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Old 21-11-2007, 18:06   #1 (permalink)
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Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I'm seriously considering converting the double garage to a Photo Studio, but I could do with your help.

Garage dimensions are :-

Width - 5.1m / 16ft 8 inches
Length - 5.1m / 16ft 8 inches
Height - 2.3m / 7ft 6 inches , although apex roof above so could smash out ceiling.

Here's the messy room at the mo



Other things to note.
- Access from rear door from utility room of house. Door opens in to utility room.
- Exterior window at rear , south facing , sun from 8am to midday.
- Not looking to make changes that need planning permissionso happy to build false wall in front of garage door.
- WOuld look to dry line & insulate walls / roof / ceiling.

Criteria
- Be able to setup permanent studio lighting ... max 4 lights.
- Be able to shoot family portraits (up to 5 people)
- Area to sit & relax for clients (if space)
- Ideally ability to shoot natural light shots from window (although may be too small )
- Possibly have small desk for PC for editing (don't think enough space )
- Clean & comfortable to work in

Questions
- Best position for shoots
- Position for electric sockets, heating rad, seating area
- What flooring (currently smoothish concrete floor)
- Anything else ??
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Old 21-11-2007, 18:20   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I would consider taking ceiling out to give you more height. I think low ceilings are restrictive, although if you can turn down the power of any lighting I guess it is not essential. But even with that, the light will still be hot at head height.

I get really nice natural light in my conservatory, so would skylights be out of the question?
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Old 21-11-2007, 18:27   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

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Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
I get really nice natural light in my conservatory, so would skylights be out of the question?
If it doesn't need planning , anything goes
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Old 21-11-2007, 18:28   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Got just the guy for you, shown here after his last garage conversion to a studio!

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Old 21-11-2007, 18:28   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

LOL !!!! Great natural light though
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Old 22-11-2007, 19:29   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

No one
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Old 22-11-2007, 19:33   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I'm with Graham: rip out the ceiling. Then install a couple of big veluxes on the south facing (which presumably can't be seen from the road) and insulate under the rafters
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Old 23-11-2007, 00:15   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I'm not sure which one I'd go for.....


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Old 23-11-2007, 00:52   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I'm kinda leaning towards the second one there
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Old 23-11-2007, 01:02   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Ian, thats just plain mean, putting temptation like that.
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Old 23-11-2007, 07:41   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
I'm with Graham: rip out the ceiling. Then install a couple of big veluxes on the south facing (which presumably can't be seen from the road) and insulate under the rafters
My conservatory is actually faces North-East. I get the sun in the morning, and is is in shade from about 1o/c in the Summer. I think the best light is on overcast days or in the afternoons. Most I've seen written about using window light for portraits say use a window that has no sunlight or faces away from the Sun, so I would take some care in planning skylights if you were going to do this. Of course you can always use internal blinds to modify the light too.

Are there any studios (photographic and artist) near you that you can have a look at?
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Old 23-11-2007, 08:42   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Well we shoot in old georgian building for the Camera club shoots, so we make the best of it. As I am starting with a blank canvas , I thought it would be good to get sockets in right place, correct area for shoot etc.

Re Home Cinema , Sonsey will know I had this in place about 3 years ago in a basement. Projector, 5 x Linn Amps, Processor etc... then it flooded !!! Insurnace paid for a Mini convertible though
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Old 23-11-2007, 08:45   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
I'm with Graham: rip out the ceiling. Then install a couple of big veluxes on the south facing (which presumably can't be seen from the road) and insulate under the rafters
Is it advisable to have natural light from roof windows though ...just imagining the end shots. Would need decent reflectors to balance shadows coming down the face
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Old 23-11-2007, 12:41   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Quote:
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Is it advisable to have natural light from roof windows though ...just imagining the end shots. Would need decent reflectors to balance shadows coming down the face
I don't think this would be too much of an issue. If you are going to use white walls there will be plenty of reflection and you could diffuse the light if it is too strong with suitable blinds and use fill lighting as needed too.
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Old 23-11-2007, 22:00   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

I don't know what the climate is like in your area Dave, but you may not want to forget about heating/cooling, unless your garage is already climate controlled.
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Old 24-11-2007, 11:58   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Oh yes. I'll be running heating rads for winter & in summer if too hot I do have a portable air con unit.

What about the floor though. currently painted concrete floor (& cold ). Do I just paint white , tile it, put wood floor down to keep it warmer ?

I assume if it was painted white it allows for hi key full length shots, if I have white background too ?
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Old 24-11-2007, 12:04   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Ooh. Lay down polished black granite tile, for the reflective possibilities. And for shots that you don't want the reflection, either crop it out or cover with backdrop paper before hand.
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Old 24-11-2007, 12:26   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Dave

Unless you are a great believer of natural light I personally would stick to using flash or tungsten since it is totally controllable. For the price of skylights you could buy equipment.

Daylight studios are great as a concept but don't give you anything that can't be realised, and with greater flexibility, by artificial lighting. In fact, I would say daylight is much more restrictive.

Daylight is great in a studio when NOT shooting because it makes the place more agreeable but as a controllable photo light source...hmmmm.

My advice...

Take out the ceiling if it is less than 2.5 or 3 meters high since you want to be able to raise lights high as possible for top lighting on models etc.

Paint everything, walls ceiling, wife, cat, dog, matte white (cheap and good for reflecting light).

Put a pulley system (again cheap from DIY shop) at one end with rope and stiff pole for supporting (raising and lowering for ease) backgrounds such as canvas, cloth, paper rolls etc. If you plan to do lots, and I mean lots, of full length model stuff you may want to construct an infinity cove/curve which most fashion studios have as standard.

Make sure your electrics can take the load of the maximum number of flash units you have. The key point here with flash is NOT the simple wattage of a unit but how much it sucks when recharging. When a flash unit charges after each shot it draws more power than when idle, check this with the manufacturer and calculate the total draw for all the units, then install electrics that can cope. Bear in mind you may have a kettle going and other bits too at times.

Have a comfortable sitting area for guests/models while not posing. Nothing fancy but something, makes it easier to discuss ideas etc (not a casting couch... ).

Buy some 50mm thick large polystyrene sheets (usually 8x4 feet) to act as large portable reflectors (the fire retardant type is best). Also, 25mm smaller poly boards (4x4 feet) are useful (models can hold them on their knees to reflect light up into face). Paint one side matte black so they can be used to darken shadows (known as negative lighting) and used as shades to block light reaching the camera from the set.

Make a couple of 8x4 feet and 4x4 feet wooden frames from 2x1 timber and cover with white tracing paper (buy a roll from art suppliers). These are excellent as big soft light sources, much used in pro studios instead of soft boxes since they can be moved independently of the light source.

The poly boards and trace screens can be made self-standing if you make wooden gizmos for the bottom corners.

Plenty of gaffer tape!

That should keep you going...

Cheers

Les
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Old 24-11-2007, 12:41   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Dave

Floor...if the floor is smooth enough as long as it is easy to clean don't waste money. If it is not smooth (background paper gets damaged easily) I would go for some form of wooden flooring. Avoid carpet due to static problems.

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Old 24-11-2007, 21:51   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Help me Design Photo Studio for converting garage

Some invaluable advice there Les & like you said, enough to keep me going

Really like the idea of permanent infinity curve ... any extra advice welcome here :- http://www.pixalo.com/community/gene...rve-19808.html
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