Getting portable

July 26, 2017




I missed a blog post last month but it has certainly been on my mind.  Two things have been swirling around: one is my quest to figure out a portable gradient background and lighting so I can photograph artisans’ work at their location rather than have them pack up and bring their woodcrafts, pottery or quilts to me; the other is about the intimacy of portrait photography.


I have a good start on the portable studio, but didn’t quite get the fall-off I wanted when a dear friend left me alone in her home to photograph her art collections. Here are some lessons about setting up in someone else’s home:

1. Simplify the gear as much as possible.  Try it in your own home first!

2. Pad the ends of light stands and move slowly when setting up or taking down around someone else’s nice walls and woodwork. 

3. Threaded rods come in all sizes and sometimes gear can be retrofitted inexpensively to meet your needs. 

4. A mechanic or plumber friend might have a pipe bender. I’ve used lightweight aluminum conduit to make a table top stand. Why not a counter-top curved stand for a gradient backdrop made of neutral gray vinyl?  PVC tubing might also work. 

5. Keep simplifying and condensing. Cobbling things together is okay in the trial phase, but on-site with the owner present - being streamlined will instill confidence.


Breaking news, I'm now the proud owner of a mini-boom! That'll simplify a bit.



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