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  • The New Space


    Dallas

    The first bit of studio gear I bought was a Tristar light stand that extends to about 4m in height. I thought it was so cool. I still have that stand, but I have added about a dozen others in the 20 or so years since I bought the Tristar. I’ve also added boom stands, boom arms, backdrop stands, light modifiers, lights themselves plus a multitude of grips and other paraphernalia that gets used in studio lighting scenarios. 

     

    Apart from a PVC backdrop that I sold a few years ago due to it never being used I don’t think I have sold much of the studio equipment I have bought over the years. I’m really glad I haven’t because I always knew that one day in the future I would have the space I need to put it all to good use. That day has come. 

     

    So let me introduce you to the new home studio space I have recently acquired. Unlike my previous space, which was very functional, but also very cramped at 17.5m2, the new space has 50m2 in the main floor area, plus a separate room the size of an average bedroom that I am using to store all my gear that is not in use. There’s also a shower / bathroom off that room and another WC at the bottom of the stairs. Under the stairs is a storage space that is currently only housing empty boxes (and a few unpacked ones). I call it “The Boneyard”. 

     

    These photos show my first layout, using some of the furniture from the 2nd lounge in my previous home, which to be honest needs to go away somewhere. I had originally intended to place my desk up against the wall where that TV is, but because of the location of the internet fibre ONT I have it right on the opposite side of the space. I need to have my router plugged in via ethernet and I didn’t want to run a massive length of that cable in this space. When I am raking in the big bucks for future jobs I will sell this old sectional and buy a nice sofa that can be put onto castors and wheeled out of the way when necessary. I might do the same with my monster 2.4m long desk, but that will require some engineering (i.e. welding) and because the desk is constantly being used it may never happen. 

     

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    Looking at the desk, through the doorway is the gear storage room (and my wife's WFH office). 

     

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    From the corner of the desk looking towards the stairs. Outside is a wonderful deck, small garden and patio.

     

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    The "man cave" with old school home theatre, lots of photography books and the door to "The Boneyard" in the background.

     

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    In the photos that you currently see, I have a black background portrait setup, which I used for my current avatar pic. It works really well and will be pretty good for full length shots on white once I get another white PVC backdrop. I can place a model 3m away from the backdrop and I still have another 3m before I am outside of the studio doors. I could go a few more meters back if I need to get a more compressed look with a telephoto lens. Having the ability to have a model 3m away from the rear wall means that I can use lights to bring that wall up to pure white and avoid light spill from the wall hitting the model. I can then light the model independently. For eCommerce type fashion shoots this is ideal. 

     

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    The shooting space as seen from the outside doorway. There is about 6m from where the camera is to the back wall.

     

    When I am shooting product now I can wheel my table into the centre of the room and light the product from just about any angle. However, truth be told, that table is actually a bit too wide and I may well shorten it by about 30-40 centimetres to make it square (1.1m x 1.1m). Fortunately this is as easy as cutting the laminate top and the aluminium poles to a shorter size. 

     

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    The product table is currently in the corner.

     

    One thing I haven’t done yet is attach any of my wall mount boom arms. As much as I love those things there’s a reason for this; if there is one task in this world that I absolutely detest with all my being it is drilling holes into masonry. I just can’t seem to get this right. I either find the cement between the bricks or I will find an impenetrable concrete lintel. The end result is a lot of cursing and a lot of misplaced holes in the walls. I had to use so much Polyfilla on the previous house when moving out that I am rather going to wait until I have worked in this space for at least a year before I mount anything onto the walls. I’ve actually given some thought to creating a long French cleat along the back wall and then devising some way of clamping the boom arms to them. This will let me place them in multiple places. 

     

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    From the corner towards the backdrop. The backdrop measures 2.5m tall and 2.75m wide. 

     

    The one downside to this new space is that the ceilings are lower than in my previous place. Here I have only 2.5m where in the previous house I had a touch over 3m. I can work around it, so it isn’t the end of the world. 

     

    So that’s the new space. Let me know what you think of it in the comments and what you might do in terms of layout. 

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    Thank you, Dave. :) 

     

    I have since bust out the monster Broncolor 180x120cm softbox and put most of the light stands on castors, so it’s looking a bit more like a studio now. Will have to update pics. 

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