It would be as tall and long as possible. It would have a seamless white background on one wall. Maybe a black one also. A prop room, a wardrobe room and of course an equipment storage room. Most important it would have lots and lots of lighting, stands and backgrounds, and other accessories. And then I would just need something to shoot. For now just use my living room.
Oh yeah, huge bay doors for large things. And scaffolding. Got to be able to get the high angles and even shoot straight down
Large & tall space with every piece of equipment easily movable. Overhead structures for mounting/attaching equipment. Windows enough to let in ambient light but with coverings to completely seal them off. Enough electrical outlets for lighting, computers, etc., and with enough juice to power them all. Good insulation for climate control and sound barriers. A sink and work table. Smooth floor for moving wheeled equipment easily. Walls designed to allow easy placement of backdrops. In general, flexible, flexible, flexible. Disclaimer - I am not a studio photographer, but this is what I would like in my studio if I had one.
Actually I saw really nice backyard studio on Pinterest. Can't seem to find it again. But it had lots of windows and these sliding barn doors on the outside so you could cut the light in case you needed it dark.
What are you going to do in that studio? What will the dimensions be? Generally the ceiling is a limiting factor,trying to get lights up and high. I've used everything from my 2 car garage to my last studio, 10,000 sq. feet. I had 3 large sets for anything from a single car on down and then 2 smaller sets for table top. Prop storage,light stands,backgrounds,etc. all become a factor,depending on what you're going to shoot. I even had a "cheap" infinity wall. Took a roll of linoleum,15' wide, took one end and took 2 2x6'sx 12 feet and sandwiched the linoleum in between and bolted the 2 2x6's together and then on some massive pulley's raised it against the wall and out toward "camera". I used the backside, not the pattern side and then painted it white and when lit correctly, you can't see the curve of the 90 degree,where the linoleum comes from the floor and up on the wall! Even a few feet away, you can't actually see the linoleum surface!!! Then just use paper for people to walk on or just re-paint every once in a while. Now with Photoshop, would be a lot easier!
One purple wall - cause I've always wanted a purple wall.
A system to hang backdrops.
Giant table for crafting/keeping kids busy while I photo siblings.
I'll be implementing most if not all of this hopefully by the end of this summer after I get the apartment I'm living in all to myself on the farm I live on. I've got plenty of outdoor space and a log cabin to shoot at, just need to sort out the indoor space - especially for winter!
Great topic Diane,,,,,,,best of success with your vision of a new studio.
I thought I would offer a few unique details from art studios and photo studios here. Lots of light, and if possible exposed beams for effect, I love exposed beams...
Think of this when you design the floor plan, include space in the walls for doors such as an oversized walk in closet.....with shelves for supplies, think Martha Steward,,,,,,keep the actual studio open wide open and tuck all your supplies into oversized walk in closets. Even have the planner include skylights for overhead natural lightning,....by having the exposed rafter beams you can run track lightning throughout for working in the evening hours.
Depending on your budget you could leave the doors off recess them into the walls for your materials......years back I had the opportunity to work on a farm house in Mississippi, and my design and plan for the old farm house was to expose the rafters and place and I replaced the entire kitchen roof with skylight,,,,,,this provided light to enter all adjoining rooms........on one end, you can also make space above for a loft, make it as comfortable as you can....also consider a covered wooded porch with french doors to take breaks......also include a butler's bar with sink and cabinets so you would not need to run back and forth to the main house, under the counter refrigerator,,,,microwave.......make it comfortable for you work needs and have a oversized work table in the center, this way you can walk around have shelves drawers....to tuck supplies away......large enough to work on projects such as matting if you matt your own photos or framing your canvases.......
You might also consider the new mini storage buildings which you can buy and work around that,,,,,,think of building cost etc.....they now come into various sizes and some look like a mini home....in fact all over the world homeowners are using those structures for the foundations of there homes.....and what they create is quite amazing.....
Maybe a sales area for showing work to clients. If you've ever watched some of the CreativeLive workshops, successful studios have a comfy space with room to show off products - albums, frames, large framed art and a tv on the wall to go through images with the client.
Plenty of power outlets! Maybe in the floor to minimize wires.
Built in sound system.
NEST thermostat control for WIFI control of climate.
Diane check these out,,,,,remember make the design (scale) to fit your budget....the design does not have to be square but traditional roof, or here in New Orleans behind the beautiful homes are slave quarters behind the properties....they are traditional two story......if you plan any business desging the upstairs as viewing space of your completed work..... Also, I noticed you were from CT.....if your home is historic keep the design in mind of your home as well smaller but exterior detail to blend with the main home....
Think of this also, the four corners are windows floor to ceiling,,,,,regardless how you angle your studio, what views will you be looking at while you work.....Long time friends purchased a log cabin 8,000 ft. they re-designed the log cabin with floor to ceiling each corner of each room, reason being they had the entire view of the Arapahoe Peaks mountain range in up in the mountains from Denver.......just amazing,,,,,,,as was the purchase of the original log cabin,,,,an elderly couple had retired they were school teacher and could not take the high altitude and Marion's husband noticed a for sale posted on line went to take a look and purchased the log cabin for 25,000 just amazing deal...
I now work in a space approximately 6 x 8 feet.....in a corner of my laundry room. I have a wonderful large window with a great view.....however, my ideal SUMMER studio would be anything larger than this size, located on a beach in Rockport, Mass. and, in the winter, somewhere on a beach near Naples, Fla. Both would need living quarters, and large windows! Is that too much to ask??????
Diane, imagine a structure such as this in the photo.....it was in New Hope and the beautiful main home had burned to the ground. The barn was not affected by the fire....but the design of the building or architecture could blend in your zone......but smaller,,,,
Remember also ultra violet window protection, standard glass and cause havoc on photo prints, ,,,or other mediums handing on walls such as lithographs etc.....I always hang important prints opposite walls which get direct sunlight,,,,most building glass and windows now come with altra violet protection......
I will disagree with those that think lot's of natural light is good. It really isn't in a working studio,because you're dependent on that light, the quality of that light and it has to be controlled. There are many studios that have lot's of light, but they shoot mostly food,people,etc. and on dark cloudy days,the light has to be supplemented with strobe or hot lights. On really bright days, the light needs to be toned down to be used,diffused and of course, when the light goes away, then you're either then now trying to create that exact look or wait until tomorrow and the meter is running.
Light and bright studios are great to work in, but not so great to work with. When you count on the day light to shoot something, then you're limiting yourself to that light source. If you just shooting portraits, then maybe. Or if this isn't a real business, then fine, if the light isn't great, try tomorrow. But most large production studios are in these huge dark buildings, with maybe a set or two, with natural window light.
For private studios, then yes, light is nice. But as I said, not productive to a business. Once you've got the set all ready and all the light and metering is done and it gets brighter or darker, then you wait or you begin to re-meter it all.
Any image that you've seen that looks like it was shot in daylight, soft diffused light,was more than likely shot with strobe or hot lights.
It's nice to think of looking out the studio and seeing beautiful views, but you're there to produce images and not look out, but inwards. Living in a beautiful dwelling, full of light would be a dream come true, but for working, I'll take my old dark windowless spaces I've had in the past.
I've been in both types of studios and for "ambience", nothing beats a NYC loft studio, with big walls of Northern light! But for actual production, the light has to be controlled,the whole time you're shooting and daylight isn't always that consistent!
The sound sytem is probably next,maybe after the coffee station................
Ed that is great link I have seen it,,,,,,there is a design project undergoing presently directly across from my complex using the shipping containers.....the owners are turing the vacant space into an community project, hydro gardening, they are designing 5 of the containers into structures.....offices, a place for cooking demonstrations, meetings, yoiu name a very brilliant concept the containers......
When I began learning photography I read several books by Gary Bernstein. Some twenty five years ago.
I was impressed with the fact that (at that time, at least) he did no operate a studio of his own. If he needed a studio, he rented one.
I operated a studio myself some years ago. Nothing fancy. I loved it. That said, I am---at this very time---looking into a small space to do high-key work, and head-shots.
But these days I find there are more prospective clients looking for portrait work that is done on location. (There again, I refer to Rich's question: What are you going to do with this studio?) Indoors or out. Not to mention there are many hotels that will allow photographers access to their “grand lobbies” and other spaces.
This company seems to have replaced the old Olin Mills studio approach.
Some years ago, the “in vogue” thing was to offer “glamour shots”. (Hair and makeup included)
Being between jobs I applied for a job at one of these places. I submitted my portfolio, and was called for an interview. At the beginning of the interview the manager handed me an ink pen and said to me, “Okay. Sell me this ink pen!”.
I was rather surprised. The add in the newspaper read, “Now hiring professional photographers”.
Turns out what the company was truly looking for was not only a photographer but a salesman! (Ooops....salesPERSON)
I was offered the job (I had some previous sales experience) but declined.
At any rate, if I WERE to decide to build my own studio, I would certainly make sure it had these accouterments.
One: A cove. ( In the old days we called a CYM wall a “cove”)
Two: Lots of backdrops, and furniture, as well as props.
Three: Equipment. (Certainly one may spend upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment.)
In the end, if I were to build a “dream studio” I would do so much like a local photographer here in my city.
(First one must understand that to build an expensive studio, one should understand that it is extremely difficult for a single photographer to keep said studio “busy and productive”. The option then becomes the willingness, and the ability to rent the studio out to others photographers. Much like this gentleman does.)
Meanwhile your big competition will come from chains like Portrait Innovations, and....well...even Wally World. Their big advantage is a very large marketing budget, and the volume they are able to produce.
At any rate, good luck with your venture. I wish you all the best.
By the way. I agree with, Rich. While lots of large windows may be a good thing * sometimes * CONTROLING this light can be a very difficult problem.
This guy Blair Phillips on CL has an impressive studio. Its in an old building down town some where in the south. Tons of space. He does a lot of senior portraits so he had all of these 10x10 modules set up with different looks.
But then again he does a lot of shoots on location.
What I will do in my new studio is continue shooting stock and commercial, but I am also venturing into a more client based business model (portraits,head shots, seniors,etc) I had a great space in an old mill until a couple of months ago. It was a great open space with 13ft ceilings but no AC, which I could work around shooting stock but impossible with clients…no one wants sweaty pictures :P
I looked around at available spaces in my area and anything good with AC and all the space I want was more than it would cost to go ahead and build a barn building on our land. Convenient, and we live close by a major highway so our location is pretty good.
I have the floor plan all done. It's a basic rectangular building 32 x48 with north facing windows on one side (I have black out curtains from my old studio that I'll alter to fit), a kitchen space, an reception area, bathroom, changing room and storage room. We elected not to finish the upstairs initially but it could easily be turned into an office or more storage. I had thought I would put in an automatic backdrop system, but I'm also thinking about a cyc.
I'd post the floor plan but not sure how to do that!
Thanks for all the great ideas and advice…keep them coming! :)
Sounds great! 1500+ sq ft!!! My studio,before the big 10,000 sq ft one was my favorite. 2500 sq ft. About 1/3 was in the from and office space(Typical Florida "Office /Warehouse" set-up. I had to build an equipment room,for security,which you won't need to do. I had to install my own A/C unit $$$, but in Florida, like you, I can shoot in 90+ degrees by myself and my sweaty assistant, but not with clients. And since it was a "warehouse" I had to install 220 power for an oven and preparing the food shots. I had that "infinity wall" or cyc wall made out of linoleum which is fine for 90% or more shots. I also had about 20 rolls of paper backdrops,long and short,standing and stored vertically. In the back,by the roll-up door,was a small work bench/tool area,including a table saw and a miter saw. All of this was behind a black heavy duty curtain on hanging from a piece of pipe,so the clients wouldn't see it,without walking over and looking.
So as you came in the studio,from the front office, the hallway was about 12 feet wide and that's where I built the storage room,6' wide on the right side and on the other wall,was the coffee,frig,client phone,etc. which ran about 15 feet and both the storage room and the counter top ended on the same line. From there, to the left and a few feet to the right,began the "client area" with the couch's,chairs, Cd's, magazines,treats,etc. and a small hanging light from the ceiling, with a nice big metal round shade, that directed the light down and not into the studio. Strong enough for them to read by, but not strong enough to effect any lighting going on, on the set. From the Client area, if I was shooting just one set,at a time, they could see almost everything and back then, we'd shoot Polaroids and get them to sign them(if big and expensive shoots) or just ok them.
I had the most wonderful studio stand, a Cambo and most of the stuff I was shooting was 4x5 or 6x7 and having a stand is amazing! I could just literally roll it from one set to the other,on the painted concrete floors. Lot's of lights,stands,background stands,clamps,arms,boards,and other neat devices for shooting table top stuff.
A big advantage I had, was that right up the street, in the same office/warehouse comples,was a huge warehouse,8-9,000 sq ft of Dept. store stuff, tables,boxes,display cabinets,chairs,wardrobe thingies,glass tops, anything that you've ever seen in a dept. store, he had,shelving,etc. And CHEAP! He would buy this stuff from major dept. stores and then sell them to smaller Mom&Pop stores for a small mark up. So almost everything in my studio, that you at on put coffee on read by,prop tables,etc. came from this guy. If you have something like this in your area,check it out. I assume this is still a business as dept. stores change their look every once in a while.
The only issue with me, was the 220 power was way in the back of the studio,by the exit/roll-up doors,since that was the only place the landlord would let me install it,so for any of the big food shots,pizza, we had to walk back and forth, if the stylist couldn't do it with her tools(blow torch)etc. Almost everything we did,she could do that all with her tools and a hot plate.
We had 2 bathrooms that came with the rental,so that wasn't an issue for me,but it might be for you and zoning,even "handicap" bathroom issue,so look into that. If you're going to have to have a business license/Sales tax number,then you'll probably need to call it a studio and not a garage or barn. Check out your zoning ahead of time. It might makes sense to make a bedroom upstairs and be able to zone it as a guest apt.???
Anyway, let me know if you have any more questions and you can post them here or email me privately,
p.s. Oh,don't forget about insurance for all those toys in the studio...............