Studio space and making it work

Working in a small studio doesn’t have to be a limitation. You can make smaller studio spaces work for you with just a little bit of planning, organization and creativity.

This photography class provides a number of tips and tricks for setting up a studio, whether it be your first home photography studio or your fourth professional studio. From storing equipment to safety considerations, Karl explains what to think about when setting up your own studio and how to make the most of available space.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Maximizing space
  • Storing your photographic equipment
  • Tips for setting up a home studio
  • Useful equipment and accessories for photography
  • Safety considerations in photography studios
  • Displaying your photographic work

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.


  1. Could I ask where you got the cart with the four wheels at 3:30 from? It has what looks like a blue can of cleaner and an orange duster on it. Been looking for something like that for a while.

  2. I’m building a house with a garage doubling as a studio. Dimensions 11m by 6m by 3.1m height. What colours would you suggest painting the 3 bare walls and especially the ceiling, which is a bit low for a studio?

    1. Hi Andrew, that sounds like a great sized studio, only slightly smaller than my last studio. I’d paint the whole thing white as the white walls and ceiling can be great reflector bounces when you need them. Of course when you don’t need them they can be a massive problem which is why as you’ll see in some of my other classes I recommend black foam board panels that you can quickly velcro to the ceiling when needed and black curtains to pull around the walls. Unfortunately not the simple answer you might have wanted but the fact is that both white and black both have their advantages on different shoots.

  3. Hi Karl,
    So I am limited to a space with maximum height of 8ft. my maximum depth is about 10 ft from my subject. What would you suggest for this setup. Thank you in advance

    1. Hi, well you can make it work for product photography if you’re tidy and organised and you could probably manage a few head shots or beauty shots, but you won’t be shooting fashion or full length in that space. And you’ll have to take my tips about darkening your studio that can be found in the portrait classes.

  4. Hey Karl,
    What is the material on the floor and backdrop? Not paper is it? How do you keep it clean?

  5. Hi Karl, what color(s) would you recommend for painting the walls of a small, carpeted, ten-foot ceiling studio? Thanks.

    1. Hi Ariel, I’d still go with white but create some blackout fabric panels or curtains that you can put up when you need

  6. Thanks so much karl. please what is name of the material you used as the white background and where can get such.

  7. Hi Karl,
    Do you dim the upper windows of your studio as well during the Photo shoot or just the lower ones ?

    1. Hi Ahmed, I generally black out my whole studio so I can see what I’m doing more easily via my modelling lamps.

  8. Thank you for the great courses. My question is, why do you chose for a all white studio around the white background? I see your other walls, chairs, ceiling, window shutters etc are all white. Isn’t it better to choose for an all black studio so nothing bounces unwanted light or creates unwanted reflections in products?

    You also have your lighting modifiers and stands next to your photo area. Isn’t this also a problem with unwanted reflections?

    1. Hi Arjen, it’s a very good point but if you understand the inverse square law of light (which you will do if you start at the beginning of the portrait section) then you will realise that it’s not so much of a problem in such a large studio, but in a small studio yes I’d recommend black.

  9. How do you keep the infinity cove clean, do you paint it often, and why white and not gray like i have seen in other fashion studios?

    1. Never mind i just read through a bunch of comments> but i still want to know why white instead of gray/

      1. Hi David, I’ve worked in many different rental studios over the last 20 years and I don’t recall seeing a grey one? White can easily be made grey by putting less light on white. White will only be white if you put lots of light on it. When I need a dark grey background then I paint part of my cove that colour.

  10. Really enjoying your videos Karl.
    I would love to view the one on how you constructed your infinity wall. (Couldn’t find it.) I am especially interested in what material you use for the floor and what maintenance (keeping it white) looks like. I have been using flat white paint which looks great but really shows the scuff marks. I have to keep repainting it alot.

      1. Thanks! I was hoping there was some magic solution that worked better than what I was doing but per your video … once every month or so is what I end up doing for a fresh coat as well.
        BTW … I am really impressed by your quick and timely responses.

  11. Hi again Karl. So I’ve been in my new studio (described above) for a couple of months now and it’s working out very well. One thing that’s proving to be problematic however is the storage of softboxes and other large modifiers. I like to leave my most commonly used ones built up and ready to go but obviously that takes up a lot of floor space. When you had smaller studios what diD you Do to solve this problem.? Break them down? Hanging system?
    Anyone who has an idea about this please chime in. Thanks as always Karl

    1. Hi Nicholas, you can screw large hooks into the wall or ceiling and hang them. These type of hooks are usually plastic coated and about 10cm diameter available from DIY stores.

  12. Excellent content! We are opening a studio next month and this video is solid gold! Very glad I found you Karl this learning platform is amazing! Thank you

  13. Hello from Canada Karl. I’ll be moving in to my first studio in a couple of weeks. Yes, I’m extremely excited about it. The space is an old school classroom 10metres x 12metres with approximately 4metres of height. Currently the walls are painted an industrial grey colour with a white ceiling. Should I paint the walls white or leave it grey? My initial thought was to go all white but perhaps that’s not the best option. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you. Nick.

    1. Hi Nicholas, Your studio is a decent size so I would go all white but also install some black fabric curtains on wires that you can draw around the room as necessary when you really want to ensure there is no light bounce.

  14. Hi, Karl.
    Your tutorials have been invaluable to me.
    I am working in a very small home studio, being 2.3m x 3.9m. My backdrop is 2m x 2m. Is this actually too small to do anything but the one light set up ?
    Its a log cabin so obviously the walls are all round wood. Im considering putting up some sort of curtaining but this will reduce the space even more. Any ideas or tips ?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Joanne, thank you I’m glad you are enjoying them. With regards your questions please continue through the ‘Light Source’ course and you will see in the one, two, and three light setups that there are ways to overcome these problems. If you have further questions following this then please come back to me. Kind regards Karl.

  15. Hi Karl,
    Could you get David to come over some time? It’d be great to hear how he does all these fluid shots! Maybe it can be a talk show, or live demo shoot, or maybe a few course lessons?

    As for studio space, my future home studio will have a normal ceiling height (approx 2,5m or thereabouts, not higher. Already planned it in with my home renovation.). Do you have advice or tips for those that do have height constraints?

    1. Hi Kryn, 2.5 is manageable but I would have it white but it will also be prudent to construct some sort of fabric on wires that can be drawn across the ceiling to make it black if necessary, or maybe large black foam boards that can velcro to the ceiling.

      With regards David, you’ll be pleased to hear he is scheduled to come over in the New Year. Cheers Karl.

  16. H Karl
    What about a video one day where you visit a few smaller studios to show us what they have done and how the have arranged everything?

  17. This was an excellent lesson. It brought up many points that I hadn’t yet considered. Thank you.

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