Studio Alternatives - Non-typical suggestions needed

 DavidJaan DavidJaan Posts: 284Member
edited November 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I have a series of images planned and need a studio setting. However, I don't have to room in my house and studio rentals seem to be slim in my area. So for any of you on location shooters, do you have any good suggestions that can work as an impromptu studio?

Comments

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Hotel room? I've heard you can rent these by the hour as well :-) also any room in your house if you drape it properly could work.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2013
    Depends if you are prepared to work with out permission

    If so there is lots on offer but you need to be quick


    failing that, dance studios, tend to be about the right size
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    If you have backdrops and supports then a hotel would be a good choice if there's room to set up. I've seen photographers shoot outside with backdrops and supports and studio lighting. So a local park might be good here depending on weather and wind - and there's no money out of pocket there.
    I'd imagine a hotel room shoot depends largely on your rapport with your subject. One of my previous subjects once asked me if we could shoot at "The Breakers" in Palm Beach. Ummm, unless this is sponsored by Nikon and Profoto, then I don't think so.
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  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    edited November 2013
    Just a thought, call a few local apartment complexes to find out how much it would cost to rent their clubhouse for 4 hours. Some will only rent to tenants but some will rent to non-residents just to make the money. If it's relatively cheap, then try it. Usually the ceilings are higher than a home and often have big windows for good natural light. Plus asking a model to meet you at an apartment clubhouse would probably be received better than asking to meet you in room 285 at "Hotel Notell."
    Post edited by Rx4Photo on
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  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    If you lived near me (Philadelphia area), you could use my basement studio.

    A friend's garage can work. Adorama TV videos use a studio which has a garage door. I assume this is some sort of storage space they rent. Maybe a public storage business would let you use one of their empty units for a few hours (take a broom and you may not have any electrical outlet but you can use speedlights),

    Does a nearby church have a large room? They often have a "parish hall" or some such place where they host dinners and events.

    Hotel or motel conference room. Maybe you can rent by the hour?

    Call local photographers and ask if any would rent their studio space by the hour.

    Good luck, let us know what you find.

  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,775Member
    Another option...schools. The problem is lack of natural light but if you have the flash equipment and lamps you set.
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  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited November 2013
    Any large area with north facing windows…..if in Greensboro, NC, USA, I am certain we can work out a nice setting for you.

    Studio Guilford 07.03.13-9
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    One of the best suggestion I have heard for a "studio" like lighting without any lighting is under the overpass of highways/bridges. You can bring some lighting or props as well as backdrops etc. Its free and you get that huge softbox thing called the sky. Only problem is usually wind :-) but then you wont need a wind machine ;-)
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  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,327Member
    A barn?

    Any covered picnic areas in a local park? Some places have these little "houses" with picnic table which you may have to move.

    A warehouse in an industrial area?

    An abandoned building in an industrial area?

    Local government facilities. Townships sometimes have meeting rooms.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @seven mentioned dance studios, made me think of yoga studios or any gym really that has a large empty room
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Careful with places like an underpass a cop may bother you wanting a permit. Gyms & Dance studios do make good studios too, and unlike many locations it is easy toget access to a dance studio because often the ownrs are accessible.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    One of the best suggestion I have heard for a "studio" like lighting without any lighting is under the overpass of highways/bridges. You can bring some lighting or props as well as backdrops etc. Its free and you get that huge softbox thing called the sky. Only problem is usually wind :-) but then you wont need a wind machine ;-)
    I use those all the time, but unlike kyoshi I've never had any issue with the police or highway patrol. The two shots below were taken under a highway overpass while it was raining during a full overcast sky. I obviously didn't bring a backdrop with me, but that wouldn't have been terribly difficult to do.

    image

    image
    Mike
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  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    A privately owned martial arts dojo ?? .... many are in warehouse district buildings ... sensei might want a few bucks though.
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  •  DavidJaan DavidJaan Posts: 284Member
    Thanks all for the suggestions and am definitely open to anymore that anyone has!

    I normally would work mostly outdoors for my shoots, but the problem is it's now pretty cold outside in my area and the shoot will be a full day. Also doing a play on light with off camera flash so it would be easier for indoors.

    Someone else locally also suggested a church, but the shoot will involve some nude work so I'm sure the church wouldn't appreciate that lol

    I got the name of a fairly new studio in the area that I'm going to talk with. Also, I contacted a local developer and they have some vacant apartments that will work perfectly if it works out. There's a large yoga studio that just went out of business as well, but the problem is mirrors. Lots and lots of mirrors.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Similar problem found in dance studios... On the bright side nudes are usually welcome and sometimes encouraged in them...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I know lots of people who convert their garage to a studio for shots. That depends on how clean you keep it.

    I know the Realtor I work with (family friend) and she suggested using vacated properties that the owners have up for sale. She will place furniture in them to "Show" and the owners would be happy to get a $100 back on that cost for "renting" the place for a day.

    Really it all depends on the space you need. Height of ceiling (this can be the kicker to any space), width, depth of room - furniture or props, or really the lack of any need for it. It sounds like Privacy is key. Most small hotels, motels have conference rooms that are real cheap to rent and many times they will have 10ft+ ceilings.

    How big of a space are you needing?
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  • GjesdalGjesdal Posts: 277Member
    edited November 2013
    @SquamishPhoto Brilliant backgrounds you got from under the bridge, esp. the last one.

    As for tips, how about a large party tent? Not tried that myself, but been considering it myself.
    Post edited by Gjesdal on
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  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited November 2013
    I believe Richard Avedon, my hero, describes it well. I quote from the website:

    THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION 25 WEST 53RD STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10019
    Foreword to In The American West

    "This is how these portraits were made. I photograph my subject against a sheet of white paper about nine feet wide by seven feet long that is secured to a wall, a building, sometimes the side of a trailer. I work in shade because the sunshine creates shadows, highlights, accents on a surface that seem to tell you where to look. I want the source of light to be invisible so as to neutralize its role in the appearance of things."

    A studio can be simulated almost anywhere……see for more info go here and look at books, "In the American West"

    http://www.richardavedon.com
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    I recently missed out on what could have been a PRIME opportunity. A couple of months ago I posted a few photos in PAD of a girl that I photographed accross Florida's intracoastal waterway from a couple of mansions. We parked in the lot of a mnasion that was currently being built without proper permission. The constructiion manager came out and at first wasn't happy with our decision. Luckily the girl's mom was with us and we made nice with the manager. Before it was overwith he pointed out another mansion that he constructed and now is the property manager for. Said that the owners only come down for a month or so during Winter and that photographers have asked him if they could gain access to these huge, well furnished spaces to photograph models. I was still a bit nervous and so relieved that he didn't kick us out that I failed to ask for his contact info.
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  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi,

    Lots of great ideas. I would also add that for a few dollars you can get permits from state parks (Montana is $25 a year) unless a crew of x (Montana is 4, some states vary) and all parks are covered.

    National parks are a bit more complicated, and I have tended to be more guerrilla, but I have obtained permits, too. The real problem with national park permits is the interpretation of how much your shooting will impact the other visitors, the park's resources, and whether the photographer or film-maker is insured or bonded for the shoot. Small shoots are very easy, long shoots can be very difficult.

    These are great locations, sometimes anytime of the year - I've shot in the Winter in for some good shots in the snow.

    Good luck and my best,

    Mike
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