How Much Space Do I Need For a Studio Setup

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by allen_smith|1, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. I don't have room in my house for a "home studio", so I'm thinking of building a structure
    for a studio. My question is just how much room do I need? Sure, the bigger the better,
    but I want to keep this economical. I will use it for experimentation, portraiture, bridal and
    product photography.

    How wide, deep and high is recommended?
  2. this is my dream studio!!
  3. all dims are in mm!!!
  4. Allen - I won't comment on the horizontal dimensions as you have said, the bigger the better, but I think your height is a little too restrictive. 3000 - 450 - 600 = 1950. You may be able to reduce the space that you have allocated for lights slightly (I presume that you mean "space for lighting suspension") if you intend fitting overhead suspension tracks. Manfrotto tracks will only need about 200mm between the ceiling and the bottom of the runners (trolleys). However it would be much better if you could raise the ceiling height by another 500mm. You could then suspend all of your lighting and leave the floor area totally free for camera movement. It would also help to eliminate overhead objects intruding into frame when you use wide lenses.
  5. Sunil,
    I like your design, especially the huge north window. I was looking at having one also. I
    also like the storage area. I have been looking at something a bit bigger, so this helps out
    a bunch.

    Thanks for the tips on the height. I'd like to suspend everything, but probably won't do it
    right off the bat. I do, however, want to eventually do that. Thanks for the tip on the
    Manfrotto tracks.
  6. Allen-- One of the aspects of studio photography that many people fail to take into account when designing a studio of "minimum space" is angle of view. The practical aspects of this is that the longer a studio you have, the (somewhat) narrower of a background you can get away with--and the compression effect you get from being able to use longer lenses helps as well. Shooting a group on nine-foot seamless ten feet away from the background doesn't work very well. Back up seven or eight feet, and things get massively better.

    The longer throw also allows you to increase the distance between the subject and the backdrop, allowing much more lighting control and the ability to throw the background further out of focus.

    I would say that the absolute minimum shooting distance you will be able to get away with for your stated needs is about 24 feet. Figure a minimum of 12 feet of width for a roll of nine-foot seamless and stands.

    Keep in mind that no matter how big you build it, you will want more, but if you plot the cursing/frustration/disappointment line versus the utility/cost line on a graph, they will probably optimize 24' x 12' for a venture that starts out with such constrictions. If you can increase only one dimension, for my money it would be the length instead of the width. Nine or ten foot ceilings would be a practical compromise.

    One way to achieve this with lesser enclosed space use is to build a bump-out where you can back you and the camera further back into a doorway or something. Sometimes three feet can make a world of difference between what you can shoot and what you can't.

    Best of luck on the venture (he says, smiling, knowing that the house he just put a contract on has a shooting space of 28' x 37' with nine foot ceilings and oodles of storage, and is right next to a beautiful lake).

  7. in 96' I had a 20'Lx24'Wx9'H studio built out of metel with a concret slab for $7000. it had a 8' wide door so I could move the camera out the door if needed. I really should have went with a 12' wide door but I could not afford that extra $200.
  8. Thanks for all the advise. Bill ... I'm envious to say the least. In my mind I had something
    like a 20x20 area in mind. I would definitely go to a longer length dimension.

    Stephen -- Apart from the door, how did the metal building work out for you? Sounds like
    you needed a bit more length. Any major problems with the dimensions of your building?
  9. Allen, the metel building worked really nice and the door was positioned in the middle so I could get that longer dimmintion. I eventuly put up sheet rock all throughout the inside and ran plumbing at a cost of about $700 in materials.

    I would have liked to have had a few more feet on the longerside. because it got to be a pain on the colder day's and in the middle of the day doring the summer. I would say if you can afford it go with a minium of 24' or better 30'.
  10. Allen, with these types of building you can have them designed so you can add on in the future.
  11. The smallest studio I'd like would be about 15x24. The extra space behind you makes a world of difference. Plus it's nice to have seating for guests of the sitter. Also a small table for holding equipment during a shoot. Working with Sunil's idea. I'd set it up more like the attached. 8-9' is workable but I'd like something a little higher.
  12. Speaking of dream studios... lately I've been toying with the idea or setting up a rental studio because I have about 7000 sq ft available to me. Only problem is that it's too far away from me to use on a regular basis.

    If anyone near new haven, ct is interested, we'd still like to build it. Planning on 4 large offices (over 140 sq ft) at least 2 enclosed shooting areas and a large shooting area that can be divided by black out curtains, conference room (or not), darkroom (or not) lots of locked storage rooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms, 12' ceilings, loading dock, etc. If anyone is interested in this let me know. We're willing to discuss arrangements. I'd really just like to get it built and used.

    To give you an idea of what I think good space is, the smallest studio I set up was 19x24'.

    I have the space, I just need to find people interested so I can build it out there. Anyway, I didn't mean to drift so much but someone mentioned dream studios :) I'm really hoping to get it done in time for someone to see it so if anyone's interested please contact me.
  13. You guys draw up dream studio plans??? Now I don't feel so weird about spending my evenings with graph paper drawing my dream house plans--plans that will never materialize. I didn't even think of adding a studio. I guess it's time to pull out the graph paper and play some more.

    Allen, you might consider a fair size dressing room big enough for a bride and her mom. That way you won't have to worry about people using one of the bedrooms to change.
  14. "Allen, you might consider a fair size dressing room big enough for a bride and her mom. That way you won't have to worry about people using one of the bedrooms to change."

    I agree with Mellissa. I forgot to mention it but that small room is a dressing room (the larger one for storage). Especially in a detached structure like yours. Probably out of the question but a half bath or bath with shower would be nice as well. You could go with a smaller dressing room if you go with a makeup table and mirror outside of it.
  15. "You guys draw up dream studio plans??? Now I don't feel so weird about spending my evenings with graph paper drawing my dream house plans--plans that will never materialize."....i got a worse one, i sit around daydreaming of how i would cut holes in the roof of my van and add invertors and banks of batteries for shootings bald eagles at the dam in winter...all the while my poor wife has been begging me for 3 monthes to replace the trim around the back door where you can see right through to the garage
  16. also....when considering future growth "floating slab " buildings cannot be added on to.The slab must be seamless pour unless supported by frost pilings if your in such an area(national building code sort of place). If you plan on adding on later you need to put in the entire piece of concreat at the beginning and just leave the extra floor sticking out as a kind of a patio.
  17. And let's not forget to provide for adequate ventilation - especially if hot lights are to be used at any time......

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