Shooting in SMALL Spaces
Today we will shoot live from Nikki’s Seattle Garage Studio and explore small space and light and how Nikki is making this business a great success in modest surroundings.
My first Studio in 2001 was a converted country garage and was 63 square meters / 678.13 square feet–over twice Nikki’s space.
Image below: I shot for the first 3 months with ugly aluminum rolling doors and would roll them up before my clients came. When I could afford to, I put in the frosted glass doors that you can see in this picture. It took me 3 months to save the $5000 I needed to do this, but it was so worth it. I felt like a real professional studio and I affectionately called it GARAGE GLAMOUR. Everything in this studio was created, gifted, borrowed and picked up off the sidewalk it was all painted white by me. The birth of my brand and business started here. I was so proud of this space and I cleaned it everyday like it was my palace. The next purchase was a toilet and then I was full steam ahead.
When I think of the challenges of my studio back then, the biggest problem I faced (outside of having zero budget) was the low ceiling–7 foot. Even Nikki’s small studio has that nice high center ceiling and it significantly changes the distribution of light. Keeping the studio clean and clutter free is a big challenge but a very important one for me and I need a nice clear clean space at all times. I always prepare my studio both professionally and energetically. I truly put myself in the room as present and giving as I can be. I try to fill myself with excitement before every shoot so that I can empower and connect and serve with all my heart & soul.
I have seen people start portrait business’s in lounges and living rooms and garages and local parks it doesn’t really matter, one truth remains. I have rolled up those doors and swept out the leaves I have sprayed air freshener on fake flowers and had people tell me they could smell the beautiful roses from across the room, I have done a $3800 sale on a laptop at starbucks YOUR CLIENTS JUST WANT TO FEEL GOOD and seen and important and ANYBODY is capable of providing that no matter what their humble modest studio give with GREAT LOVE
Logistically there are some hacks and basic tips, such as cutting down the polyboards and vflats to fit in this height, shooting with a 35mm and 50mm lens, as obviously space is an issue. Shooting any kind of full length images or larger group shots (extending backgrounds in PS) and choosing small stackable prop/furniture pieces.
Watch the full video in our education library: Shooting in Small Spaces.