Building a studio inside a house

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Daniel_OB, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    I have intention to build a studio inside a house accomodating one room. The studio will be for shooting and administration only. Studio portrait, and small products will be primery purpose.
    Do anyone here have experience with such renovation. I would like to hear from you some advices. Lighting, placing lights, floor kind, background, window orientation (e.g. north side), and cost.
    Thanks
     
  2. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I had a friend do this, and I was surprised at how large the room needed to be. His ceiling height was around 12 to 14 feet high. I think you could get by with less, but standard 8 foot ceiling would be very tight.
     
  3. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    Skylights that can be covered would be nice. And also a wall that opens up, with silks covering.

    Jon
     
  4. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Member

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    Cut in a North wall window for available light still life and portraiture
     
  5. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    The room should be at least 22 feet long and at least 15 feet wide. This will allow you to use standard seemless backgrounds and muslin backdrops with room for your lights on the sides. This will also allow you to shoot full head to toe body shots and groups with a normal lens. The ceiling should be at least 9 feet high but the higher the better. You could mount your studio lights on special studio tracks which will give you more floor space. Sometimes, if your room doesn't actually have the length you need, you can shoot through an open door into the set. I know a well known actor's photographer who had his camera set-up in his dining room while the living room served as the studio. Blackout curtains are great if you want "total control" of your lighting and can be opened for available light set-ups.

    Hard floors are good for placing light stands and tripods and easier to keep clean. Seemless paper and muslim drapes are less like to wrinkle also.



    If you're shooting portraits, adequate ventilation is important and the studio should not be allowed to get too hot or cold for your subject's (or an art director's) comfort.

    Of course quality work can (and often is) done with far less floorspace and expense but a nice dedicated studio is always great to have. It's easy to get used to a "10 second commute" from home to work. Good luck with your project and do keep us posted.
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Daniel,

    My last 'studio' was a big room, about 4x5 metres/13x16 feet -- and it was far too small. My current studio is more like 7 metres/22 feet square.

    The reason you need so much room is for space behind the sitter (with portraits -- otherwise you get shadows on the background) and for lights on the side, though wall-mounting the lights on boom arms saves a lot of space and is quick and easy to use.

    You also need a good ceiling height, preferably 3m/10 feet. Even a height of 2.5m/8 feet can be limiting when you want to put a soft box over the subject.

    My current studio is pretty much permanently blacked out, but then, the windows were mostly south facing. A small open north window and a fan provide ventilation.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Daniel,

    I don't know where you live but a second story large room with a northern exposure and plenty of electrical service would do. Unobstructed even floor a real plus. High over head ceiling track for lighting equipment.
     
  8. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I'm a huge fan of this idea. For more than just the buisiness. Just think, you are always surronded by you photo stufff. Images on the wall, equipment set up in the corned ,polaroids laying around . Maybe a partial set in the process sitting there with the changing light of the day. Think about it, you'd be living inside your brain! I was in a commercial studio for 8 years, It was great! but being in a home studio the last 11 there is so much freedom. I can work all day and night if I want. Or play all day and just work at night . My point is it is always there. Surrounded by the tools and ideas of what we get to do 24/7. I would not have it any other way.
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi daniel --

    you can really make this project as expensive (complicated) or inexpensive (simple) as you want it to be.

    they make all sorts of semi-portable product shooting tables, and depending on the type of portraits you want to shoot --- a big space is nice, but a small (or varied ) space can be nice too.

    bogen makes wall booms that make it easy to attach lights or a camera to a door frame, so you don't have to deal with track lighting, or light stands.

    good luck!

    -john
     
  10. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    From my personal experience, you can do good headshots or portraits in a tiny room, it's just limiting. Most of the time my subjects are seated, because I only have 8 foot ceilings, and the room is just 12x17. For a recent job I set up a "studio" in daylight and used the sun as my main source to shoot some jewelry. You can shoot in small spaces, but as others have said, a bigger space is always better because it's easier to work when you're not constrained by ceilings and side walls. I like working in places with 12 foot ceilings. If I were building from scratch, I would also make sure that the electrical system could handle my flash packs on fast recycle. When I am shooting in my studio, I must use slow recycle, and that is sometimes inconvenient (although not when I shoot 8x10 LOL).
    Here's a link to something I recently did in my very tiny space. Designer's Photograph Please note: I did NOT shoot any of the jewelry images on that site!

    Neal
     
  11. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    Thaks guys a lot for so usefull advices. I think I can smell really nice studio. Will post some digs of the work later on as it gets done.
     
  12. haris

    haris Guest

    If you think next as absolutely minimums for standing and/or lie down model: 1,5 meters from background to model, place needed from background stands to wall atleast 0,5 meter, 2 to 3 meters from model to camera that is you, and atleast one meter behind you so you can to move, that is 5 to 6 meters lenght. And I don't know if you can put hair backlight brhind and above models head, mayby do, but... 2 meters from each wall to light stands, and 2 meters between lights, that is 6 meters. And let say height of model atleast 1,80 meters (some will be shorter, but same models can be ove 2 meters high), so when you think that you will have to place lights above models head, space needed fior umbrellas/softboxes, theigh needed for hair backlight, that is 3,5 meters. So, absolutely minimum would be 6x6x3,5 meters. And that would be enough for sitting or 3/4 heigh (american plan). Maybe you can shoot one standing/laying down model with average heigh up to 1,80 meters. Best dimension for comfortable work of anything except lager people groups/cars/and bigger subjects would be 10 meters lenght, 8 meters width, and 4 meters and above heigh. In that room you can put also some table/chairs/couch for resting and make up/hair dressing, and paravan for models cloths changing.

    That would be my dream studio, 10x8x4 meters.

    Windows: As large as you can on north side if you can. Wall colours: white. But, make such arrangement that you can in any time darker the room (place black material over the windows), and that you can place dark (black) material behind background and on side walls. Sometimes you would need to minimize light bouncing from walls, that is reason.