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Thread: start up costs for a simple studio..

  1. #1

    Default start up costs for a simple studio..

    hi.. anyone has any idea how much would the start up costs of setting up a studio be? please help.. thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default What's your budget?

    Let us know your budget so we can advice you what to buy.........as it can cost a mere $2,000 to $20,000.

    thanks

  3. #3

    Lightbulb Cost of setting up a studio

    If I may, as an analogy, use buying a car to illustrate. You may choose to buy a banged-up used car, an average-condition used car, a new Japanese made car, a new Continental car and a new premium brand car. They serve the same purpose ie. bringing someone from point A to point B. But, the costs vary widely.

    Are you operating it as a commercial venture or purely as a hobby ? The studio can be set up in the home or in rented premises. ProImage is right. Budget can be as low as $2,000 to $20,000 or more.
    Variables to consider: nature of subjects you will be shooting, types and ranges of equipments including camera systems, space including height, location of studio for your subject to find, etc ...... All these will impact on the costs of setting a studio.

    An alternative to consider, renting a studio with equipment. This will lower your startup costs considerably. And not be burdened with bills to pay. As the saying goes, you may be 'working for the landlord'.

  4. #4

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    Does anyone have a list of the essentials for a studio, I'd like to shoot portraits and still-life stuff, as well as items for eBay
    Last edited by dampeoples; 13th February 2004 at 10:15 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by reachme2003
    Are you operating it as a commercial venture or purely as a hobby ? The studio can be set up in the home or in rented premises. ProImage is right. Budget can be as low as $2,000 to $20,000 or more.
    Variables to consider: nature of subjects you will be shooting, types and ranges of equipments including camera systems, space including height, location of studio for your subject to find, etc ...... All these will impact on the costs of setting a studio.

    An alternative to consider, renting a studio with equipment. This will lower your startup costs considerably. And not be burdened with bills to pay. As the saying goes, you may be 'working for the landlord'.
    Probably he (like many of us) is keen to know the minimal investment(costs) as well as the type of equipments (minimal) we need to have a decent small scale studio, which can be used probably as a place to improve our photogy, juz like a kara-ok room in our house. As such there will not be any fixed costs involved (like rental, etc..).

  6. #6

    Lightbulb let's hear from the thread starter

    Let's hear from the thread starter which direction he is thinking of taking. From his first post, I am unable to ascertain it.

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    Set of light (light, stand & softbox) each about $1.5k-$2k
    Backdrop paper each about $100
    Backdrop cloth $upto you (not expensive)
    Paper stand about $700-$1k
    Reflector each about $100-$200
    Remote trigger for light optional about $200
    Lightmeter about $500
    Some furniture (posing chair/table/etc) $upto you
    Some electrical appliance (fan/hair blower/etc $upto you
    Camera & lens
    Computer if using digital cameras

    Take note that after buying the lights, you will need to continue to buy other light accessory, eg snoot, barndoor, honeycomb, etc, these are not cheap.

    Alternatively, you can rent from me
    Refer this post:
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=60608

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    Quote Originally Posted by dampeoples
    Does anyone have a list of the essentials for a studio, I'd like to shoot portraits and still-life stuff, as well as items for eBay.
    Well, again there are no essentials stuff. It depends where you are shooting. At home or at a studio? There is a photographer who shoots just using four $4.50 lights. And still we are able to execute something out from that. You do not need any anything to fanciful to create a shot. Ask Cheesecake how he did he setup.
    Look at this thread
    http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=59799

    It's how the photographer make full use of their TALENT by using the most basic stuff, not their fanciful EQUIPMENTS. It's only when your talent start to flow in, then you start to invest higher quality equipment as it is your talent that is paying your rice bowl & equipments (that's if you are thinking to be a photographer fulltime). Not the other way round.

    That is how you learn. By making full use of whatever you have in the beginning as photography equipments are not cheap. You may have the $$$$ to purchase but at the end of the day did your $$$$ equipments serve any purpose. If it did, then I must say you are on your way there. If it is sitting in your store room and collecting dust, then it's time to reconsider.

    If you really want to know, well SOME of the basics for still life and portrait shooting are items are.....
    1) Studio Lights, stands, soft box, reflectors
    2) Tripod
    3) Super clamps
    4) Glue Gun
    5) Bluetac
    6) Scissors & Knife Cutter
    7) Tracing paper
    8) Cardboards(big and small)
    9) A sturdy table for product shoot
    10) Chair if you are shooting portraits
    11) Backdrops which you can created yourself (go to spotlight) as this is
    endless
    12) At least a mininmum space of 10 X 10 feet for small studio setup
    (equivalent to a HDB room) as you still need space to walk and adjust.
    Larger space is needed for portrait shooting
    13) Colour gels
    14) A small area for make-up with mirror and lights
    15) A kitchen if you do food photography
    16) Fans for blowing models hair
    17) Light meter/Spot meter
    18) Reflectors fill-in for portraits
    19) Gaffer and masking tape is a must

    20) .......................And the possibility is endless as each time you do a photoshoot, you learn a little more on what to buy and what to save on. As years goes by your equipments and props starts to grow more and more. You will be surprise with the props that you accumulate.

    21) .......................Studio equipments also depends how comfortable you feel. Some like to use Elinchrome, Bowens, Broncolor for flash lights. Manfrotto accessories and light stands seems to be a popular choice among many photographers. LEE filters for colour gels. If you are involve in digital, basic Nikon/Canon camera bodies which support 6MP is essential or a Leaf 11/22MP Digibacks. Prosumer cameras are workable but to a certain limitation again.

    If you are talking about at home, is your ceiling high enough? Any space constraints? Sure you can shoot anything at home but it is a real hassle to do it. Sometimes setting up a shoot isn't as easy as it looks. I have tried before and it's messy. Really messy unless of course you HDB/Apt/Condo is wide and high enough.

    I do go location shooting for customers houses and premises who request but setting up is a hassle (this is the part when you start to charge your client a little more) Starting from home studio is ok but there is a certain limitation.

    And the list goes on and on and on...........................

    Again, what is your budget? No point listing the price list if it is way out of your budget. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Reachme2003 what do you think?
    Last edited by Pro Image; 13th February 2004 at 12:27 PM.

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    Bowens 500w strobes with stand and soft box cost $1000 each.
    electra 250w with only softbox cost ard $480..
    Polaris lightmeter cost ard $260.

  10. #10

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    I'm trying to make a very basic studio out of my attic area. It's got a pitched ceiling, which is a problem, but it's all I have. My equipment so far consists of a N65, two 10" Tunsten floods with stands, a tripod, some furniture I already have, and I plan to buy some fabrics for backgrounds. I also have an umbrella that came with the lights, but no way to mount them to the lights, but I can use a spare tripod for that I suppose.
    As I said before, I want to take pics of my family as well as stuff for eBay, etc.
    I guess I get confused by people telling me things I need, but not telling me why (such as a light meter)

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    Default Well whatever you have.....

    Quote Originally Posted by dampeoples
    I'm trying to make a very basic studio out of my attic area. It's got a pitched ceiling, which is a problem, but it's all I have. My equipment so far consists of a N65, two 10" Tunsten floods with stands, a tripod, some furniture I already have, and I plan to buy some fabrics for backgrounds. I also have an umbrella that came with the lights, but no way to mount them to the lights, but I can use a spare tripod for that I suppose.
    As I said before, I want to take pics of my family as well as stuff for eBay, etc.
    I guess I get confused by people telling me things I need, but not telling me why (such as a light meter)
    Well whatever you have there is essential. Except for your low celing which will be a slight hassle to you. Are you able to stand in the attic without hitting your head?

    As mention earlier, you ask us to list the essential STUDIO items. Lightmeter happens to be one of the essential items.

    If you are taking something for ebay to sell, anywhere around the house is ok. Even outdoor. Unless you want to impress the buyers by shooting quality photos of your selling items, then a setup is necessary.

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    I'm sorry if i sound rude,but if u dun even know wad a lightmeter is for?i would suggest u to brush up ur basics of photography b4 thinking of setting up a *studio*

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pro Image
    Well whatever you have there is essential. Except for your low celing which will be a slight hassle to you. Are you able to stand in the attic without hitting your head?

    As mention earlier, you ask us to list the essential STUDIO items. Lightmeter happens to be one of the essential items.

    If you are taking something for ebay to sell, anywhere around the house is ok. Even outdoor. Unless you want to impress the buyers by shooting quality photos of your selling items, then a setup is necessary.
    The ceilings are above 6ft. in the center, it's just pitched. I understand a lightmeter helps with setting exposure levels, but what if I wanted to wing it? I thought there was no formula for correct photos.
    The eBay stuff would be a side attraction, this whole thing is just a hobby, I'd like to learn a lot more about it, and not have it cost $5k to do so. Thanks for the input, gives me stuff to think about

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kex
    I'm sorry if i sound rude,but if u dun even know wad a lightmeter is for?i would suggest u to brush up ur basics of photography b4 thinking of setting up a *studio*
    No offence taken, I didn't know this forum was only for *pros*, although maybe we can trade some photography basics for spelling basics.

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    Default Hi ok guys...

    Hey guys dun turn this into a fire thread. Just keep is cooooool

    Yes it's true that there is no right or wrong formula to photography. As a start, you need to know the basic lightings, setups and so on. Light meter is just another guiding tools for your convenience sake. Learning how to read a light meter is very important at the beginning stage of photography as you will understand the fundamental of lightings whether you are a pro or novice.

    Without this knowlegde, we would not know how a light falls on to the subject/object and how much should we should conpensate for it. Understanding the character of each lighting and how it works is very important. So that is when the light meter comes in.

    Light meter is not for you to measure the amount of light that falls on to the subject/object only. It helps you to see how much is needed. It's not about guessing work. You have to be accurate and spot on so you do not waste your time guessing how much light need to be compensated.

    Well if you have a Digital camera, well you have a preview. But what happen if you are using a normal film camera. Do you really rely on the camera metering system? I try not too.

    And the answer is no. This CS forums are not for pros only. It's for everyone who wants to learn photography and improvised their skills.

    Kex thanks for the input on your side. I know what you mean. Just let it be.

    As for damnpeoples, I think you need to understand a little further about CS forums. There are members who are a little straight forward. Pls do not take it to heart. Just listen with your left ear in and out goes the right ear. It's no use talking about and fighting a war with words. As in the first place you wanted to know about studio setups, not about agreeing or not about what is right or wrong.

    So some of us are kind enough to give some valuable advice to you on what is needed. There is nothing confusing about it. If you find the advice giving is not helping you, just ignore. As when you start to comment about what is needed and what is not, that's when thr flame starts to happen.

    You do not need $5K to start a studio. I know when I started, I had nothing but borrowed from very very good friends. After earning some money, I started to invest what I need. As you mention this is just a hobby, well what you have a definately sufficient for your usage. There is not much you need to invest except getting nice backdrops for your product and portraits.

    It is quite hard for you to do family portraits with such constraint space. You can but plenty of squeezing here and there. If you have a good ventilation in your attic, then you can do some still life products as well. As setting up still life can take hours and if you have a poor ventilation, then my advice is built one so you can stay for hours.

    Good luck on your future shoots dampeoples.

    Again I stress, no flaming. Just good advices!

    Thank you.

  16. #16

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    thank you all for all the advices, esp Pro image..

    as my funds are limited, maybe just 5k (not even enough for 2-3 mths rental..), i was just thinking of simple makeover protraits with the person just sitting in a chair or standing up.. in a room which is about a toilet's size... Space constraint... I was thinking of renting some booths and doing some promotions right there and then.. Maybe practise on students first, charge lower. This photo might just double up as a passport photo for some. Maybe just use my current laptop to edit the photos. I think i need a printer to print out the photos. I was thinking if I just get a few boards and cloths, make them into a reflector/backdrop , get some spot lights and begin taking photos.. I wonder if i sound stupid but i have seen people doing this before. any comments?

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    Quote Originally Posted by innovas1
    thank you all for all the advices, esp Pro image..

    as my funds are limited, maybe just 5k (not even enough for 2-3 mths rental..), i was just thinking of simple makeover protraits with the person just sitting in a chair or standing up.. in a room which is about a toilet's size... Space constraint... I was thinking of renting some booths and doing some promotions right there and then.. Maybe practise on students first, charge lower. This photo might just double up as a passport photo for some. Maybe just use my current laptop to edit the photos. I think i need a printer to print out the photos. I was thinking if I just get a few boards and cloths, make them into a reflector/backdrop , get some spot lights and begin taking photos.. I wonder if i sound stupid but i have seen people doing this before. any comments?
    Hi innovas,

    If you budget is around 5K, there is plenty you can do but.........

    But first let's consider about what your proposal is all about. Ok, are you talking about the booth counters which is situated in shopping centre? If you are this is what is all about. Most of the "booths" are meant for promotion for their make-up products. If you are talking about make-up promo. Customer buys a certain product during promo period and get a free make-up session and a photoshoot on the spot.

    If you are talking about small booths that is situated in places like Bugis Junction, Far East Plaza and Takashimaya, well they are certainly not cheap.

    If I am not wrong a small booth will cost you about 2,000-3,000 per month. It also depends on where you are situated first. There is a space constraint if you are limit within the booth. You need at least a minimum of 6 feet in length and 4 feet in width which include lighting, reflector and backdrop.

    Second, it depends whether the management allowed as well because they prefer to have a variety of services and product to attract the customer. Yours they might consider. How about the customers. Where are they going to change their clothes? I am sure some of them will feel shy if the booth is not close up properly. How big can a booth be?

    Next, you need to consider is a full time make-up artist which does not come cheap. A student make-artist is cheap but no experience. So you do not want to spoil your own reputation

    Forth, you need a good strong folio to show your customer what you can do. Editing of photos is ok but it will take time. How are you going to shoot and edit at the same time. So you might need another helper.

    How about clothes? Are you going to provide? What is the customer do not have any nice clothes? Makeover usually involves plenty of things to think about.

    You setup is good. In fact that is how I will setup too but you need a little more than $5K to start your own business, no matter how small or simple your business is. Why not try to be mobile first. Find a good studio and talk to the photographer about what you want to do. Give him/her some suggestions on what they will be getting. Nothing comes free! I am sure you can find studios around town that is not utilised all the time.

    Some other things you might want to consider......
    Company registration as well just to add. Business cards. Promo and advertisement.

    Good luck innovas.

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    I havent had a photographic experience in a studio-setting before.

    Was wondering if the lightmeters, as mentioned by some members, essential? Just figured, lightmeters cost so much why not just go without? Also, compare that with manual metering w/ gray cards, where it is much cheaper.

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    Default Yes it is cheaper...

    Quote Originally Posted by pascalc
    I havent had a photographic experience in a studio-setting before.

    Was wondering if the lightmeters, as mentioned by some members, essential? Just figured, lightmeters cost so much why not just go without? Also, compare that with manual metering w/ gray cards, where it is much cheaper.
    Yes it is cheaper by using a grey card. That is one way and the cheapest. When you get involve in photography, epecially in studio setups, light meter some how tend to come in handy.

    If you have already spend about $3,000-$5,000 on your studio lightings and camera equipments, a light meter is cheap. There are plenty light meters in the market which range from as low $250.00 to $1,000++.

    But again it's up to you.....

  20. #20

    Lightbulb Flash meter, in particular

    I wonder how you can measure the intensity of the flash without a flashmeter ? Today, all lightmeters include the functions of a flashmeter. To me, it is a must-have equipment.

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