Creating your own home studio for photography - part 4

Creating a home studio - part 4

See the previous part 1 - 3 here.

Studio space restrictions, and how to make the best use of the space available to you.
From the very beginning my major concern was the lack of space in the small room now converted to photographer studio. That combined with storage for all my gear when I needed to use that space. 

To me, the biggest downside to renting an apartment, is that I am not allowed to change anything, and any damage to the shitty plaster walls… well you know how fast your deposit is gone then.
Now building your home studio, you can put most anything on light stands and tripods, but the precious square meters available to you is then quickly consumed by a dangerous foot-tripping labyrinth that requires several years of yoga training to navigate without injury to yourself or your model.

And even if you don't care about the damage to the walls, You can’t really hang anything with any weight to it from the plaster walls.

So, I was looking around for a solution to this, and saw that many established studios have railing systems for lights etc in the ceiling, and yes I realize this is crazy expensive and requires a ceiling that can take that weight in the first place... I have neither. However! this got me thinking... What if the load bearing was not carried by the walls or the ceiling but rather a slim frame-system with padded “feet” to protect the wooden floor? A sort of practical, internal, “roll-cage” for your studio that you can hang lights, backdrops etc from (OωO)?

*cue angel choir and prophets* 矢崎 イレクターパイプ!! (“Yazaki erector pipe”) sounds like a 5$ porn flick, but it is in fact a PVC covered steel-core pipe system that you can basically build anything from. (okay almost anything) 矢崎 イレクター DIY

Erector pipe system dimensions

Erector pipe system dimensions

So over the weekend I bought multiple pipes and junction points to build a small half-size room cage as a test. 

The cool thing is a pipe cutter and an allen key(hex key) is all you need. You can the cheaper junctions made from PVC that you glue together, but the idea -for me at least- is that this setup is completely modular, and can quickly be reconfigured or be build out as needed.
And if I move apartment in the future, I can easily take it down and reconfigure to a new home. 
Pipes are very cheap at about 8$ for 2,5m pipe and because junctions are metal it all become very rigid and sturdy, and it seems like a great solution for many other DIY projects in my head right now. :)

My room is a really strange shape, and with slanted walls on one side.
For now at least I will build "triangle-cage" that will support me putting my backdrops to up high below my ceiling about 2.3m (where previously I used light stands and a dodgy curtain rail. ) 

**This should give me**:
- plenty of support for mounting lights, 
- a much higher placed backdrop for full body length shots, 
- top cross-bar and corner posts as anchor points for lights and reflectors, 
- give me much more room for walking, 
- and a good place to store light modifies when not in use. Where previously I would move them around to make room. (like the dirty clothes on the bed, that moves to the chair when you have to sleep, and back to the bed, when you get up) 

This goes especially for my 150cm Octo-box, which of course can be dis- and reassembled when needed, but I just rather not, if I don't have to. 

Have a look at the difference it makes in terms of foot-print on the available floor in the room. I used to constantly trip over the **$#&*$!!** light-stands, but this solution is far superior at least for the backdrop as that would remain stationary. The lights may need to be moved to some extent, but in a room this size, you really can't move a light on a big stand very much due to the big footprint anyways and will need to adjust power output instead. 
And at least for the hair light/rim light/separation light as well as reflector that can be mounted on the rail I am saving the footprint of 3-4 light stands. Assuming a light-stand footprint is about 70cm Ø x 3 or 4  light stands… I am sure you can imagine that from looking at the room pictures. (=_=‘)

And keep in mind!, those 3-4 light stands saved, are just the ones behind the model.  So although the pictures may not bring my point across, I can say that the ability to better organize, and the saved floor space and less “Temple-run-trap-avoidance” for model and photographer have made this all worth it. 

Now ironically two of the most expensive pieces in this setup were the 2 “super clamps” at 54$  a piece on Amazon. Σ( ̄□ ̄)  but when it comes to hanging up your heavy and expensive lights you really should not be skimping on the quality of what will be holding it all in place. These mofo’s are extremely secure, and I feel confident when hanging up my expensive equipment, and that feeling of security is worth it I think. And they are easy to move around and adjust.

Let me know if you have any question, or ideas… or better yet, if you did a setup at home, please share it with us in the comments. I would love to see what others have come up with.