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Travis Manley

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My Stock Photography portfolio is here.
My personal blog is here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Photo Studio!

I am excited to announce after months of trying to come up with a solution to my lack of studio space I have come up with an idea...drum roll please...I am converting my garage into my new office/photo studio!

My current office/studio is a little over 10x10' and my wife also has a desk and computer set up in there, needless to say its a little cramped. You try adding a model or two and it starts getting silly. I can waste half a day just taking out enough junk out of my office and setting up to take photos.

I know a big home studio is a luxury, but just think of how much easier it will be to do a shoot when everything is already set up and good to go. Our garage is also much bigger than we need (500+ sqft). This remodel adds a lot of squarfootage to our small house which is around 1,100sqft.

The first problem I ran into is where am I going to put everything that was in the garage? Luckily my wife and I have moved five times in the last five years so we didnt have too much junk collected.

Step one was building a shed to store what was in the garage. I found a shed kit at Home Depot and with the help of my brother and father was able to get most of it built in one day.

I thought it might be fun to post some photos of the process.

Here is the foundation

The walls going up

Moving on the the roof

Little help from dad and bro

Painting supervised by my wife and son

And done finally!

Now that we have a home for the little odds and ends, where to park the car? I looked around on Amazon.com and found a good deal on these canopy's. Its a bit of an eye sore, but it is mostly hidden by our garage and some trees. Its only temporary until we can build a new smaller garage next summer.

I really hope we dont get a bunch of snow this winter

Alright, now that we have a place for everything that was in the garage (most of it) time to start the remodel. Luckily our garage is in really good shape, no rotting, etc. There were some shelves I had to rip out and about a million random nails stuck in the walls.

The garage with everything in it before we built the shed and canopy

After getting most of the odds and ends and the car out

The view from the back door looking at the corner where my desk will be.

Looking in where the new front door will be

This is as far as I have got so far. The plan is to frame out the garage door in the next couple weeks, then electrical (adding outlets, lights, cable jacks, etc), insulation, drywall, painting then flooring. Hopefully the remodel will be done in the next month or two.

Check back in for updates.

Here is a link to part #2 of this post http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/05/new-photo-studio-ii-saga-continues.html

You can read the final post here http://twcdm.blogspot.com/2009/08/new-photo-studio-iii-saga-concluded.html


  1. What an undertaking! Can't wait to see the finished product. I'm kind of in the same boat as far as space, with one BIG difference ... I'm in a condo on the 3rd floor! Not much I can do here. It will be interesting to follow your progress. Good luck with it.

  2. Hey Carolyn, thanks for the comment. I plan on posting lots of photos the further into the project I get.

    Im really looking forward to getting that garage door down and framing it in, Im still having a hard time picturing it as a studio and not a garage so I think that will really help.

  3. This is really awesome and very inspiring for a lot of people who have no idea how to take the plunge and have a studio of our own.

    It will be interesting to see how you build your studio.

    Do share lots of details about the problems that you face, the planning that you do for electrical wiring, equipments etc

    And when all of it is done, how you get clients to your studio.

    It might be something like "Building your own studio for Dummies" :)

    It will help us all a lot.

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  5. Some problems im running into that I will post more about later are:

    What colors to use?

    Im not so worried about advertising my studio to clients. Almost all of the photos I take are personal projects to be sold as stock. The clients I get for portraits etc. are all word of mouth.

  6. That shed came together nicely, can't wait to see the after shots of the garage dude!

  7. Hey thanks Todd. I have never done a project like this so it is pretty fun. Luckily between my dad and my father in-law we could probably build a house from the ground up with their help this whole project shouldn't be too hard.

    Carra tells me she found a similar shed at Costco for a little more than we paid for this one but it is made of that Trek-Deck material and you probably just have to snap the walls together.

    Oh well... This was a good learning experience so I guess I cant complain.

  8. hi there!! i am really new for microstock business, so i am always looking on the web etc for photographers etc and i found your blog!

    Really nice studio...! what will you use for lighting and background?? i think i will do the same... really cool ideia!

    congrats and good weekend

  9. Hey Luis,

    Thanks for the comment. Im working on taking down the garage door and framing that in this weekend. Will have some new pics up soon.

    Currently I use two off camera flashes for lighting. I am planning on getting a set of Alien Bee's B800's in the next couple months then I will use those as my main and fill lights and use my old flashes for lighting the background or as a hair light.

    I have a big sheet of white muslin I use for doing shots that im going to isolate and I also have a bunch of paper backdrops on rolls as well as fabrics and even some sheet metal. Im also painting the walls neutral gray so I can use them as a backdrop if I want.


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