by Panikos Hajistilly Published 01/12/2016
When designing the studio building, I wanted to have natural light coming into it. I toyed with the idea of having a skylight, but after thinking it through decided just to go with a big patio door 2 metres wide that would allow plenty of light into the studio. Also I wondered whether to leave the whole space (exterior dimensions 10x6m or 32’ 9”x 19’ 8”) as one big open-plan studio/viewing room/office or to separate it off into a studio and separate viewing room. There are pros and cons to both designs, but I opted to go for a separate viewing room, small, but functional. The way I viewed it was that I could always keep the viewing room tidy and more 'business' looking, whereas the studio can get a bit untidy with lots of kids' toys and clothes in it. This way the viewing room doubles up as a changing room, breastfeeding room, etc. Also when I’m doing newborn shoots, I can warm up the 'shooting room' to 28°C and keep the rest of the studio cool. I have under-floor heating so that works really well from this point of view.
Now as my studio faces east, if (BIG if ) the sun is out, I have to wait until the afternoon to avoid direct sunlight coming in, but thankfully we live in England so clouds are usually what we see, which photographically speaking is perfect!
What have I managed to do in the studio? Well, I’ve done ok, I have six studio lights, all battery operated Profoto B1s, (I LOVE my B1s!!); I can create almost any lighting style I wish. My favoured studio lighting set-up is 'three point lighting' with two gridded strip lights aimed towards the back of my clients (almost pointing towards my camera) and a 5’ Octa aimed at the clients' faces, but at an angle or 'feathered'. This gives the light falling on the faces a lovely 'shape', and a very delicate rim light around their bodies giving a gentle separation from the background.
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