I'm currently moving out of the city and into a more rural area. Apart from the reduced cost of housing, the small amount of land around me allows for a small structure to be placed at the rear of the property (cost and building permits aside).
I am in discussions with a realtor to locate the kind of place I'm looking for, a building supplier (for the studio materials and construction and other info) as well as the city for building permits, rules and regulations. I trying to gather as much info as possible before deciding if this is something I have the space/finances for.
I just wondered if anyone else had gone down this path. If so, in terms of dimensions what did you end up with. I'm trying to accommodate a single person shooting space, make-up and washroom. I'm in two minds as to whether to allow for a small office or keep that within the main property.
Any advice for anyone who has done the same kinda thing would be most helpful.
Feb 14 13 10:21 am Link
Portland, Oregon, US
only advice is listen to your realtor. If you build a studio and customize it to a studio only situation, it won't have great resale value for everyone. If it can be converted to a shop/garage or legal rental unit, then it is more marketable later.
high ceilings are great for photography and tractors
Feb 14 13 10:34 am Link
Feb 14 13 10:51 am Link
Like the studio model here but slightly bigger (at least in terms of height).
I've ballparked around 30ft by 20ft with 15ft ceilings.
Well, I saw the "Studio" model on their web site and started discussions with them. The told me that most of their work was custom and done in conjunction with their engineers to make sure it matched the clients needs. Have been very helpful so far as we've discussed heating options / washroom options (there's a probability the sewage system will be septic tanks at the property) etc.
Feb 14 13 10:57 am Link
find a studio space you like. use it as a model for your own. Try to duplicate not only LWH but amenities. Everyone is different. yes, it pays to have something that can be converted for resale but within that guideline you can still make a lot of difference. Some will want a large window for available light. Others won't. Some will want their office space right there so they can edit the moment everyone leaves. Some will prefer to go back to the house, have dinner and then go upstairs (or downstairs) to edit.
This works for photography studios, music studios. band spaces, craft workshops and many other applications.
So start looking at studios. it doesn't matter if they are on the 4th floor of a converted factory bldg. Its whats inside that counts. Find what works for you.
it's a lot easier than looking at plans and trying to imagine. I don't shoot cars so I wouldnt need large doors. You might have a classic car clientele already. Or might need 20ft ceilings to shoot christmas collections with full-size trees.
ny next door neighbour built a separate triple garage with 'granny suite' office upstairs. that worked for his business (log homes). When he sold it, the new owner put a gym upstairs (no clue whats in the three garage bays). The new owner bought it so he didnt have to put his weights away or risk his wife screaming at him. that worked for him. Find what works for you and you will be happy (and we will be jealous)
Feb 14 13 11:02 am Link
Plainview, Texas, US
In some areas you can put in a portable building with no permit, so long as it is not on a permanent foundation. You might want to look into that option, though you might still need a permit for plumbing.
For me, a size in the range of 16x20 to 20x24 feet would work well. I could get by with 12x16, but it would be cramped, OK for headshots but very tight for full-length. As someone else said, go for a high ceiling - at least 10 feet and 12 is better. If I had to choose, I would sacrifice floor space before I gave up the extra height.
A large north-facing window would be nice.
I would go for a T-shape shooting area with the backdrop along the top of the T and camera area down the post. Dressing, office and storage would be in the area outside the T. I'd use a minimum of fixed partitions and rely on curtains or movable dividers for more flexibility.
If you have any business ambitions be sure to check on zoning.
Feb 14 13 11:06 am Link
I discovered an unexpected height restriction locally - 14 feet (outside dimension).
Plumbing, interior walls and electrical in place affect value for taxes at inspection.
You don't necessarily want a lot of (or any) windows in a photo studio.
Feb 14 13 11:10 am Link
Silver Mirage wrote:
OP is in Canada. it gets cold. the cost of heating a portable with no foundation would be prohibitive. Also, again since its in Canada, you need to deal with zoning and specific restrictions even if its not commercial. I have 2x12s in the roof of my gazebo. you can park a jeep on it during a blizzard and the roof will hold!
Feb 14 13 11:13 am Link
Saint Louis, Missouri, US
I don't know what your studio experience is. But before building, I'd shoot in an area the size you're planning to build. If you shoot full-lengths or multiple models, shoot those in the same area beforehand. If you use backlighting, use backlighting. If you think you'll ever use a 7-foot parabolic reflector, use one in that space.
While many people in studios that are 20x30 feet, I find that amount of space to be minimal - especially the 30-foot dimension. Figure that the model is going to be at least 6-8 feet from the background - more if you use backlighting.
You can do more with a particular background by shooting with a longer lens. The distance and longer lens will require a narrower "slice" of background than a shorter lens. If you're going to shoot models reclining on the floor with arms and legs extended, for example, the closer you are to the model (and the shorter the lens) the wider the background you'll need.
The studio where I shoot has a 13-foot ceiling, which I also consider minimal. If your model is six feet tall, and you want your light to be at a 45-degree angle (vertically as well as horizontally), and the light is five feet from the model, the center of the light should be at a height of about 11 feet. Using the 7-foot PLR as an example, you'll need a ceiling that's 14.5 feet high.
Also, if you're shooting jump shots while sitting on the floor, with a 13-foot ceiling part of your background for the jumping model will be the ceiling.
Consider that you'll also need space for equipment, background and prop storage.
One thing you can do to include a natural light shooting area is to include a garage door in the building - preferably on the north side. Put the background and model inside the door, and you have the equivalent of window light from a very large window.
Feb 14 13 11:21 am Link
Thanks everyone for the advice,
My realtors from the same community that I'm looking at buying, so she's had clients go down this path before but no necessarily for a studio - she's already inundated me with info regarding building codes, zoning and permits depending on the type of structure and if it is connected to the main building or detached (rules change) as well as upgrading the septic system. The builder's made some suggestions for heating that may reduce the cost while still providing the kind of environment I'm looking for.
I've visited a few studios and had a basement studio before. The height issue was the biggest annoyance of all, in nearly all cases I had to compromise on the position of the hairlight to either avoid having it in the frame, having to control lens flare or something along those lines. I had just enough width for my seamless to go in (edge to edge practically) and enough depth to shoot comfortably with a range of prime lenses (50/85/135).
My favourite studio did have an office immediately as you walked in, I'm not sure that's where the bulk of work was actually done but more a kinda of meet-and-greet spot with comfortable seating, prints along the wall etc. as well as an office desk / printer etc. - that particular photographer engaged in portraits and weddings and she was keen to project the value of larger prints to her clients so 60x40 canvas's were everywhere.
I'd still like to retain some sort of client seating area ahead of the actual studio space, but probably a little less formal, couches and coffee tables is where my head is at.
Again, great advice and very much appreciated.
Feb 14 13 11:27 am Link
Cherry Hill, New Jersey, US
Good idea to do your homework in advance, especially the things most people do not check like sewer and electric hookups.
I know of someone who was putting in a good size garage for his car collection and found out that do to budget cutbacks and that he would need a new transformer installed that his choice was to either pay for the entire project himself or wait about three years for the utility to budget for it. Added over 10K to his cost. Add in sewer problem and you could have a large amount of unforseen expenses.
As long as it can be converted to a garage or workshop it should add value to the property. Make sure the floor meets requirement for a garage.
Feb 14 13 11:32 am Link
One of the possibilities around the area I'm looking is that a number of properties already have detached structures used for workshops or holding farm machinery. I'm visiting one property tomorrow that looks like an extended garage and in fact my realtor has suggested that if we can locate something with a suitable building already in place we'd be saving ourselves a lot of hassle (which I completely agree with).
It seems like my dimensions are roughly in the right kinda place, perhaps a few feet extra in length on the depth side of things to offer me a bit of breathing room.
I've not shot with natural light inside a studio before but I think it's a consideration. I suppose I could always get black-out material if I found it was an obstruction. Something to discuss with the builder to see how it impacts cost and orientation of the building.
Feb 14 13 11:46 am Link
If it goes into a snowbelt area place the door(s) so that it doesn't get buried with snow pouring off the roof. (which way does the roof pitch shed snow?)
The older you get the less you want to shovel the stuff.
Feb 14 13 11:55 am Link
Michael Bots wrote:
Blimey, now there's something I hadn't even thought about! After the dump last week I should have kept it in mind. Nice one.
Feb 14 13 12:06 pm Link
Walnut Creek, California, US
You might want to consider the tax implications of one type of structure versus another. Around here (California) buildings which are tied to their foundations are taxed at a much higher basis than trailers of sheds. The difference between a shed and a utility structure can be a pretty subtle difference with a big price shift both in permits, and in annual property taxes.
Feb 14 13 12:13 pm Link
Michael Bots wrote:
actually the biggest deposits are on the leeward side. so finding out where the prevailing winds and (opposing) storm winds hit will tell you where the drifts will be. Best placement is often to have the doors face south. you get the worst drifting on the sides of the structure, not in front of you. As for shoveling, having the entry (driveway) slope down away from the building helps a lot. Then gravity is your friend. Unfortunately this often makes it impossible for people to make it up the drive way in freezing rain, so figure out which happens more often and which one is more critical. For a commercial establishment with clients and stuff I'm betting a snowblower or service would be a necessity. when in doubt, have pails full of fireplace ash (the most environmentally friendly de icer/traction aid around) available. this means you have to remember to run your fireplace often enough to have supplies. Yes, occasionally you have to take a break and sit in front of the fire I just gave you a client-centred reason. Is your fireplace in the main house, the studio or one in both? That's your call. its an added expense but I would put a fireplace in every building I owned just to deal with ice storms and power outages.
Feb 14 13 12:14 pm Link
Thanks. I'll bring it up with the realtor but the property taxes for the buildings I have seen have not varied greatly depending on any additional structures that they have. They are high in general (because the municipality has high taxes) but the variation between buildings with / without external structures hasn't be significant but it's a fine question and I'll raise it with her tomorrow.
Feb 14 13 12:20 pm Link
Snohomish, Washington, US
i built this one, the lower side is an office as you enter, woodstove in the office i put a door where the window is, i only built a loft over one end so that i have 12 ft sidewalls and almost 16 feet to the bottom of the rafter brace. behind the office is a full bathroom with a walk in shower stall, and behind that is a full kitchen with french doors leading out to the pasture. 24k in materials, i built it myself over one summer, the loft is like a lounge, where models can rest or moms and escorts relax and watch tv while looking down on the sutdio. its a little tight with a full team but its cozy and a really fun place to work and hangout, out there right now in fact. if you are going to have it built, let them know you will need the full 12 ft sidewalls over at least half the space 2/3rds even better.(thats different from the plans) you might be able to arrange into you purchase price and keep it under one mortgage. a bathroom is essential.
http://www.todaysplans.com/free-plan-ok … arage.html
mine is 31 feet long.....thats another story
Feb 14 13 06:36 pm Link