Shooting in a photography studio can seem a bit daunting. A lot of photographers choose to shoot outdoors due to budget constraints and the fear of stepping into a studio. There are, however, some real benefits to shooting in a studio and they apply to both new and experienced photographers. If you have not had a chance to try shooting in a studio I highly recommend the experience.
Don't get me wrong, the outdoors is great, but I am personally quite fond of shooting in a studio. A photo studio offers you certain amenities that you just can't get outdoors. Since not everyone can afford to own a studio outright, it makes all the more sense to simply rent one when you need it. Costs vary greatly from city to city, but you can usually find some affordable options. Furthermore, if you split the cost with your team, it can be far more affordable than you think.
Fully Controlled Environment
The biggest benefit of shooting in a rental studio as opposed to the outdoors is the control you have over every aspect of the production. Outdoors you have to worry about temperature, wind, rain, and every other environmental variable that could be tossed your way. Even the light can be unpredictable. It can change from hard to soft with the movement of clouds, and on longer sets you can even run out of usable daylight.
When shooting in a studio you are sheltered from all those environmental variables and have full control. You can maintain consistency throughout your project, no matter how long it takes. Your light can remain identical from 6 a.m. all the way through to midnight if that is what it takes.
You also have full control of your backgrounds and don't have to travel any distance to get from location to location. You simply tear down and build up each set right there on the spot. In the process you can add whatever elements you want. Usually on location you don't have that luxury. You shoot what is already there, but in a studio, you can create your own setting from scratch.
Access To Props And Equipment
Usually when photographers think about adding variety to their portfolio they immediately think of outdoor settings. Different locations give you different looks right? Well sure, but shooting in a studio does not have to mean being constrained to only shooting on seamless paper or other uninspired looks.
Most studios contain a wide variety of props for you to use. You have all sorts of furniture such as stools, chairs, and even vintage pieces. There might be lamps, and fabrics, and desks for you to use. Some studios even have costumes, masks, and clothing. All these choices add up to an endless amount of possibilities that can create all sorts of images and styles.
Part of the appeal in using a studio is understanding how to effectively use key elements to add texture, color, and composition to your images in a way that expresses whatever mood and idea you are after. You can completely fake an outdoor image by staging it in a clever way and shooting it in the studio. You don't have to travel enormous distances to exotic locations just to get the look and feel you are after in your portfolio. With a bit of imagination and some elbow grease you can put together a simple set that will translate all those same qualities of an exotic location, but all the while shot in the studio.
Furthermore, most studios are equipped with professional gear and equipment. Under normal circumstances all this gear might be out of most photographers budgets, but studios usually rent out equipment for a small fee, which gives you that extra creative freedom to test out and play with all sorts of gear you might not normally have access to. There is also the benefit of not having to lug it around from location to location.
You know what is not always so great? Mosquitos. You know what is great though? A private washroom!
I don't mean to be facetious, but renting a studio for your production comes with some pretty great creature comforts. There is usually a kitchen where you can make coffee and reheat some food. Studios are usually located close to restaurants where food and drink is readily available. Most places are climate controlled too so you can dial in the exact temperature you want.
Outdoors you may have to deal with hot humid conditions, or on the opposite end, bitter cold winds. There may not be any comfortable seating or any food nearby. You might have to trek through the woods for quite a while, where maybe you'll step in a puddle, and now you have wet shoes for the entire day.
The bottom line is that renting a studio offers you a comfortable location where your mind can stay focused on producing quality work without any outside distractions. All members of the crew can stay comfortable the entire day.
If you have not yet had any studio experience it can seem like a really intimidating environment. Most studio owners, however, are very experienced photographers and eager to help. They are there to answer questions and offer some guidance if you need it.
Renting a studio space can be just as much a learning experience as it is a space to create. Studio owners have a wealth of knowledge. They have seen just about everything. Photographers from all genres and experience levels bring with them bits and pieces of knowledge that the studio owner absorbs and learns over time through observing and having conversations. They pick up on various lighting techniques, tips and tricks of the trade, and even savvy business advice. Going to a studio can be your chance to strike up a conversation with the owner or the staff and pick their brains for some of this information.
Most owners and staff are also on hand to help with using equipment. It can be a great way to receive a quick crash course about how to properly and effectively use various lights and modifiers. Shooting in a studio can be a great way to bounce around ideas with other creatives and get inspired for projects.