Ever since I started taking photography seriously again, I’ve dreamt of having my own studio space. Space big enough to the likes of dance photography, and big enough I can use at least 85mm portrait lenses. For me, it was a barrier to progression. How could I possibly improve on what I know without being able to practice, practice, practice? There was no obvious cost-effective solution and so I started to get studio envy. How was it some people had these fantastic studios, and I didn’t?
I had hired studio time before for portrait work, but that seemed very costly, and usually came with gear I didn’t need to use. Sometimes studios came without the use of TTL strobes, which are especially useful for dance.
I needed another workaround, something that suited me and my budget (which is low). It turns out the answer was right in front of my eyes. Where I live there is a multi-purpose hall, which is often used as a dance studio, and it occurred to me – why don’t I just set up my own ‘pop-up’ studio?
It turns out that council rates on public halls are very low. But it’s not like the I have space is without facilities either; it has toilets, storage and a kitchen, and it’s an excellent size. I decided I would make contact, and make a regular 3 hour per week booking. I purchased a very sturdy Lasolite backdrop frame, some Colorama paper rolls and another light and softbox.
Okay, so I don’t ‘own’ a studio, but I do own time that I can use for studio work, and 3 hours is just about enough. I started with 2, but to include time for build and dismantle, you really need to spare 30-60 minutes for this. I still hope that one day I can own my own studio full-time, but until then, this works, and it’s not breaking the bank. More importantly, it’s on my terms and allows me to practice when it is convenient for me.
If you’re a photographer, and don’t have convenient access to a studio, why not contact your local council and see what the rates are on your local halls. You might find that, you too, can operate a ‘pop up studio.