg is a ‘crap’ light pattern.

If you have access to mains electricity, then proper studio lights are a much better spend of your money.

From a business perspective, you either want paying for your time up front, or some way of delivering on the night, trying to sell after the fact is a proven point of failure.

If you’re printing on the night, you’ll need a dye sub printer.

Paragraphs are good for making posts easier to read and understand, if I’ve missed anything, just ask again.
Thanks for the quick and very helpful reply! So I only need one powerful keylight at a 45 degree angle with a large octagonal softbox from the right of the tripod and then a fill from the left side of the people? Would a reflector work as the fill or will I need another flash? Do I need a clean white background or is it not necessary, as it sounds expensive. Also, how would you go about trying to get business doing this, do you have to pitch it to people or is there ways of advertising it?

Thanks again.
 
Messages
23,276
Name
Phil
Edit My Images
No
#4
Thanks for the quick and very helpful reply! So I only need one powerful keylight at a 45 degree angle with a large octagonal softbox from the right of the tripod and then a fill from the left side of the people?

Would a reflector work as the fill or will I need another flash?

Do I need a clean white background or is it not necessary, as it sounds expensive.

Also, how would you go about trying to get business doing this, do you have to pitch it to people or is there ways of advertising it?

Thanks again.
Paragraphs?

A fill should be at the camera position. Otherwise at the end where it’s nearest it will become the keylight and you’ll get crossed shadows where the lights conflict.

I’d say you don’t need a clean white background, so why was that your start point? Use a mid grey, which would be far more manageable.

No one can tell you how to market your business, each business is different, the hard part is finding your USP and learning how to exploit it.

Event photography is hard work, if you post in the business section there’s a few people who might offer some helpful advice.
 
Messages
1,403
Name
Soeren
Edit My Images
Yes
#6
Groups? How many people? As a 15 year old you might run info portability issues if you want to shoot more than one or two at a time.
 
Messages
10,700
Name
Garry Edwards
Edit My Images
No
#8
As Phil says, haviing 1 light each side at 45 degrees is pretty crap from a lighting viewpoint, everyone ends us with fat faces and flat lighting, but it works, and suits all subjects equally (badly), so not a bad option.

I do agree about using studio flash instead of flashguns though, much faster recycling, far more power and it looks much more professional, and also cheaper.
On the business side, much more difficult.. A few years before you were born, 3 of us would do school reunions and the like. At state schools we would sell around 200 10x8 prints at £10 each, at public schools it was typically 300 prints at £15 each, and the highest cost was the slip in print mounts... but today you need on-site printing, everyone wants everything free and you're competing with every single attendee, who has a phone on their mobile. 10 people in a group used to mean an order for 10 prints, but now it means 1 print, if you're lucky

Also, you'll know from your economics lessons that any business that has a very low entry barrier, which means that very little capital expenditure and very basic skills levels are needed, is over saturated, making it very difficult to get the jobs that are worth having. It all comes down to a mix of having the right contacts and paying a % of the take to the organisers.

In short, you'll struggle to make it pay BUT it will be good experience of both photography and developing your people skills, so probably well worth doing just for that experience.
That’s a sure sign you’re not in England :p

Most 15 year olds are bigger and stronger than me.
Maybe so, but 15 year olds can't drive a van loaded with equipment:)
 
Messages
1,403
Name
Soeren
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
Single sitters can be done with a 2light setup (preferable AD200's) either with a dark background or one light in a big umbrella/softbox as white background. Such kit can fit in one of these if you don't choose the biggest umbrellas. I have the standard 85II and can just fit a 125cm deep umbrella in that. A 110 would probably be needed if you look at an 180cm umbrella

https://strobiusshop.com/category/bags-and-cases/
 
Last edited:

cowboy

Guy Fawkes
Messages
3,151
Name
Mark
Edit My Images
No
#12
I do two types of photography with the portable studio.
Events where I take and sell on the day which is usually an ad600 into a reflective or shoot through umbrella with an ad 200 as a light on the background if needed.
I use a black 2.5m x 2m pop up backdrop which is fine for three or four people in the 2m width.
I typically only spend 30secs to a minute for each set of three poses.
I print on site, people want something to take away there and then.
For the portrait sessions I use a grey backdrop and light to how I want it to look, I will spend a lot longer refining poses for this but I do charge more for it.
 
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