PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO SIZE - Can Photographers help please?

PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO SIZE - Can Photographers help please?

34 posts
1 Nov 2015
Biggles485

I tend to work with a lot of new models so to help keep down costs I shoot at home generally, I have Elinchrome lights, backdrops, various props mostly from charity shops and backdrops. My room is about 8 feet high, by 13 feet wide but is over 35 feet in length. Most images on here unless states studio or on location are taken in the house or garden Good luck with your venture, have fun and enjoy, remember to build walls, a well and the likes in the garden and plumb in outside / waterproof electrics on an RCD so that main powered lighting can be set up outdoors!



Hi Paul,

Yes, that is very sound advice. Many thanks.

I notice a lot of successful photographers and models on here, shoot from home. Those that live on farms are especially fortunate with barn space and marvellous on site props!

Regards,

Suzy

Posted 17 Nov 2015
Biggles485
Photographer
Biggles485
Good luck Suzy, whatever the outcome have fun with this venture!
Posted 17 Nov 2015
Flyingphotographer
Photographer
Flyingphotog..
Suzy, I'm sure you've visited studios , which ones were best to work in?
What sizes were they?
Mine is 14m x 7 m and double height, but that makes it a bugger to heat!
plus changing toilets kitchen.
Hope that helps
David

Posted 18 Nov 2015
marlhamphoto
Photographer
marlhamphoto
RedChecker

Smaller studios are inherently more difficult to light due to spill and light refelection off walls (not to mention restriction on focal lengths).

Couple that with the fact that the biggest proportion of photographers wanting to use a home studio would likely be (I'm assuming) less experienced, it would be harder for them to get anything useful from a small studio such as a shed/garage, and even more experienced photographers may struggle due to lack of familiarity with the space provided.

That in mind, if you're having your own lights in there it would be good to have one or two preset light setups that simply just work and all they have to do is press the shutter at standard settings (eg. 100 ISO, 1/125, F8 ), light restricting modifiers such as grids & barndoors would be advised if doing anything other than flat lighting, dark painted walls will also help to a degree. A model who I'm good friends with has such a setup in her garage and it's worked well for her.

Personally I hate small studio spaces and would much rather shoot in 'real' surroundings (even if small) given the choice.


I echo this completely.

There's a huge difference between a photographer using his own small studio space and being able to get worthwhile images out of the place having got thoroughly used to its  limitations and somebody who turns up for a day hire. The latter is likely to struggle in a small space he isn't familiar with.
Posted 18 Nov 2015
Flyingphotographer

Suzy, I'm sure you've visited studios , which ones were best to work in? What sizes were they? Mine is 14m x 7 m and double height, but that makes it a bugger to heat! plus changing toilets kitchen. Hope that helps David



Hi David,

Your studio sounds good - the double height means light bounces effortlessly...the studio space within,  means you can be innovative with sets and styling, helping you and model be more creative. Brilliant stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Although,I have to say that from experience it isn't always SIZE that matters, it is QUALITY laugh
I once modelled in a huge London Studio for a top woman's magazine fashion shoot - they wanted movement in my hair...the studio had no wind machine, not even a bog standard fan...they had to use a hair dryer. There were assistants for assistants on that shoot - peeps everywhere, yet I still felt some studios in the West Country had better facilities. They spent a fortune on bringing in caterers to feed everyone for the lunch - no wonder, I thought, that glossy magazines are so expensive to buy...mmmm

Yet, have also modelled in tiny studios with super results. Have modelled in a tiny Shepherd's hut even and again, results were very good.

Have come across nice studios, but spoilt by the dirty loo/shower that haven't been cleaned, one would judge for a decade - felt like taking a bottle of bleach in... and everyone knows cleanliness is next to godliness.

Some studios - no mirrors. Although I've done a fashion shoot in middle of muddy field before now, without a long mirror, just a hand mirror I had brought along, and no stylist to assist , yet many costume changes and it came out more than fine... It's all down to experience.

The list of plus and minus is endless.



Even portable studios can work...it's all in the talent of the photographer. No good having an all dancing and all singing studio if not knowing what to do with it.

This forum post has for me, been most instructive and a good learning curve. Thanks to all that took part.cheekyYour valued advice has been much appreciated xx

Best Regards,

Suzy




Posted 18 Nov 2015
Edited by SuzyMonty 19 Nov 2015
blancho
Photographer
blancho
"Garden is 100ft long and 80 ft wide"

100ft x 80 ft sounds perfect……

If its for casual shooting with flat uninteresting lighting any space can become a studio. If you want to beable to create anything and everything you need the space in all directions

firstly so you can shoot on a longer lens (wider lenses can look good but are often overused through lanyness or necessity) , and often so the subject isn't to near the lights, or to near the background if its lit so you don't get flair.

secondly so the lighting DOSNT bounce effortlessly (sorry to contradict your comment) you should be in control of all the light in the studio, if its reflecting off something it should be something you have placed there deliberately.


I would say ideally 4m x 10m minimum, with higher than a normal ceiling. I have less for my studio and it limits what I can do creatively.

Also most people paint their studios white so they look nice and the light bounces round. Unless your studio is very big paint it black then you can control the lighting, get shadow when needed and add the detail in the shadows etc as needed, my studio area is light and I can never create a real silhouette or black shadows.

Posted 25 Nov 2015
RedChecker
Photographer
RedChecker
blancho

Unless your studio is very big paint it black then you can control the lighting


Even many big commercial studios are painted black.
Posted 25 Nov 2015
blancho
Photographer
blancho
thats because bigger studios bigger sets, bigger lights quite often,
black is the only technically correct option, but often isn't as pleasant in an amateur environment,

what ever you do don't go with anything non neutral, not white, grey , black. the colour will reflect and cast a coloured tinge to all your images


Posted 25 Nov 2015
blancho

"Garden is 100ft long and 80 ft wide" 100ft x 80 ft sounds perfect…… If its for casual shooting with flat uninteresting lighting any space can become a studio. If you want to beable to create anything and everything you need the space in all directions firstly so you can shoot on a longer lens (wider lenses can look good but are often overused through lanyness or necessity) , and often so the subject isn't to near the lights, or to near the background if its lit so you don't get flair. secondly so the lighting DOSNT bounce effortlessly (sorry to contradict your comment) you should be in control of all the light in the studio, if its reflecting off something it should be something you have placed there deliberately. I would say ideally 4m x 10m minimum, with higher than a normal ceiling. I have less for my studio and it limits what I can do creatively. Also most people paint their studios white so they look nice and the light bounces round. Unless your studio is very big paint it black then you can control the lighting, get shadow when needed and add the detail in the shadows etc as needed, my studio area is light and I can never create a real silhouette or black shadows.



Hi Peter,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply with your wise words.

Some photographers say Grey walls for a studio, which I guess is a compromise between white and black walls.

Black walls then. Satin or Gloss paint? Or maybe black curtains that can be pulled into place.

Total budget for studio is £10K - if it's not doable on that sort of money, then we shall use one of the bedrooms and purchase a fancy four poster for glamour work. At the moment awaiting quotes for work and seeing if an end of garden studio is actually  feasible. Electricity and water no problem anyway.

Regarding your other comments Peter - I love atmospheric shadowy images.

Regards,

Suzy frown
p.s. BTW...I thought these images you shot Peter, were pretty cool...were they taken in your current studio? Plenty of interesting shadow work going on there...


Posted 25 Nov 2015
Edited by SuzyMonty 26 Nov 2015
Alan_Jay
Photographer
Alan_Jay
I'd go for matt black Suzy.  
If you go for black curtains,  try and use black velvet.  It is the best material I've ever found.  The drawback is you need to keep it well vacuumed,  overwise the dust shows!
When I was looking at large sheds, I found a 20' x 10' for around £1000 including delivery.
It's well worth having a couple of opening windows at opposite ends.  They can get very warm in the summer!
Posted 26 Nov 2015
Alan_Jay

I'd go for matt black Suzy.  
If you go for black curtains,  try and use black velvet.  It is the best material I've ever found.  The drawback is you need to keep it well vacuumed,  overwise the dust shows!
When I was looking at large sheds, I found a 20' x 10' for around £1000 including delivery.
It's well worth having a couple of opening windows at opposite ends.  They can get very warm in the summer!



Thanks Alan.

One photographer I know obtained planning permission for a super 'Granny Annex' and then built and used it for a photographic studio.

I Googled ' Sheds' at the start of this project - certainly loads to choose from and yes, you are right Alan, windows are a must...

I did an Art Nude shoot once, in a bog standard garden shed turned into a photo studio - no windows - boiling hot day outside, but the photographer had booked the space, so we used the studio shed and it was like a sauna by the end of shoot. No windows.



Appreciate your reply, Alan.

Regards,

Suzy smiley





Posted 26 Nov 2015
Edited by SuzyMonty 27 Nov 2015
pat_hayes
Photographer
pat_hayes
When converting our single garage into a double/workshop with a studio use in mind I went for 6m x 7m, which turned out OK length and breadth-wise, but any smaller would have been not enough

BUT, the roof trusses and and beams kept the workable height down to 2m, which really isn't enough for any effective rim lighting or overhead lighting, unless of course your model is kneeling or laying on the floor, which works in certain shoots.

I know there will be others poo-pooing the height thing, but you really can't have enough height, think about it, your Plan B is to convert a bedroom, I bet it has high ceilings ??

Anyway, if you do go ahead, let me know, I would use a good-sized local studio, (I'm in Redruth) as I haven't found much suitable so far since Studio Southwest shut in Exeter, although Studio Hire Plymouth is pretty good

Posted 3 Dec 2015
pat_hayes

When converting our single garage into a double/workshop with a studio use in mind I went for 6m x 7m, which turned out OK length and breadth-wise, but any smaller would have been not enough BUT, the roof trusses and and beams kept the workable height down to 2m, which really isn't enough for any effective rim lighting or overhead lighting, unless of course your model is kneeling or laying on the floor, which works in certain shoots. I know there will be others poo-pooing the height thing, but you really can't have enough height, think about it, your Plan B is to convert a bedroom, I bet it has high ceilings ?? Anyway, if you do go ahead, let me know, I would use a good-sized local studio, (I'm in Redruth) as I haven't found much suitable so far since Studio Southwest shut in Exeter, although Studio Hire Plymouth is pretty good



Hi Pat,

Many thanks for your comments.

Various photographers I know, have also found it difficult to source a good local studio here in Cornwall. Some photographers down here have their own studio space, but do not like renting it out. Which is fair enough - they have a living to make and need their studios for commercial work.

One photographer I know did find a small studio to rent, for a Christmas glamour shoot and found he could hardly fit the Christmas tree into the studio space. The way he told me the story was hilarious. (It wasn't a huge tree either ).

Another photographer who booked me, used a studio out in the wilds, only to discover that they only provided a single light box on gantry and on no account were we allowed to shoot glamour there.... So we just shot fashion, but wouldn't use the said studio again...It wasn't that cheap either.

Devon definitely seems better equipped, studio- wize. It takes us an hour or so to get to studios in Plymouth and even longer to Exeter - the traffic is always horrendous, no matter how early we start out. Cornwall would really benefit from a decent sized rental photographic studio.

Bedroom height in our own property is 8 ft. But we  have been down that route before, using our home for shoots, when I ran a model agency, and really, hubby would much prefer that proposed studio was at top of garden.

Springtime would be the starting time, if at all. It's amazing how the costs are already adding up in quotes supplied...

I've even started scanning local property pages, taking into account properties that have rooms, or an annex, or large double garage, or barn,  suitable for a photographic studio, that didn't encroach upon private space, within the house, as it were. Yes, there are some superb houses about, but think I need to win the lottery first. Won £25 on Premium Bonds today - so that's a start! blush

Regards,

Suzy frown

Posted 3 Dec 2015
Imagefield
Photographer
Imagefield
It's down to maths... well 'some' of it is down to maths -

Object (hight or width) divided by sensor/film (hight or width) multiplied by focal length of lens

Model 5'7"(1700mm)
Full frame sensor 26mm (portrait) ....24 if landscape
lens 100mm

(1700/26)x100 = 6538

Or 6.538 meters

This is a very useful formula for figuring out which lens to take with which camera !

Though this does not account for depth of field behind the subject./ 3 rolls of background/ a cove or the space behind the camera for a photographer, kit, observers, changing room or MUA.

My 2p on colour - paint it white - everything - possibly a grey floor as its easier to maintain; but I would never book a black studio.


Posted 4 Dec 2015
Imagefield

It's down to maths... well 'some' of it is down to maths - Object (hight or width) divided by sensor/film (hight or width) multiplied by focal length of lens Model 5'7"(1700mm) Full frame sensor 26mm (portrait) ....24 if landscape lens 100mm (1700/26)x100 = 6538 Or 6.538 meters This is a very useful formula for figuring out which lens to take with which camera ! Though this does not account for depth of field behind the subject./ 3 rolls of background/ a cove or the space behind the camera for a photographer, kit, observers, changing room or MUA. My 2p on colour - paint it white - everything - possibly a grey floor as its easier to maintain; but I would never book a black studio.


Hi Geoff,

Thank you for your advice.

That's interesting, when you say paint everything white...http://stephenelliot.com/2011/04/07/home-photo-studio1/

At moment, the trench ( for water connection/sewerage pipe & electric cable) to proposed studio is proving not exactly cost effective - has to be done by hand by contractor, as there isn't any access for a mini digger, let alone a full sized JCB.

Best regards,

Suzy frown

Posted 4 Dec 2015
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