To say the space I have available for my photography studio is less than ideal would be an understatement. To be exact, the space measures 11 ‘x 26′ x 6′ 10″. Yes, that is a 6’ 10″‘ ceiling; it’s sadly not a typo. It is, however the only available space I in the house I can use for my studio and as Doris Day once sang, Que Sara Sara.

To get a better idea of the space I am working with and what I have planned, I created a quick Visio drawing to illustrate what is happening.


The initial tests put me shooting somewhere beneath or slightly behind the HVAC return (using my 50mm), but I have quite a bit of room to track backwards if I want to use a longer lens.

I have a few problems (other than the ridiculously low ceilings) that need to be addresses.

  1. Reflections – the over arching problem is reflection. I did some initial playing around in the space and found that it was nearly impossible to keep the light from spilling all over. Since the ceiling is white, the walls are yellow-green and the space is small, you get tons of bounce light, much of it with a fun green color cast. If I was shooting a Frankenstein Halloween costume perhaps this would be good, but most of the time, I will want to minimize the color casts.
  2. Junk – over the years I have collected an assortment of odds and ends that are completely essential to my continued survival. I mean how can anyone be expected to live in today’s world without a 45 gallon tub full of miscellaneous cables. This room has always held these treasures, but I am going to have to find a new home for them all.
  3. Pealing Paint – it has been a good number of years since this room was painted and there are plenty of pealing patches of old paint to prove it.
  4. Water – as with any basement in the mid-west, I get the occasional basement flood. This room was picked specifically because it gets the least water in my basement.
  5. Mildew – The picture below tells it all. Since this room was previously filled with boxes, and it gets damp on occasion, I get some mildew.

Plan of Action

  1. Remove the junk
  2. Scrape the walls
  3. Wash the walls with a mild bleach and dish soap solution
  4. Wash the walls with plain water and mop floor
  5. Prime the walls
  6. Paint the walls and ceiling in the first half of the studio flat black
  7. Paint/Seal the floor
  8. Install new electrical outlets
  9. Become the next great internet photographic sensation

If anyone has any suggestions or can think of anything essential I have missed, please leave a comment! I can use all the help I can get on this one.