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Old July 27th, 2010, 06:46 PM   #1
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Building a Studio

Hello,

I am looking into building a shed for the purpose of using it as my studio. I was thinking of a relatively large one (12' x 16'). I was wondering if anyone has any experience in doing this? I'm looking at the ones Home Depot sells, but I'm not sure if I go custom if that would be cheaper.

It's main use will be for product photography, portrait photography and anything else in between that I can use it for. I want it to be my business hub.

Anybody got any ideas or input?
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Old July 27th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #2
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Are you sure you really want a Home Depot storage shed as your Business Hub?
How are you going to keep it cool by the way?
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Old July 27th, 2010, 08:08 PM   #3
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Most folk start a small business in a suitable room in the house, then move on to renting, then maybe buying a place if all goes well.

A Home Depot storage shed doesn't exude class, which is what you need for portrait photography.
Cheers.
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Old July 28th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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I agree. A shed, if you use it, is just a shell. You'll need to insulate it, and panel or drywall the interior. You'll need a solid foundation. Most sheds have flooring that feels...shaky. You'll need to run power to the building, at least a couple of 15 amp circuits. You'll need a solid door, with a good lock. Those shed doors won't cut it.

A classier approach would be to remodel your basement. If you have no basement, you could remodel the garage, or better yet, add an office space above the garage.

If you are going to be doing serious audio work in your studio, there are a lot of special design considerations regarding acoustics. For example, double-studded walls to sonically isolate the space from other adjoining rooms, and angling at least one wall a little bit to minimize reflections.
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Old July 28th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #5
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Well, I didn't plan on just buidling a bare bones shed and calling flippin' the sign to say "Open for Business".

What I was thinking was to insulate the walls as well as use drywall or something better to hide the rawness of a shed. As for the floor, I realize it's a bit shaky and I'll do what I can to make it as stable as possible.

I want to add either wooden tile or thick carpet. I'd like to build the interior as close to a room inside a house as possible. My brother in law is an electrician and he can help me figure out that part, but I fail to see how using a well built shed will deter customers because it looks "funky". If you do a google search you'll find many sheds that have a great looking interior as well as exterior.

Handy Home Products Somerset 10 Ft. X 14 Ft. Storage Building Kit - 18414-7 at The Home Depot

Something like that doesn't seem to bad, besides, the only difference from a garage is the way it's built. I think with a little creativity, a shed can serve my purposes.

I do not plan on doing any audio work in there, at least not in the beginning. It will mostly be used to do Product and Portrait photography (with a higher inclination towards product photography) as well as my editing room for my video projects.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #6
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That's not a lot of space or height. Take a 6' tall man standing. Can you shoot shoes to hat? Can you shoot shoes to hat without catching shadows on the back wall? Can you hang lights and keep them out of the your shot? Size varies with the task but, to make a pun, you don't want to box yourself in. I've built several studios. Never less than 20x20 and mostly with 9 foot or better ceilings.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 07:45 AM   #7
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Marc beat me to it, but the lack of headroom, and length is a problem. I have a basement studio and I'm constantly fighting the lack of headroom.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 12:39 AM   #8
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I'm planning a detached "garage" for a workspace and even at 16'x18' (that's all my wife will let me suck out of "her" backyard!) with vaulted ceiling it's gonna feel small once my edit desk, equipment racks, a couch, table, chairs and all my shooting gear gets in there.
Also gonna have a bathroom and storage cabinets.

I too think those sheds are just too small. Plus you need to run electrical, heat/AC. And if you plan to finish the inside with drywall, kiss another chunk of floorspace goodbye once you insulate. You may still have to build it to code too which could be problematic.

My current room in the house is 9x15 with 9 foot ceilings and there's room for 2 chairs (me and a client)
No way I'd ever try a shoot in it and even doubling the size once I am finished building the new room, it's gonna be a tight squeeze.

Now, to get REALLY creative, you could buy 2 of those buildings and find a way to attach them together. Then dedicate one for shooting and one for editing.
It will probably be cheaper than having a custom space built.
I'm figuring $40-50K for my room....I mean garage! That's professionally designed and built to code.

Here's the first thing I'd do...find a free home design software package (I got Sweet Home 3D for Mac) and lay out the whole space with correctly scaled fixtures, furniture, storage, etc. and see how little space you are trying to squeeze into. Below are the screenshots from my initial design. I can do a 3D walkthrough which helps get a feel for the space. Then modify it to see what will actually work for your situation and have it built.
Attached Images
  
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 04:59 PM   #9
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hhmmm...there's a lot more I need to consider. 40-50k is way out of my budget and I want this so I can start my business. As it stands, I have no garage or extra room to work with. Zilch. Nada.

What I do have is the drive and passion to start from the ground up. I don't have the luxury of money and I want my investment to pay for itself and then some. I would like to use this room as a starting point to make SOME money. As it stands, I don't have a dedicated room for my editing (photo and video). I'm currently restricted to the room my wife and I share. To top it off, I have a 4 and 2 year old running around constantly wanting to know what I'm doing. I love their interest in what I do but my productivity is lacking because of it.

Constant distractions = no work done.

I may not be able to use this as shooting room for portraits, but I may be able to do some product photography (small scale stuff) for the time being while I slowly build it (or move) to a more proper location.

I'm just looking for a starting point. Unfortunately, a shooting room seems to be out of the question for the time being.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 05:30 PM   #10
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You won't have enough headroom and the space will get really hot. There won't be any good place to hang lights either....

Do you have any good locations that you shoot at in your area? To be a studio photographer, you need a studio. But if you want to provide portrait options for people, you don't necessarily need a studio. If you had 5-6 good locations that are relatively close to each other, and are somewhat controllable, you could take some strobes and set up a really nice shoot. Do a bunch of those, make some money, then save up so you don't have to shoot in a shed.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 05:48 PM   #11
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Roger, I totally get where you're coming from as I have a 2, 3, & 4 yr old and was sharing my office with the wife. It's taken years to build my biz to the point I can think of building a dedicated structure. I think everybody's points are valid though and another thought to consider is finding a partner to shAre a rental space with. Or if you have enough biz, rent on your own.
If you want to keep the studio on your property, go into it knowing it should be very temporary.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 10:43 AM   #12
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I appreciate your dedication to purpose. Truthfully, I think making a space should not be a first priority. It commits too many resources that can't be recouped even at a discount. This is old advice but best to start with a business plan and spend as little money up front as possible.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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In the current economy, I would suggest looking to rent some space in a light industrial location, or sending out feelers to share space with another videographer.

While industrial space may be noisy during the day, I've found that after about 6pm it's usually quiet. This type of space is cheap and usually has high ceilings and adequate electrical power.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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Just a little advice from over 30 years of doing this... Forget about "if you build it they will come".
Without the business in place to support your new "business hub" you are just throwing money away with no guarantee of a return on your investment. And if you don't make money, the government will look at you as a hobbyist rather than a business and then say goodbye to your business deductions.
Rather let your clients dictate your business needs.

For example... It would be foolish to install a 20 foot green screen in hope to gain green screen business if your clients don't need green screen work done.
Much in the same way a large syke wall is not needed if you only shoot small items on a sweep table.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:29 PM   #15
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David,

You make a very good point. Sad to say, that indeed was the attitude I had coming into this. I realize now that I should have clientele in place before I decide to make this sort of a jump.

I appreciate all of your responds and I need to re-think my business plan to better suite my situation.
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