Setting up a studio


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#1
Hi guys, I am actually going to do up a studio, was wondering if anyone out there would be nice enough to share some experience(if you have any) on setting up a studio. Or if you can, could you tell me what the basic necessities needed to set up a studio and would the cost roughly be like. Really hope to get some rough and different ideas for different studio setups. Thanks so much, hope to hear more from everyone here soon. =D
 

syl

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#2
IMHO, the following would be required, as a bare minimum:

1) Space - 5m x 7m x 3.5m (w x l x h) for the studio (of course, the bigger the better), plus space for changing room, storage space for equipment not in current use, etc. I would say, aircon is a must esp. if you shoot with hot lights.

2) Lights - for a professional studio, a min. of 5 lights (strobes or hot lights or a combo), 2 of which should be at least 600 w or better (pref. 1,000w) plus stands, if floor mounted or ceiling tracks, in which case, ceiling height should be about 4 + m. And softboxes, reflectors and other light modifiers (snoots, honeycombs, etc) to go along with the lights.

Also flash triggers if you are using strobes.

3) Backgrounds and backgrounds stands. At least, white and black, paper rolls or muslin plus other colours or patterns - as many as you think you will need.

4) Props unless you want your subjects to only sit on the floor or stand up. If not, then chairs, benches, etc. are needed. You can add on as you go along.

5) Budget - for a proper set up, perhaps a few k's stretching to over 10k if you buy everything new.

Have fun!
 

generalsales

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Jul 23, 2007
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#3
well said :thumbsup: that how i set up my studio.

but again , rental of the place is a problem , always keeping prices up by those landlord
 

#4
Pretty cool guys. thanks alot. anyways, are there any brands I should look out for? I would also like to ask if there are differences in lighting for strobes. Are there those that flash out only when you shoot and those that can remain on all the time or are these 2 the same just that it's of different functions. Budget is between 10-15k studio space is about 800sq ft.
 

V

vince123123

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#8
My setup in my non pro personal studio already costs around 10k...so be prepared to spend at least that much if its a pro thingy, esp those 1000W lights.

IMHO, the following would be required, as a bare minimum:

1) Space - 5m x 7m x 3.5m (w x l x h) for the studio (of course, the bigger the better), plus space for changing room, storage space for equipment not in current use, etc. I would say, aircon is a must esp. if you shoot with hot lights.

2) Lights - for a professional studio, a min. of 5 lights (strobes or hot lights or a combo), 2 of which should be at least 600 w or better (pref. 1,000w) plus stands, if floor mounted or ceiling tracks, in which case, ceiling height should be about 4 + m. And softboxes, reflectors and other light modifiers (snoots, honeycombs, etc) to go along with the lights.

Also flash triggers if you are using strobes.

3) Backgrounds and backgrounds stands. At least, white and black, paper rolls or muslin plus other colours or patterns - as many as you think you will need.

4) Props unless you want your subjects to only sit on the floor or stand up. If not, then chairs, benches, etc. are needed. You can add on as you go along.

5) Budget - for a proper set up, perhaps a few k's stretching to over 10k if you buy everything new.

Have fun!
 

syl

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Nov 1, 2005
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#9
Pretty cool guys. thanks alot. anyways, are there any brands I should look out for? I would also like to ask if there are differences in lighting for strobes. Are there those that flash out only when you shoot and those that can remain on all the time or are these 2 the same just that it's of different functions. Budget is between 10-15k studio space is about 800sq ft.
judging from the questions you ask, I would advise you to take up a studio lighting course before you even contemplate setting up a studio. There are several organisations offering these courses and you can look it up in CS under workshops. Also, you can try PSS, Safra, etc. Believe me, it will be money well spent - only a few hundreds against 10K worth of possible mistakes....
 

nemesis32

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#10
I think the 1st question need to be answered is "why i NEED to set up a studio?"

1) If you are freelancing, you will probably better off rental adhoc (different sizes, multiple locations, savings on fixed costs like lighting/rentals).
2) If you are full-time but not full time in studio, can consider co-sharing with another studio owner or enter some sort of term-lease?
3) If you are full time studio photographer i.e. still life, indoor portraits, wedding etc. No choice but to set up, think of ways to maximise the income by rental to 1,2 and casual CS shooters!

good luck.
 

snowspeeder

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#11
I think the 1st question need to be answered is "why i NEED to set up a studio?"

1) If you are freelancing, you will probably better off rental adhoc (different sizes, multiple locations, savings on fixed costs like lighting/rentals).
2) If you are full-time but not full time in studio, can consider co-sharing with another studio owner or enter some sort of term-lease?
3) If you are full time studio photographer i.e. still life, indoor portraits, wedding etc. No choice but to set up, think of ways to maximise the income by rental to 1,2 and casual CS shooters!

good luck.
Good advice.
 

#12
erhm, thanks but I think I just need advice on setting up a studio. Private and confidential.
Thanks for the advice though. but setting up a studio is 100% confirmed thing in about a space of 800sq ft. hope to hear more from you guys. thanks alot.
 

#13
personally, given the huge number of really really good studios for rent on the market now, i really wouldn't setup one.

if you must, personally, I love the profoto lights. my advice, spend 25% of your budget on the light and the remainder on light modifiers.

What are you shooting? hard to advise you as the stuff you need for say products are really different from fashion or portraits
 

#15
Ok, I'll first start off with a disclaimer that i'm probably not the best person to advise you on fashion photography because i know jack about fashion work. What i can advise though is to think in terms of buying into a system. Ie, go into a good system like Profoto, broncolor or elinchrome, especially a system where it's easy to rent accessories for. 15k should get you comfortably into an elinchrom system

Also, i would get in touch with Zemotion. She shoots a whole lot of fashion, incredible work IMO, and she can advise you on a good starter kit. For myself, I would advise besides the traditional power packs etc, you might want to have a portable battery system. This really increases your ability to market yourself for things like locations shoots in areas without power points, etc.

The reason why i am still stuck on renting space and gear is because the fads in fashion photography changes very very fast. For awhile, all the rage was to use ring flashes. Then it was octodomes. Now it seems to be small flash units but many of them.

Many of the big time fashion photogs in NY don't buy lighting gear, they just rent them because each job can be so different it is financially impossible to stock up on every type of light and light modifier available. Heck even hollywood production firms don't even own their own lighting.

Anyway, as a cheap plug for myself, if you want a barely used elinchrom ranger system, I have one going with softbox, adapter ring, battery pack, etc up for sale. Used for once for a commercial job. let me know if you're interested.
 

deencat

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#16
this studio will be mainly for fashion shoot on the long term basis, so would be better to setup one. Any advive for a budget between 10-15k?
Your budget is around 10k to 15k for setup only? Did you factor in the monthly rental and operational cost?

If you are renting a space from private instead of HDB type, the chances are you will have to pay the following upfront before even touch on the studio set up fee.

- 1 month rental for property agent
- 2 months rental deposit
- 1 month advance payment
- 1 month current month rental payment

Assuming you can get a cheap cheap place (Not in town), and it's probably around S$1500 for 800sqft per month, these 5 months payment would be S$7500 already and usually they will say GST is not included. haha

Don't forget you will need to pay deposit to SingaporePower or whatever as well. I have forgotten how much already.

You may or may not get 2 weeks to 4 weeks allowance for renovation, depends on how kind is the landlord.

On top of that, you will have to pay for renovation cost of course:
- Painting of the wall (usually around S$400 to S$600)
- Flooring if you want carpet, laminated or whatever. (Depends, S$500 to S$1500)
- Changing area and all the curtains can be quite costly too. (Up to S$2500)
- Props, don't need to buy first until you have job requirements
- Client meeting area (Sofa, Table, display stand, fridge...etc)
- Sound system, you will need it whether it is for model or fashion shoot.

If there is no air-con, you will have to put one yourself or ask for it from the landlord.

Of course, I have not even touched on the lighting equipments, backdrops and so on.

In my 2 cents, I think S$10k to S$15k is a bit ... in term of setting up a proper studio. In addition you need to factor in some extra cash (for rental, for whatever), otherwise you might have cash flow problem especially company USUALLY do not pay on time for commercial jobs. haha (Correct me if you think I am wrong.)

As CKuang said, it's better to rent a studio than having one. Just my 2 cents.
 

#17
thanks everyone for the interesting advice, but I think I just need to know the basics of setting up a studio, don't have to worry about rental, curtains, flooring, aircon etc etc. Those are already settled. The main thing needed are the equipment. Hope to hear more from you guys.
 

#18
Ok to answer your question, based on my style of shooting, I would get something like an Elinchrom ranger system so I can shoot indoors and out. As light modifiers, i would get the largest octodome I can fit within my space. I would get a snoot and honeycomb to direct lighting and a barn door attachment. And if budget still allows, a second flash head with s smaller softbox, and a beauty dish or if i really have a lot left over a ring flash. But that's my style and for what i shoot.
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#19
if your 15k is only for lighting, backdrops, and other support system, it is enough to have a start.

get a kit set plus one additional light, than build it up along the way, cos some items are nice to have, but hardly used for the time being.

go attend a studio lighting course first, so you can learn how to make full use of your studio lighting and other things faster.
 

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