1. Sir SR

    Sir SR

    Messages:
    5,811
    Name:
    Shaheed
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Dear Wise People

    We are thinking about moving and have the opportunity to have a large multifunction space built! The functions would mainly be a photography studio (!), cinema room (maybe a projector) and space to play table tennis!!!

    So what size (height, width, length) ideally. The hardest variable will be height but given that this will be within a (potentially two storey, with scope for a double height room) extension, workarounds are possible! Maybe even scope to have rails fitted to ceilings for lights Just need to assess all the options.

    This is not a commercial venture.

    Thanks for all your help
     
  2. Tunbridge

    Tunbridge

    Messages:
    1,245
    Name:
    Stephen
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Great opportunity, the obvious answer is the bigger the better...but I guess that depends what exactly you want to shoot.

    Just don't paint it all white!
     
  3. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    22,711
    Name:
    Richard
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Someone on here once said "every studio I've ever worked in has always been just one foot too small." Which is kinda funny and true, and says a few things.
    - There is no such thing as too big
    - We work within whatever space is available
    - Anything is possible (almost)

    But assuming your Flickr is typical and you're not looking to shoot trucks and a full orchestra - say table-top, portraits and small/tight groups - then if you can get a proper table-tennis space in there, you'll be fine. The smaller the space, the more you have to compromise, eg if you don't have a high ceiling, simply avoid high hair lights and get tall people to sit down. If you're only shooting for your own pleasure (and not a professional brief) that kind of thing is usually doable.

    Things I use when needs must and space is tight, include bouncing directly off white walls and ceiling, and using umbrellas or reverse-firing softboxes that can be pushed right up against the surface. Sometimes that extra foot or so makes all the difference. But generally speaking white walls etc are a PITA in smaller studios and seriously limit good light control for low-key effects, so neutral dark grey or black drapes or screens or boards that can be pulled back or removed is a good combo. Beware of wood floors and coloured furnishings that will cause problems if you need really accurate colour, even if it's not obvious at the time.

    This time-lapse video shows the set for shooting an iPhone for a magazine cover. Subject the size of your hand, but the set about 4-5m wide :eek:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqC2xpCaG80
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    photo si, sirch, simonbarker and 2 others like this.
  4. chrism8

    chrism8

    Messages:
    95
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Go for as large floor space and max out the ceiling height as much as you can, decent softboxes are pretty big these days and as the light is mounted in the middle ( obviously ) you'll need a ceiling height of say 10ft or more to get it above head height for a portrait.
     
    Graham W and Sir SR like this.
  5. Garry Edwards

    Garry Edwards

    Messages:
    10,471
    Name:
    Garry Edwards
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Well, you won a studio day in the Lencarta studio a few years ago, that one measured 40' x 33' and personally I found it adequate for everything that I needed to do - but the ceiling height, at 10', was sometimes a bit limiting, so if you can go higher then you should.
    If you rememember, it was surrounded by black curtains (actually black muslin backgrounds) except on one side, where the offices and toilets are situated. These were painted white but because of the adequate size, it didn't interfere with lighting control.

    I can't remember whether you've ever seen me working, but I tend to use lights much closer than most, which means that I don't need a great deal of space - but because I'm lazy and also tend to work fast, I like to have loads of lights, fitted with a wide range of modifiers, these tend to just get pushed to one side when not immediately required, taking up space but facilitating fast work. When I've had to shoot in a small space I've got around this by putting things away, but this dramatically reduces speed.

    Basically, the size doesn't (shouldn't) affect image quality, as long as you work within the limitations and don't expect to be able to shoot very large subjects well in a space that's too small - I've seen some fantastic work, carried out in spall spaces by some really good photographers, but more space definately does make life easier.
     
  6. Scooter

    Scooter

    Messages:
    194
    Name:
    Owen
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I'm definitely of the Garry Edwards school of studio craft - no matter how long a shoot is, I always have more to do than I can get done (although partly, this is deliberate - imagine running out of ideas half way through a day's shooting?), and will use any dead time (make-up, wardrobe, model's cigarette/coffee/phone break) to queue up lights, and other gear for the next shot and the one after that. I also shoot mostly in small studios though and I'm terrible at the "putting stuff away" part. If it's not raining, I'll sometimes sling stuff outside after it's done with, but mainly, the studio looks like an explosion at WEX by the time I've finished. I then need to track down and recover all the gear I've strewn about the place. Usually it's nearby, but I did shoot at Joel Hick's location (his dad runs an industrial estate, machine shop and museum which they also rent out for shoots), and we had to drive around picking up lights, stands, other misc grip gear, smoke machines etc. afterwards from machine shops, warehouses, on top of JCB's...

    I tend to order my set plan, grouped on the things that are most time consuming to change, ie: makeup and hair, followed by background (it's not just the act of swapping the roll in a small space - you need to move all of the lights and other gear off the background to change it). The one thing I do need to fi though is I tend to over-shoot stuff - ie I'll make too many minor variations, which later, when I sorting through the images, just don't make any difference - too many of therm are the same.

    I used to worry about shooting in small spaces, and look for studios with more space, and sure, you can do things in a larger space that you can't do in the small one, mainly, shoot from further away, which gives a different look to the images, or shoot closer and wider without running out of background. On of the ways I solve this these day is to shoot for post production. That is, I'm not "fixing" the image in post, so much as adopting a an end-to end workflow where the capture part is just one part of of the whole process. One of the things I do in small spaces is to maximise the pixel coverage of the subject - so I shoot vertically. The final image though will often be a 16:9 widescreen at ~120MP. Photoshop is just so good at making up excess background these days: I used to do this once in a while as cretaio of the extra space was a laborious process of cloning, flipping, stretching, warping etc. Now, with content-aware crop, you can add extra background pretty easily. Not in one go, but you add a bit at a time (say 15%) and then clone and disrupt any patterns that start to form and then do a bit more. Once you get pas 1:1 I'm just try a 16:9 in one go and usually go from there -takes about 10 minutes now.

    Other than that, it is, as Garry says, about light control - closer lights, barn doors, flags (I'm favouring black foam core on bendy grip arms right now) grids and black walls, black floors and cloths. To solve that "large softbox won't fit under the low ceiling" problem, just aim a light up at the ceiling instead and let that be your soft light source. Just be sure that none of the light goes directly to your subject - so again grids, barn doors etc will help Or a Large BFT :)


    F2 ran a feature on shooting in small studios once, and they called Garry asking for some potential interviewees. Garry was kind enough to suggest me, and here's the article they wrote on me which starts off "Owen Lloyd is interesting..." which is all I ever wanted :p I've moved house since then and the current studio is a little big bigger than the attic room you can see here, but it's still pretty small. I'll grab some picture of it later on and post them up. One of the things I would also urge you to do, is consider the whole contiguous space - not just the room you've designated as the studio space. For example, in my current setup, the studio door opens onto a 2nd floor landing off to the eft of the "shooting wall", so I can put a light out there for example, if I want it further away, or shoot from out there along the background wall. The room also has double doors opening onto a very strange balcony affair, which is next to useless tbh, but it does add an extra metre of room if It's not raining... (I've also boomed lights out from there pointing back into rooms below

    Also - check out Barry Mountford: his DIY overhead lighting track is brilliant.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79TX_OHJ8KQ
     
    sirch, Bythesea and Sir SR like this.
  7. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    21,937
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    That’s awesome.
     
    thequietman likes this.
  8. Scooter

    Scooter

    Messages:
    194
    Name:
    Owen
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Isn't it just? The rivet guns :)
     
    Phil V likes this.
  9. Sir SR

    Sir SR

    Messages:
    5,811
    Name:
    Shaheed
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Thank you everybody for the replies - keep them coming - it's really interesting!

    I've always had a small space to shoot in and managed to work around it. I'm after an easier life and more room to take full length portraits if possible.

    The lencarta studio was immense. Not sure that large a space would be possible in our house!!

    I do like the idea of a rail system - awesome.

    Essentially we need to build a new garage to house the campervan and the plan is to have a large multifunction space. We have considered a double height room with a mezzanine level. Ultimately we will speak to the architects who did our current extension and give them an "ideal space" brief and see what they can come up with - hence the questions here.

    Other things I was going to consider were a system for storing/using different paper rolls. A ceiling railing system and an editing space. This is pure indulgence on my part but the room will also be used for the girls' arts/crafts and to house a table tennis table!!
     
  10. Sir SR

    Sir SR

    Messages:
    5,811
    Name:
    Shaheed
    Edit My Images:
    No
    IMG_4862.jpg IMG_8480.jpg IMG_1525715474.195941.jpg

    A lot of my images are in small spaces. Shooting in the lencarta studio was ace though
     
  11. Garry Edwards

    Garry Edwards

    Messages:
    10,471
    Name:
    Garry Edwards
    Edit My Images:
    No
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
    photo si likes this.
  12. Sir SR

    Sir SR

    Messages:
    5,811
    Name:
    Shaheed
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I did wonder about creep with the overhead rails.

    I've ruled nothing out with regards the pool table........but a table tennis table can be folded and stored away. Harder with the pool table!!
     
  13. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

    Messages:
    22,711
    Name:
    Richard
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I'm with Garry on the overhead SkyTrack thing. When they suit, they're brilliant, no doubt about that. But often they don't go exactly where you want, don't go high enough or low enough or both, and with a big softbox at some angles they don't always want to hang right.

    A garage large enough for a motorhome would be perfect, but one thing about garage studios in general is that they're not kept at a comfortable room temperature most of the time and if it's a multi-function space there'll be some shunting about and moving stuff before you can start, and then get the big space heaters fired up. In other words, not the kind of place you can just pop in to for a few quick tests shots or whatever. Personally, I'd prefer a permanent studio within the house even if it was a lot smaller. It'd be fine for 90% of my work and I could workaround the rest.
     
    Sir SR likes this.
  14. Scooter

    Scooter

    Messages:
    194
    Name:
    Owen
    Edit My Images:
    No
    I know what you mean - I did consider putting up rails as the stand forest can get quite dense - and booms also have their issues, so the floating overhead light appealed, but ultimately, it was, as you say, that they don't go low enough, or reach the full (and limited) height available; or go right into the corners. A combination of both might make better use of the space though with one overhead and the rest on stands. I do like Barry's DIY though - check out his diorama work.
     
    Sir SR likes this.
  15. Sir SR

    Sir SR

    Messages:
    5,811
    Name:
    Shaheed
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Ah, the plan would be to have a separate space to the garage for the studio space. We have to build a bigger garage so we thought we'd do the studio and garage as part of a bigger project!
     
    HoppyUK likes this.
  16. juggler

    juggler

    Messages:
    4,383
    Name:
    Simon
    Edit My Images:
    No
    This... setting up and putting away is a complete PITA. A studio with enough space to have the 'might-be-needed' bits accessible but not in the way would be a major bonus.
     
    MidnightUK, Scooter and Sir SR like this.
  17. Scooter

    Scooter

    Messages:
    194
    Name:
    Owen
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Too right Simon. Almost all my full creative shoots are done in someone else's studio, and lugging a car full (and I mean full, seats down, estate car) of lights, stands, booms, crossbars, softboxes, beauty dishes and other reflectors, grids, barn doors, brollies, reflectors, cookies, speedlights, hotlights, fog machines (light and heavy fog), wind machines, wardrobe and fabrics, black muslin and sometimes, LED sticks, and a myriad of other tat down 2 flights of stairs to the studio, unloading, repacking and reloading, and unloading back up the stairs again around midnight.. well. In the words of Danny Glover "I am too old for this s***..!". So today it was fantastic, having shot a portfolio for a model new to the UK in my own mini studio, I just switched everything off, shut the door and took her to the station. Bloomin' marvelous :)
     
  18. Garry Edwards

    Garry Edwards

    Messages:
    10,471
    Name:
    Garry Edwards
    Edit My Images:
    No
    You do realise that you've let the side down? You could have just sold her a map showing her how to get to the station:)
     
    MidnightUK, juggler and Phil V like this.
  19. Scooter

    Scooter

    Messages:
    194
    Name:
    Owen
    Edit My Images:
    No
    Sorry Garry - I'll hand in my card at the door :/

    Here's some shots of the set start and end (we did a beauty headshot at the start, and then switched to full on colour and fog riot). Gives an idea of what you can squeeze into a small studio space.

    IMG_4346.jpg IMG_4347.jpg IMG_4353.jpg IMG_4356.jpg
     
    Sir SR likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice