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How Much Space Do I Need For a Studio Setup

Allen Smith , Sep 29, 2004; 02:36 a.m.

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?


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sunil stanly , Sep 29, 2004; 04:27 a.m.

this is my dream studio!!


sunil stanly , Sep 29, 2004; 04:28 a.m.

all dims are in mm!!!

Graham Serretta , Sep 29, 2004; 08:40 a.m.

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.

Allen Smith , Sep 29, 2004; 09:47 a.m.

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.

Graham, 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.

Bill Cornett , Sep 29, 2004; 11:22 a.m.

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).


Stephen Martin , Sep 29, 2004; 12:50 p.m.

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.

Allen Smith , Sep 29, 2004; 03:06 p.m.

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?

Stephen Martin , Sep 29, 2004; 08:37 p.m.

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'.

Stephen Martin , Sep 29, 2004; 08:40 p.m.

Allen, with these types of building you can have them designed so you can add on in the future.

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