Small studio setup help needed

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by wildmaven, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    I have been fortunate enough to get a 12 foot x 20 foot space for free where I can set up my studio, but I am wondering if that would be enough room for doing portrait photography, since I would have to section off part as a changing room. With the space so small, are there tips on paint color, workflow, etc that I should consider?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That should certainly be enough room for typical portrait photography. How high is the ceiling?...that is usually the dimension that constrains your lighting.

    Paint color...I'm not sure. I would go with either white, black or middle grey. Something that won't cause any color cast. White or grey would be good for bouncing the light, if you have to. Black would be good if you like low key shots and don't want any stray light bouncing around.

    Would you ever want to take your lighting gear out of the studio?...because if you don't, it would be fairly beneficial for you to mount your equipment to the ceiling, rather than on light stands. This way, you don't have any tripping hazards. You can also mount your backdrop support to the wall or ceiling, rather than use stands.

    The options are endless. Try some Google searches, I'm sure you will be able to find plenty of photos of what people's studios look like.
     
  3. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Mike! The ceiling right now is 12 feet high. :) I never thought about attaching lights/backdrops to the wall! Great idea! I'm thinking that the dressing area should have a little bench, a shelf, a full length mirror and an outlet for quick hair touchups. There is a restroom down the hall of the building, though I'd rather they don't change in there because the owners of the building probably don't want it tied up for long periods of time for their own customers, ha ha. What's exciting is that there is a beautiful meadow, trees, and flowers outside the building, so I can go outdoors for natural shoots as well.
     
  4. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Sounds like a pretty good space! Congrats.

    I have a similar space (12X35) but with a lower ceiling. Since the room is narrow, I'd paint the walls middle grey (or thereabouts) personally. White will lead to a loss of light control; black is pretty uninviting. Middle grey seems like a good compromise to me.

    I mounted my seamless paper setup to the ceiling so as to not have stands taking up space. Works well for me!
     
  5. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    When purchasing "middle grey" paint, I assume it should be matte or satin, not glossy? If I go into a paint store and ask for a middle grey, will they look at me like I have 2 heads? :)
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, I would assume that you want to avoid a glossy finished paint.

    I don't know if they will know middle grey (18% grey) or not. You could always buy a grey card and take that with you. Unless you plan to meter off of the wall, I don't think it's imperative for the tone to be exactly middle grey.
     
  7. kcp

    kcp TPF Noob!

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    What I did with my home studio was had my husband build me a backdrop system. He mounted two 2x4's on either side of the wall with five notches cut out of each board. We then got steel bars from Lowes and placed them in the notches. I can hang two backdrops on each bar and slide them across to the middle as needed. It works great!
     
  8. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    Oooooooooooooooooo..........great idea!!!! :)
     
  9. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, it doesn't have to be exactly middle grey. I just brought a grey card with me and chose the closest/nicest paint swatch.

    Also, they might look at you crazy when you ask for a matte finish. I ended up getting a few up from matte (still matte, but not into 'glossy' territory) because I'm stupid. The wall is pretty reflective now, so make sure to get matte. Don't let 'em upsell ya.
     

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