You don't have to use thousands of dollars of studio gear to get professional quality results—although, no doubt, it can make your photographs look more professional. In this chapter, find out how to shoot on a budget ... and still get professional results.
Here's a look at a very basic home studio. It can be set up in about 15 minutes for around $700.
In the picture of my den (on the right), the light on the right side of the subject is a hot light (constant light source) mounted in a softbox (to diffuse the light). To the left of the subject is a reflector, which bounces light from the hot light onto the opposite side of the face. In the background is a black cloth, the kind you can pick up at a fabric store.
I took the photograph on the left with this simple and affordable setup.
Hot lights are called hot lights because, well, they get hot. They provide a constant light source so that you can see in real time the effect (shadows and highlights) of using one or more lights and changing their positions.
Hot light kits can cost thousands of dollars, but there's a three-light PhotoBasic kit from FJ Westcott that sells for about ...