1 “Studio Layout”
any photographer what’s most important in a studio and they’ll
probably tell you its space. Plenty of working space.
And chances are they’ll also tell they wishes he had more of
it. But how much space do you actually need?
Studios come in all sizes and shapes and can be designed for a multitude of photographic purposes. Organizing the physical space for studio photography can be a major undertaking with the basic facilities of floor area, ceiling height and light proofing determining the scale and type of photography to be accomplished. Because the rental and conversion of ‘space’ is costly, the ideal conditions for a studio can be out of reach for many photographers or a least difficult to justify economy. As a result, some of the more physically demanding subjects, such as furniture and automobile photography, remain extremely specialized fields. But for general studio subjects, such as portraits and still-life sets, the requirements are easier to meet. The type of subjects to be photographed will dictate the general design and layout of the studio. A good general-purpose studio can easily handle both portraits and small tabletop still-life sets.
not hard to figure out that for the kind of portrait we’re talking
about using a 135mm lens, you need a minimum throw of at least 12 feet
between the camera and the subject. Then you have to add a couple of
more feet of working room behind the camera for your tripod and for yourself.
Then you’ll need at least 4 feet between the subject and the
background paper, so you can control shadows, and have room to put in a
background light. And since background paper comes in 9-foot wide rolls,
you have to go at least that wide. And, of course, you need space for
the background paper itself, and the stands or brackets that hold it.
Then you have to figure in space for your lights and light stands.
You’ll want them clear of the background, so add another couple of
feet on each side of it, even more if you plan to use umbrellas on your
lights. And there are other things to think about: out-of-the-way
storage space for light stands, tripods, reflectors, and backgrounds
that aren’t in use. And if you’ll be using a darkroom, you have to
figure that in. And maybe a small office, to keep your picture files, a
light box to edit on, a desk, a telephone, and so on... And if you’re
going to be doing fashion photography, or model portfolios, you’ll
have to add a changing room with a make-up table.
all has a way of adding up, and it can get pretty expensive. Not all of
us can afford the luxury of designing and building a studio from
scratch. So we might have to start out using a spare bedroom or working out
of your living room. Many well-known photographers started by working
out of their homes. Remember studio photography is more than just space
and equipment. It’s an attitude-an approach to photography that can be
made to work successfully almost anywhere.
are a couple of other common principles of studio design and they apply
to studios of any size. First,
you should have an adequate supply of power, with plenty of outlets,
especially if you’re using continuous light sources like
quartz-halogen lamps. And if you’re using these kinds of lights,
you’ll want to be able to block out any daylight or extraneous
artificial light. That way
you’ll have the ability to build up your fresh lighting designs from
scratch. Finally, neutral surroundings are important to avoid the
unintentional reflections from studio lighting that can ruin a shot;
walls and ceilings are usually painted black, white, or a neutral gray.
Black is the most efficient because it adds nothing to the lighting, but
working in a black studio can be a little claustrophobic. White helps to
fill-in shadows whether this as wanted or not.
effect of all these preparations is to create a kind of blank sheet for
the most important element in any studio, the lighting.
But before we look at studio equipment and lighting
lets review some basic principles of light and lighting.
But before we look at studio equipment and lighting lets review some basic principles of light and lighting.