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  1. #1
    Daniel_OB's Avatar
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    Building a studio inside a house

    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. #2
    resummerfield's Avatar
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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.
    —Eric

  3. #3
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Skylights that can be covered would be nice. And also a wall that opens up, with silks covering.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  4. #4
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    Cut in a North wall window for available light still life and portraiture

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_OB
    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
    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.
    "A certain amount of contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensable to the purest realization of this idea." Man Ray

  6. #6

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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. #7
    Curt's Avatar
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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. #8

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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.
    Stop trying to get into my mind, There is nothing there!

  9. #9

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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. #10
    wilsonneal's Avatar
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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

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