What’s New in My Home Studio

“I like that you have a home studio. I do also. That is an area that seems to be frowned upon by a good many ‘pro’ photographers. I don’t believe a rented studio downtown (lets you) make any better shots than a home studio. The end result is all that is important. I have been made to feel shamed from time to time because of equipment choices and home studio.”—from a reader

I like having an-home studio for three reasons: One, if you have the space it’s cheaper than renting a studio and the more you use it the more money you save. Two, unless you live next door to a rental studio, it’s more convenient. The nearest rental studio to me is about 17 miles away or about a half-hour drive depending on traffic. Three, it saves time. When shooting at a rental studio, I have to pack my gear, unload it, set it up and then knock it down and go through the same process in reverse to schlep it home. In my home studio I get the gear set up, at my convenience, and when the subject arrives we shoot.

Like the above reader, I’ve had hotshot photographers look down their noses at my 11×15-foot home studio. Sure, it’s small when compared to a rental studio but it is better than I had in my former home and so I take heart with this small improvement.

And like Noah, I’m bouncing back from the flood that submerged my studio in four-inches of water, while creating problems in the family room and an area where I was building a model train layout. Right now, all of the rooms affected have been repaired, with the exception of a bathroom—awaiting a new coat of paint—that also serves as my model’s dressing room.

So what’s new:

I wanted to install an engineered hardwood floor in the studio but because the damage was not covered by my homeowner’s insurance upgrades were modest. The carpeting was removed, reinstalled with all-new padding and then cleaned. New baseboards all round the room were installed. I don’t like carpeting in the space but until I can afford to replace it, I’ll use what I have.

The walls are no longer white. They are Sherwin Williams Lazy Grey, a tone that’s somewhere between Zone VI and VII on Ansel Adam’s Zone System. The inside of the closet was painted too; Mary insisted. While I helped with the painting (I am a supremely messy painter) Mary did all the hard work.

db8001I have been going through my gear closet selling equipment I haven’t used in a while including some lighting gear and have standardized on Paul C Buff’s Alien Bee and DigiBee monolights for the studio. Right now I only have one of each, with hopefully more to come. A 37x27x12-inch hexoval  Plume Wafer softbox is mounted on the DB800.

Held over from the previous setup are the pegboard—now painted grey—holding various implements of destruction that are hanging on hooks. Also remaining is Savage’s Air Flow Tech Table Essentials Kit, which I consider indispensable hardware in the small studio. As I work in the studio, I’ll be posting some updates on any changes or upgrades along with some example photos.

Author: Joe Farace

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