Quite often I hear from other photographers, “If only I had a studio.” To which I ask, “Where do you shoot now?” The responses are as varied as what different photographers like to photograph. Having a studio would be great. I’ve worked in a bunch of them. In fact I have helped three photographers build their studios and I was asked for my input on the design of studio for a large national non-profit that I used to work for on a freelance basis. Currently I don’t have a studio, in fact, I have never had a studio of my own. I have always made sure I have a place where I can go and make some images if I feel the need to.
Since I got serious about photography I’ve used a wide variety of places for a studio. When I lived in Belgium the Arts and Crafts Center, where I was a Photolab Instructor, had a studio that I could use. When I lived in an apartment in Charleston SC, attending the College of Charleston, I had a king size bed on legs that were 7 1/2 feet tall! The apartment had ceilings that were a bit over ten feet high. This gave me room to shoot headshots, ¾ body shots and tabletop setups under the bed. My dorm rooms at the University of South Florida also became a studio when I needed to shoot projects for various assignments. After graduating I would use my dining table or my living room to shoot in. Currently I have a small space in our basement where I have the option of setting up a small “studio” when I get an idea for an image that can be created in a small space. When I need a larger space I use our garage or another room in the house.
Can you create a studio anywhere you have room to shoot? Sure you can. All it takes is a little ingenuity and some planning and you can make it happen. Can I shoot a Lamborghini in my living room or one of the other rooms I have already mentioned? Of course not. For that matter how often will I get the chance to shoot a Lamborghini in a studio? Lets just say I’m not planning on it anytime soon but if I needed to I would rent a studio for the shoot.
So the answer to the question is, No! You don’t need a studio. Creating images like this image of a flaming match and the others you see here can be done in a relatively small space. Would having a studio be great? Sure it would be, I’d love to have one. Having a place to go and shoot whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, would be great. Not having all the expenses of having a studio, well, that’s great too.