Aaron Sorokin wrote an open letter to his 15-year-old daughter, Roxy, and her mother calling Donald Trump an “incompetent pig” after he was elected president. In the letter, published by Van it Fair on Wednesday, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of “The West Wing” expressed deep concern “The world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from,” he wrote. “That’s a terrible feeling for a father. Sorokin wrote that Trump has “dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn.”Related Link: Hollywood expresses shock, disappointment after voting results Sorokin said it wasn’t just Trump who won but the Ku Klux Klan, white nationalists, sexists, racists and buffoons.”For the next four years, the President of the United States, the same
Office held by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., J.F.K. and Barrack Osama,” Sorokin wrote, “will be held by a man-boy who’ll spend his hours exacting Twitter vengeance against all who criticize him (and those numbers will be legion). We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world. He wrote that NATO allies are afraid and economists are warning about a recession.(He also mistakenly said Do futures dropped 7,000 points overnight after Trump was elected. Vanity Fair later corrected the figure to 700.)Sorokin urged Hollywood and Democrats everywhere to fight, not move to Canada as some have suggested.”We do what we can to fight injustice anywhere we see it — whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves,” he continued. “We fight for a woman to keep her right to choose. We fight
for the First Amendment and we fight mostly for equality — not for a guarantee of equal outcomes but for equal opportunities. We stand up Before Ronald Reagan became a symbol for the Republican party, he was a former actor whose charisma paved the way for him to become Governor of California in 1967.He had no experience governing. But people knew him from TV and movies (he also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild).Sound familiar? Of course Reagan, who died from pneumonia in 2004, went on to serve as President of the United States from 1981 to 1989.His story as a celeb leaping into politics feet first is resonate of our President-elect, Donald Trump
He was 83.Vaughn had been ill with acute leukemia and was receiving treatment in recent months in New York. The superstar singer has been Cher-ing all her feelings via Twitter this election season. She wins the award for the furthest declared destination if the real estate magnate prevails. If he were to be elected, I’m moving to Jupiter,” she tweeted last year. Singer and one-half of the musical duo Sonny and Cher, Bono had only registered to vote the year before when he ran for mayor of Palm Springs, California in 1988 and won. Bono was
Popular with his constituents and served until 1992. Part of his legacy was Festival. That same year, he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for United States Senate. In 1994, he was elected to represent California’s 44th Congressional district in the US House of Representatives, where he served two terms. When he died in 1998 from injuries sustained during a skiing accident, his CNN obituary noted that he was viewed “as a competent politician known for his sense of humor and approachability.” Ventura was a true Trump forerunner, shocking folks when he went from being a reality star to public office. Trump isn’t the only reality star to try politics Born James George Janos, Ventura has had a full resume as a professional wrestler, actor, shock jock, and, of course, politician. He served as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota from 1991 to 1995.But even he was surprised when in 1998 he ran for Governor of Minnesota as part
There is no college that doesn’t facilitate students with books library. Reading is a passion for many students and this is why educational organization benefits them with reading resources. By keeping this fact in mind, we’re going to share some inspiring books that every student should read. If you’re also passionate of reading then you must read the following masterpieces.
1. This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald is the author of this inspiring book that every student should read once in their college life. The novel is the best combination of great humor and romance. This Side of Paradise is the story of a student who becomes disheartened with the life after graduation.
2. Brave New World
This inspirational novel is written by Aldous Huxley in 1931 which tells about the development of technology and its impact on society. As a college student, you should read this book and explore the importance of technology and its side effects.
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the writer of this great novel which describes multigenerational stories. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a must read book for every college student because it contains a thought provoking lesson on the relation of friends and family.
4. A Farewell to Arms
During the period of World Word one, this book was written by Ernest Hemingway and published in 1921. This novel is based on a love story against the environment of world war so every college student will surely enjoy while reading it.
5. The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath is a national award winning book which is written by John Steinbeck in 1939. Later in 1962 the author of this book was awarded with a noble prize. This novel is on a poor farmer family that gets out of work due to drought and economic downfall. By reading this book any student could easily understand how people sacrifice and perform hard work to change the game.
6. Lord of the Flies
William Golding is a noble prize owner is the author of this memorable novel which was published in 1954. It is an adventurous story of a group of young British boys that is stuck on an island and gets out without any help from others. If you have a passion to read adventures then you should explore this story.
7. To Kill a Mockingbird
This book is jot down by Harper Lee and was published in 11 July 1961. The book is focussed on racism and racial fairness that how a black accused of raping a white girl is arrested and trailed. If you believe in justice, then you should read this novel to enhance your self-belief.
8. Predictably Irrational
This book is brilliantly written by Dan Ariely and was published on February 2008. Dan Ariely purpose of writing this book is to make people rethink what makes them best humans. You can also develop your thought process by reading meaningful information shared in this book.
9. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of this book which was published in January 11 2005. This book is about the physiological and mental process of thinking and understanding. This is a great source of information for college students that are taking physiological classes.
10. Crime and Punishment
The author of this book is Fyodor Dostoyevsky who is Russian and has published this book in 1867. This book is on murder in an attempt to defend a permissible action.
In the end, it could be said now that the list of books shared in the above passage is the best source of information for student who looks for reading and learning opportunities.
A survey carried out 15 years ago showed that almost half of Americans didn’t read a single book in 12 months. Since then, reading rates have been falling. Sometimes this happens just because we don’t have enough time, but more often it’s just lack of motivation. So, before you turn to our foolproof tips for developing a reading habit, ask yourself a simple question.
Do you really want to read more?
Most of us know we SHOULD read more. Yet, we don’t really WANT to – we don’t truly understand all the benefits. That’s why so many attempts to read more fail. So, what are the benefits of “consuming” more texts?
Keeping your mind sharp. Reading involves mental effort, it forces you to think – this is what television, for instance, can’t do.
Becoming an expert. Having read around 15 books on a subject, you build a better understanding of it than most people. Having read 200-300 books on a topic, you reach the level of an expert.
Changing your life. Self-help genre is the best in this respect, yet even fiction often gives ideas for self-improvement and making your life better. Reading a lot often gives you a chance to think in ways you hadn’t considered earlier.
Being aware of what’s going on in the world. Books may give an insight about trends that will affect our future.
Think of other, more personal reasons. If you are still sure you really want to develop a reading habit, try the following strategies.
Start your morning with reading
Why not start your day with investing in yourself? If reading is the first or one of the first things you do when you wake up, you will be less likely to skip it or just “forget” about it. This routine will help you make reading an automatic activity. You will also read later in the day, when you have time.
However, if you know your mind tends to be slower in the first half of the day, then you might consider reading in the evening, when your concentration is better.
Set a daily goal
For instance, 30 pages or 10% of a book daily. In this way you will be able to read about 3 books a month, or 36 books a year.
For bigger books, 10% is a lot, so you may want to read 5% in the morning and 5% later in the day.
Drop a book you don’t love
Having read 20% of a book you discovered it’s just a waste of time? Don’t be afraid to quit. Otherwise, reading will become a chore rather than a passion.
Keep a list of books you’d like to read
Amazon Wish List can be rather convenient for building such a list. Avoid multiple lists, as you will very likely lose track.
Keep track of the books you’ve read
If you are able to see your achievements, it will help you build up motivation.
Use note taking software that gives you a chance to synchronize information on several devices. If you prefer paper books, you may consider making notes on a piece of paper and keeping this piece inside the book.
Try speed reading
This technique is great for many types of books, including self-help books and books connected with one’s job. You will easily find books and software to help you increase your reading speed. But just to begin with, try the following simple steps:
– run a card, a pointer or your index finger beneath the text – in this way you force your eyes and brain to keep pace
– stop “pronouncing” words you read in your head
– read in sprints: set a timer (10 minutes, for instance) and read faster than you actually comprehend.
Have a book with you everywhere
If you find paper books too heavy, opt for an ebook. You may be surprised by how much you are able read during the time in lines etc.
Listen to audio books
It takes more time to listen through a book than to read it, yet audiobooks are great when you can’t actually read (doing chores, walking around).
Make reading more of a social activity
Join a book club. There are a lot of online groups, but you may also find in-person clubs in many towns. Get a library card or find friends who share your interest in reading.
Many people would like to read more, but don’t have the time. Then there are those who have the time, but don’t like to read. Reading is a fundamental skill that everyone needs, and the better one is at this skill, the more enhanced life tends to be. Most people learn how to read in school, and after they leave school, their reading skills tend to stay about the same. Some are more ambitious, and look to take their reading skills to a different level. Here are five things that, if practiced, can help you double your reading speed.
1. Don’t sound out each word. This is probably the most important thing to do to read faster, and it is the most difficult thing to overcome. When we first learned to read, we were taught to sound out each word. That also helped to spell the word correctly, as well as to pronounce the word properly. It takes much longer to pronounce each word than it does to look at the word, and just understand what it means. If you look at the word, and move right to the next one, the mind will remember what the word was, as it links the current word back to the first one. When you look at 2, 3, or more words at a time, this will get easier, which leads to our next suggestion.
2. Read 2 or 3 words at a time. Looking at each word and sounding it out is a long way to get through a sentence. After you have mastered looking at the word and not sounding it out, then try doing it with two words, then three words. When you are reading multiple words at a time, the brain is able to pick up the meaning more rapidly, and you can go to the next phrase, or group of words. It is quicker to read phrases than just reading each word. With practice, this will become second nature.
3. Have good eye span. Don’t dwell on each word or phrase. Move your eyes at a good pace, but don’t move so fast that you do not understand what you are looking at. When you look at the last word in the sentence, move your eyes rapidly to the next line, and look and move along the sentence.
4. Do not regress. One of the biggest obstacles to reading fast is regressing. It is natural to want to have a clear understanding of what is being read. As your reading speed increases, the tendency to regress will be less and less. You have to make a conscious effort to move along and not go back. As you move along, the word you may miss should not interfere with the meaning.
5. Vary the speed. Everything that is read does not have to be read at the same speed. Some things that are more technical will be read slower. The mind will pick up some things very quickly and others not as quickly. Move along at a pace that is comfortable. Move as fast as you can while still understanding what is being read.
With practice, the above steps will help you become a faster reader with better comprehension, and you will enjoy reading more books.
There are several stages of business development that all startup ventures must pass through before they can start enjoying good returns. Unfortunately, most artists do not focus on the business side of things. New musicians, painters, designers or sculptors are like business enterprises, meaning that there is a lot that they can borrow from startups if they are keen on making profits from their talents, such as:
Instead of taking a backseat after finishing a beautiful painting, a fine artist must find a way to sell it. This means networking with possible clients both off and online in order to create a buzz about their product. It might be scary trying to sell your work to strangers, but establishing business relationships is all about taking risks and not getting discouraged if they do not pay off.
2- Entertain criticism
Do not fear judgment about your work, but instead be ready to stand in the spotlight as where there is rejection, there is also acceptance. Remember that, like a startup venture, artists who are starting out also face challenges which should not deter them from their goals of earning a decent living from their talent. Professional marketers and public relation firms can help artists cater to the business aspect while they focus on their passion.
3- Display a good image
Startup managers know that customers judge them according to their image. If business premises are dirty or disorderly and the attendants cannot communicate well, there are high odds of failure. Artists must also be very careful of the image that they present and how they relate to their likely customers or investors. Most people in the art world are free spirits who barely recognize the demands of the business world, but this shouldn’t be the case. Such care free people deter investors as it heightens risks.
4- Use the 80/20 principle
For the creative mind, art and business hardly go hand-in-hand, but that is no excuse for failure as a professional artist. Even if all you want is to immerse yourself into your art pieces all day long, selling them will definitely improve your life. To strike a balance, art marketing experts recommend that artists dedicate 80% of their time to their creations and 20% to public relations and marketing.
5- Diversify how you make your money
Some great artists like Jay Z and Beyoncé are often ranked among the richest celebrities. This is not just for their music, but also because they engage in parallel activities like fashion and movies to rake in more cash. As a beginner, you can arrange workshops or become an assistant to great artists like the Chapman brothers, who were assistants to the great Gilbert & Georg. This will increase your work’s exposure and help you learn vital lessons for success.
6- Build a relationship with your fans
Pablo Picasso was a famous artist renowned for some great pieces, but the most admirable thing about him was his amazing connection with his fans. He would mingle and freely interact with people to gain inspiration. By doing that, he achieved rare celebrity status which made his exemplary works even more desirable, popular, and valuable.
Ludwig Van Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential musicians/composers of the Classical and Romantic era. He was born in Bonn, which is the capital of Cologne (Germany) on December 17th 1770.
He had a very diligent melodious career with the help of his father, Johann Van Beethoven, who started teaching him music at a very early age. Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for the piano and 1 for the violin, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets to represent his entire career. There is probably no one in the developing world that doesn’t recognize a piece or two that was written by Ludwig. His music was dramatic and fierce and lives on to this day.
A lot of historical information can be found about Beethoven, but there are some exceptional facts about him that you may never have known:
Does Age Really Matter?
On paper Ludwig Van Beethoven was born on 1770. However, for many years the composer thought he was born in 1772. The exact year of birth was never officially definite. Historians believe that Beethoven’s father intentionally created this deception by altering his age so that he could present a much younger musical virtuoso. Remember, around the same time period Mozart was already quite established, and most likely, Beethoven’s biggest musical rival! His father didn’t want his son to be out-done by a fellow young originator.
Student Turned Piano Teacher
Beethoven was forced into the practice of music by an early age and music became his existence. It became his identity and he was very successful. One would assume that his passion for music would be something that he would love to share with those who wanted to learn. Beethoven was known to show utter disdain for piano teaching unless he was able to teach exceptionally gifted students, and, it has been noted, that if the student was a beautiful woman, it didn’t matter if she couldn’t tap her fingers to chop-sticks let alone play the piano.
Sounds of Silence for Ludwig
The worst fate that could ever befall a musician is loss of hearing. That is exactly what happened to Beethoven. His hearing loss was gradual, but by 1819, in his 30’s, he was clinically and completely deaf. According to correspondences written by Ludwig, he considered his hearing loss a “demon”, which haunted him everywhere he went. There were moments in this phase of his life where he contemplated suicide, but the love of music and his career held that action at bay. After the deafness set in, he was still able to complete thirty-two piano sonatas, seventeen string quartets, nine symphonies, one of which would be the Fifth Symphony – one of the most commonly recognized pieces he ever wrote.
Twelve Times Thirty
Music and math have always been complimentary disciplines. According to the American Mathematical Society, counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, patterns, symbols, harmonies, time signatures, overtone, and pitch are ALL notations made my composers that are directly connected to mathematics. With that being said, Beethoven was not very gifted, to say the least, when it came to basic math. Due to family obligations, he had to leave school at the early age of 11 to help support his family.
Beethoven’s Struggle For Health
Throughout Beethoven’s childhood, middle years and up to his death, he was never blessed with a healthy life. In addition to his hearing loss, which was attributed to typhus, he also suffered from colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, skin disorder, to list a few. His death was eventually caused by cirrhosis, which lead to liver failure.
Whatever strange behavior or physical infirmities Beethoven struggled with, there is no denying that he will forever remain one of the greatest composers of all time.
Is your legato technique in need of some serious improvement, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Fortunately, you don’t need to search for any special exercises to do this – you must simply use the best practicing methods for developing the technique, just like all the great players do. By doing this, the quality of your legato playing will quickly skyrocket.
The following are the biggest reasons why you still haven’t improved your legato technique, plus how you can start making progress in this area:
Reason One: You Aren’t Identifying The Causes Of Your Legato Technique Issues
Most guitar players don’t use a problem solving mindset when trying to fix the issues in their legato playing. Instead, they do one of these two things:
1. Incorrectly assume they understand the causes of their legato playing struggles, leading them down the wrong road and making things more difficult when it comes to solving issues with their technique.
2. Believe that they can just learn a bunch of random licks to solve their legato playing issues.
Rather than working to develop your legato technique with additional exercises, try isolating your problems and observing every movement your fingers are making, in order to identify the main cause of the issues. This will show you precisely what needs to be worked on in your technique for making your legato technique (and all the licks that follow from it) sound much better. If you have a hard time figuring out this process on your own, find a guitar teacher who can show you how this is done.
For an example of this, check out this video where I show one of my guitar students how to improve his legato technique:
Reason Two: You Are Playing Notes Too Slowly Whenever You Use Legato Technique
To make your legato technique become much more clean and smooth, you need to understand how to articulate notes using faster movements. Notice: This is not the same as “playing the notes at a higher bpm”. You can play longer duration notes while making quick movements for each individual hammer-on/pull-off you play. This will help you to clearly sound each note with great power, without excessive tension (making fast legato playing become totally easy).
To get a better understanding of this concept, think about snapping your fingers to produce a loud sound. If you want to improve the clarity and loudness of the snap, you have to snap your fingers quickly (not only with more force). If you try to snap with only greater force, your fingers will move slowly and the snap will not sound like you want it to. This same idea applies to your legato guitar playing. Check out the video I discussed earlier to see this ideas explained on guitar.
Reason Three: Your Hands Are Full Of Tension While Playing Legato
Tons of guitar players use much more power than necessary while playing their legato licks. This effectively makes it impossible to play legato fast, with any kind of accuracy. Fix this problem by going through this easy process for finding the appropriate amount of tension needed to play guitar:
1. Start by playing a legato lick with the normal amount of tension you would use.
2. Use less and less tension until you are using so little tension that the notes of the lick become hard to sustain.
3. Add a very small level of tension back into your playing (just enough to barely sound the note – no more).
Now that you understand the best ways to improve your legato technique, see if you are on track towards reaching your guitar playing goals. See what you need to work on now by taking this lead guitar playing test.
Technology is now developing at an unprecedented rate as new technologies allow us to develop even more technologies at an exponential rate. Many have wondered whether a world run by increasingly intelligent machines will eventually cause us to become less intelligent.
The age of machines
This wouldn’t be the first time that major advancements in technology resulted in changes in mankind. After the industrial revolution, when the work performed by manual laborers was outsourced to machines, people became less physically active. Many believe that our sedentary lifestyle—and a worldwide obesity epidemic—can be attributed to the industrial revolution. Of course, the industrial revolution wasn’t all bad. Though it led to poorer physical health, it also likely contributed to greater human intelligence. Because humans were freed from monotonous manual labor, they were free to devote more time to intellectual pursuits. Furthermore, humans needed to be more intelligent to navigate a congested modern city than a small rural town.
The internet age
Now, we are in the internet age where limitless amounts of knowledge are at our fingertips. Anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone has access to virtually every bit of information that exists in the world. This has allowed humans to become even more intelligent.
The artificial intelligence age
The artificial intelligence age is still years ahead of us. But already we are beginning to see many early artificial intelligence systems taking over certain tasks. For instance, planes are for the most part flown by automatic pilot systems except during takeoff and landing. The task of handling air traffic at busy airports has become so monumental, that we have turned it over to artificial intelligence systems. Already, artificial intelligence has been able to beat Gary Kasparov, a chess genius, at his own game and Ken Jennings in a game of Jeopardy. Thanks to Moore’s Law, which states that there will be an exponential increase in electronic processing capacity over time, artificial intelligence machines will be able to do more and more of the thinking for us. Already we have personal assistants like Siri (if you own an Apple device) or Cortana (if you own a Windows device running Windows 10). In the not-too-distant future, these personal assistants can become so advanced that they will automate much of our day-to-day tasks.
The easy life
The real question is whether a future with artificial intelligence will make us smarter or stupider. Just as the industrial revolution automated manual labor and made humans lazier, the artificial intelligence age could automate our thinking and make us stupider. However, also like the industrial revolution, the artificial intelligence age could also automate tasks that make us free to follow intellectual pursuits ultimately making us smarter. Only time will tell exactly how artificial intelligence will affect our day-to-day life.
Have you ever taken the time to look up? Not at the ceiling but at the beautiful night sky. Those sparkly shimmering lights are not Unidentified Flying Objects but stars, our awe-inspiring galaxy.
The Milky Way is the derived name for our barred spiral galaxy, yes it does sound like a little ice-cream float however it is about 100-400 billion stars, roughly 100,000-180,000 light years in diameter.
It is a tough pill to swallow when you allow yourself to truly think about how much bigger our ‘sky’ now appears. Now think about how cosmically profound the existence of other planets are. Hyperventilating yet? Before you grab that paper bag and start chanting your ‘happy place’ song, take the time to acknowledge that “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. There is a blissful quality to ignorance, wrap foil around your head (so the aliens cannot read your mind), sit and wait for an invasion or buy a telescope and empower yourself with celestial knowledge.
Tele-what? Well, you can enjoy the star-lit sky with the naked eye basking in the romantic illusion of whimsy but if you want to accurately gauge the fathomless depths of the heavenly bodies above then you need the proper tools. A telescope is an optical instrument intended to make obscure objects appear larger than life using either, the refracting telescope method: which uses lenses or the reflecting telescope method: which uses mirrors, to garner and converge light.
Take a journey that will blow your mind as you view the world through the eye of your telescope and learn about your home outside your home.
One such mind-blowing nugget happens on the 6th June 2015 which is a celestial event of note: The planet Venus will be at its Greatest Eastern Elongation. Venus, contrary to popular belief, is not where woman come from even if it is a scorching hot and temperamental planet, the irony is sheer coincidence. Venus is a light reflecting planet also known as the morning or evening ‘star’, the second planet from the sun and as big as the earth, size being the only common denominator. When a Venus year is calculated in our time it is approximately 243 days long and it rotates slowly on its axis in the opposite direction to the earth. This planet reflects orange and appears bright because the surface is wrapped in between 28-43 miles of sulphuric acid (car battery acid) clouds. The surface of the waterless planet is lava-like rock and the extreme temperatures are amplified by Carbon Dioxide which is the gas that confines heat from the sun. Add the atmospheric pressure to Venus that’s 90 times stronger than the earths and you will have a ‘hell’ of a time.
Seriously wouldn’t you love to get a glimpse of this planet? Obviously from the safety of your own home, that is unless you have a death wish and a rocket ship. The hype of the celestial event on the 6th June 2015 is all about getting a decent look at Venus, either through a refracting telescope or a reflecting telescope instead of just wishing you worked at NASA.
Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation sounds complicated but just means that the orbital path of Venus to the sun is at the perfect angle to be viewed by the avid star gazer on Earth at sunset. So go on, check out telescope reviews for good telescopes then immerse yourself in astronomy instead of your problems and find purpose within the stars.
Let’s face it: the thought of taking an existing space and converting it into a studio can be daunting to say the least! As a newborn photographer, a studio is an absolute necessity. But creating the studio without spending a fortune (I’m talking gagillions of dollars here…gagillions) led me on a path that had very little instruction, so I had to blaze my own trail, getting creative along the way!
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Hi! I’m Elizabeth. Owner of Elizabeth Moore Photography based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I married my wonderful husband last year and had to uproot, re-locate, and re-brand my business. As many of you photographers who have gone through this know, this can be a business killer!
Moving to a new area outside of my old reach was tough. I’d be lying if I said it was a smooth transition. However, one amazing moment led to another once I started working on converting a spare bedroom into my studio. As a newly married couple, money was tight, so everything purchased had to go a LONG way.
The spare room started as a pretty standard 10 x 12 – white walls, two windows, and carpet (which led to a problem, more on the carpet later). My studio had to have different flooring choices, numerous backdrops that were able to be quickly and easily changed out, and the studio had to be able to accommodate a lighting system. How the HECK am I going to do all of this in 120 sq. feet!?
Cue my husband, who has an engineer brain, who figured out inexpensive work-around tactics that actually work BETTER than the expensive stuff!
This will probably be the most expensive single purchase in your studio. I knew I needed at least three lights: an overhead, and two fill lights on 45-degree angles. There are a million options out there for this kind of “kit”, but I have tried and tested about a half dozen of them until I found the one that blended quality with value the best: The CowboyStudio 2275 Watt lighting kit.
If you’re looking for a lighting kit that that can be transported all over God’s creation, then this kit is probably NOT for you (I haven’t had any issues in my studio, but the kit may not survive being moved around constantly), but for a permanent starting studio these are just good enough! The option to turn on each individual bulb on the fill lights is awesome, and gives you customizable light for your situation!
Here’s my two hacks:
For the overhead light, you need counter-weight to go in the bags. I use 4 cans of the on-sale soup from the grocery store…cheap and heavy.
Go purchase fluorescent bulbs with color temperatures between 3500-5000k for that natural “soft daylight” look. The 5500k bulbs the kit comes with put out too sterile of light for me, but everyone is different!
Lets break down the lighting cost:
Lighting Kit — $230.00
Soup Cans Counterweights – 4 for $1.00
Replacement bulbs – 10 @ $8.00 a piece.
Total: About $310.00
I specialize in photographing newborns, toddlers, and older children. Because of this, I have extremely limited time to be changing out backdrops and need to be able to do it quickly and easily. Luckily, there’s an inexpensive solution for this, also from Cowboy Studio: Three-roller wall mounting backdrop support system.
Side note: Fotodiox also has an almost exact system, which you can find on Amazon. However, I can’t speak for its quality, as I haven’t used it!
The little plastic chains are surprisingly easy to use, and work pretty well, even with heavy backdrops! Also, DO NOT forget to use large wall anchor screws to mount the backdrop system. No one needs embarrassment with a client, or worse: a lawsuit, because of a mounting system that pulls out of the drywall and falls.
Simply mount the two ends of the wall mount system a little farther distance apart as your largest backdrop’s width. If your largest backdrop is 6 feet wide, set the distance between mounts to be 6.5 feet apart. If you might be expanding to larger backdrops later on, make sure to keep that in mind when you mount the system, as it’s FAR easier to easier to accommodate smaller backdrops than larger ones in the future.
Speaking of the backdrop system, you also need to figure out how to hang your backdrops! This is where the crafty part comes in! The manual for the mounting system suggests using PVC or aluminum tubes as the cross bars to support the weight. I HIGHLY recommend PVC tubes. Luckily, I did the trial-and-error already, so you don’t have to!
PVC dimensions: 2″ diameter Charlotte Pipe from any hardware store . Usually these come in 10ft. long segments, which you will need a handsaw or power tool to cut to the proper length. If you can find a store that will charge you by the foot, you will save some money. I had to buy one pipe for each backdrop, since my cut size was 6 feet in length (which meant 4’ of pipe was discarded).
How to mount the backdrops you ask? Simple! I used carpet tape from any hardware store. Both sides of the tape are sticky, with powerful adhesive, so you can hang anything from heavy vinyl to light paper backdrops without worrying about it peeling off. I found that using two strips of the carpet tape next to each other gives the best hold.
With this set-up, you can literally use anything as a backdrop. Wallpaper, construction paper, fabric, vinyl, muslin, and even carpet! You can find rolls of paper at local craft stores (great for seamless wall to floor backdrops). I just rolled the paper off the cardboard tube it comes with and onto the PVC tube! Also, vinyl is actually much cheaper in craft stores than it is online.
We ran into a snag while using the paper and fabric backdrops. How can you keep the material weighted down to prevent curling or wrinkling of the material? The answer came with steel rods! You can pick up these at hardware stores…just find the proper weight and length to match your material. Fold up the bottom couple inches of whatever material you’re using, use carpet tape to adhere it and create a “pocket” for the rod to slide in, and BOOM you’re done. You now have a weighted bottom to your backdrop to ensure little/no wrinkling, no curling, and a smooth roll-up and roll-down of the material!
Lets break down the backdrop system cost:
Mounting System — $60.00
Wall Anchors & Screws — $5.00
PVC supports — $7.00 each
Carpet tape roll — $9.00 each
Backdrops – Varying costs (Vinyl was $20.00 for 2 yards each with coupon)
Total: $100 + depending on amount of backdrops
Originally, I thought that this part of the studio project would be the most expensive. My old studio had beautiful wood floors, which were awesome for shoots. Unfortunately, my new space had carpet, and I mean bottom-of-the-barrel-cheap type of stuff. I thought I was going to have to purchase wood flooring and put it together piece-by-piece, but luckily my hubby found an amazing solution!
Remember vinyl flooring? That stuff that a few years ago looked so unbelievably hideous, and you would probably only use it for a mudroom or for the flooring of a camping trailer? Well, what used to be ugly has done some growing up! Vinyl nowadays comes in such a variety that you can find exactly what you want, even wood floor imitators…and it actually looks like REAL wood!
My husband went to the local discount flooring warehouse and snatched up some clearance items that had already been cut down from the full-size. Because of this, I was able to get 4 different 6 foot wide sheets of “wood” vinyl for less than 100 bucks! After cutting the sheets of vinyl to size, I actually had enough leftover to make a few backdrops too, one of which is long enough to be a seamless backdrop.
One problem with carpet underneath: when someone steps on the vinyl, the carpet pushes down, which gives a “sunken” look up on top. Solution: Plywood squares! We found these great connecting squares of plywood that have traction bottoms. You can buy just enough to fit the size of your space, and they’re cheap!
With this set-up, I can quickly and easily interchange flooring options for all of my clients. They can request one or two different flooring choices, and I just have those two options laying on top of each other!
Lets break down the flooring Cost:
4 discount vinyl floors — $95.00
2×2 Plywood connecting flooring squares – 9 @ $6.00 each (makes 6×6 foot square)
Total: $150 with four flooring options
BONUS: Baseboard Molding Hack:
My shooting style includes a bit of seamless backdrops and also ones with flooring/backdrop combos. I wanted baseboard moldings to imitate a real wall. Obviously, you have to fake this with no actual wall since you’re using a hanging backdrop.
The solution was pretty…interesting. But it was definitely a cool fix! Once you buy your baseboards and cut them to length, you’ll need to attach an L-bracket to each end of the baseboard with superglue (for maximum hold). The baseboard will want to tip forward at this point because of the top heaviness. To fix this you need to add counter-weights. My husband’s ingenious cheap solution:
Steel nuts! You can buy these for virtually nothing at any hardware store. Just superglue and stack them as high as you need to counter the weight of the baseboard. Once you’re done, you should have a freestanding baseboard that can just push up against the backdrop, imitating a real wall!
lets break the Baseboard Cost (though this is not mandatory and is definitely my style):
2 baseboards — $20.00
Bag of L-brackets — $5.00
Bag of 25 Nuts — $5.00
As a photographer who specializes in newborns and children, I’ve accumulated ROOMS of props. Yes, I’m using rooms as a unit of measurement!
You can spend a fortune on buying props specifically made for photographers. Or, you can save a fortune by visiting local garage sales, antique outlets, and flea markets. For example, I found this absolutely stunning used saddle for about 10 bucks at an antique flea market. It took about 20 minutes (and a whole roll of paper towels) to clean it up, but it was totally worth it!
Also, many newborn photographers will splurge on a legitimate baby poser beanbags. These are specifically designed to help bring the best out of your shots! I recently purchased one of these myself as my business has grown, but did you know you can accomplish almost the same thing for a fraction of the cost?
Meet the Wal-Mart beanbag. For those of you outside of the US, Wal-Mart is this magical place where you can find any product you can imagine, for cheap. This includes beanbag furniture, where you can pick up a small beanbag chair for less than 20 bucks.
When the beanbag arrives, you will need to add more “fluff”, so I bought an extra bag of beans, which gave me the perfect firmness I needed! A couple of microphone stands I picked up at a flea market, a curtain rod between the two, and some clamps will attach your blankets/cloth so you can drape it over the bag. DONE. You have a perfect newborn poser with a simple, easy, and cheap backdrop system.
Lets look at the props costs:
Props Cost — $50.00
Beanbag poser — $18.00
Extra “beans” — $16.00
Mic stands — $20.00
Curtain rod — $10.00
Blankets/cloth — $20.00
IT’S A WRAP
I hope after reading this, you’ve gotten ideas as to how it’s possible to have your very own studio. You CAN do it yourself, and you accomplish it without breaking the bank! Of course, everyone’s situation is different…maybe you need to add more in the budget for additional backdrops, or perhaps you already have a lighting kit. Either way, the total budget for this project will change for you and my estimates should be used as guidance, not rule.
Here is breakdown of the entire studio cost:
Lighting — $310.00
Backdrops (system, supports, materials) — $100.00 +
Flooring — $150.00
Baseboards — $30.00
Total: ~$600.00 (more depending on the amount of backdrops you have)
And for the newborn photographer:
Props/posers/blankets — $134.00
With just a few booked sessions, I have already paid for my new studio with all the props I need. The best part? I can actually call this space “mine”, and know that my own sweat, hard-work, and determination helped create my very own photography studio complete with everything I need for even the messiest situations….