31 JAN, 2019 | BY YU CHEN HAO
You are planning to start or upgrade your own home photography studio, or just want a mini-session with a backdrop in your house, but not sure if the space you have is realistically big enough. How big space is a minimum space or ideal space required to do portraits or family sessions? This is the first issue you need to consider for many passionate photographers.
If this is your first time to start an indoor photo session, you need to decide the studio space. Different sizes of space are applied to different occasions. And that means you need to measure your space and the style of your portraits (size of subjects) ahead of time.
Here are some tips to help you decide your studio’s size:
The Limitation of Ceiling Height
The most important limitation of a studio is the ceiling height. You have to consider whether the height is enough for implementing a ceiling light and a hair light when you begin your work. In order to put a light above the model （5.5—6 ft tall when he or she is standing) requires at least another 3 ft height of space.
Usually, a regular 10-12 ft ceiling height is enough for full-length body portraits, which means it can also prove the headshots, half-length shots 3/4-length portraits, etc.
Consider the Space You Can Move
Secondly, you need to consider the space you can move, which means you should consider the depth and width of space you have. Certainly, you don't want to be crammed into a studio with the subject and lots of equipment like flashes, stands, reflectors, etc. If you have little experience in photography equipment, you need to leave enough space in advance.
The Limitation of Depth
Then, you need nearly 4 - 8 (1.2m - 2.4m) feet of space between your subject and the backdrop, in order to get the subject far enough from the backdrop so it doesn't cast a shadow. At least 3ft away from your portrait subjects to the backdrop should be assured to prevent shadows and enough space for lights. Also, most of the time backdrop needs to be extended onto the floor for the model to stand and move. (Or just pair your backdrop with a matching rubber floor mat.)
Besides the above factors, you should also consider the following factors to decide the depth of your studio:
- About 2 - 3ft for the backdrop and the stand;
- About 2- 3 ft for model’s standing, sitting or other poses;
- At least 6 - 9ft for camera-to-subject ( Larger is better);
- At least 2 - 3ft for camera and tripod space;
- At least 2 ft for you to move behind the camera;
Space for Your Subjects
When it comes to the width, you should not only leave enough space for some equipment but also the pose or space you model need or how many people you will shoot. The most direct way to calculate how much width you will need in your studio is to measure the width of your subject needs.
For kids, headshots, 3/4 -length portraits and full-length portraits, you will need at least 5 feet of width for a background, 1 foot on both sides for the backdrop to extend beyond the edges, and another 4 feet on both sides to place your lights. So you may need 15 feet in total for a single portrait.
And if your subjects may lie on the floor or you will do group portraits, you will need more width. Usually, 8 feet is the least width you may need.
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