20 Reasons to Photograph in a Studio
Save Time, Money, & Headaches Photographing in a Studio
Trying to decide where to shoot your photography? While there certainly are benefits for shooting on location, if you’re facing constraints with time and budget, consider shooting inside a studio. In fact, we’ve assembled twenty good reasons why shooting in a studio is better than shooting on location:
1. Weather, or Lack Thereof
If you’ve scheduled location shoots before, you know that you’re at the whim of a lot of variables. Some of them can be controlled (lighting and time of day) but one huge one can’t: weather. By shooting in a studio, the weather will never be an issue, regardless of if it’s raining outside.
2. Easier Scheduling
For most shoots, you’ve got at least two people to schedule — yourself and the model. It might scale up, though, with makeup, wardrobe, additional models, assistants, and others. Location shoots are at the whim of logistics, from traffic to weather to availability. Studios minimize that so you only need to focus on schedule.
3. Load in Your Sets
Large set pieces can be unruly to load and set up, particularly if you’ve got to transport it to an off-the-beaten-path location. A studio can replicate that location but with the benefit of providing easy access through large loading doors and hopefully, plenty of free parking.
4. Efficient Working
Studio spaces are clean and clear areas that allow photographers, models, and crew to to prep accordingly. On locations, you’ll have to deal with whatever limitations come with the space. It may be cramped, dirty, lacking privacy for quick wardrobe changes, etc. All of that slows you down, costing valuable time. However, working in a clean studio space allows you to work efficiently, both in planning and in execution.
5. Green Screen
For location shoots, setting up a green screen can be complicated and difficult, even if you get the primary background shot. Studio spaces give you much more control over this, and if the studio already has a green screen or a cyc wall, that’s half of your setup already done right there.
6. Feed Your Crew
Photo shoots can be small affairs with just a photographer and a subject. In other cases, it requires a whole studio, models, crew, make-up artists, wardrobe, and corporate oversight. For the latter, one way a studio environment makes things easier is by having a centralized location for delivering a catered meal. In some cases, quality studios have a large kitchen amenable to catering needs and ample seating for your crew to expedite this even further.
7. Control Your Lighting
Lighting can be an extremely fickle beast to control during location shoots. For every perfect shot during the golden hour, there’s frustration with shadows, angles, and interferences. In a studio environment, so much of this can be controlled with both overhead lighting grids and standalone lights.
8. Closed Set
Shooting on location means permits, foot traffic, passersby, gawkers, and zero privacy — in other words, distractions. A studio gives you, your model, and your crew the ability to close off the set so everyone can focus on the task at hand.
9. Privacy and Security
If you’re shooting something privately or proprietary, you’ll want control over access and security. That can be difficult on location. However, in a studio environment, that can be easy to achieve, and you can even have studio staff sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure confidentiality.
10. Control Your Budget
In a studio space, you control all the details. In fact, with a few early visits and studio dimensions, you can pre-plan your entire setup, and even ping the staff to see if you can come in early to set up your gear prior to your scheduled time. All of this allows you to control the variables as much as possible, ensuring a smooth shoot that minimizes budget overruns.
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11. Diverse Backgrounds
Location shoots come with a significant limitation — the location itself. Working in a studio, though, gives you the flexibility to change sets and backgrounds quickly and easily. If the studio supports efficient green screen work, that allows backdrops to be inserted in post-production (make sure the lighting matches, otherwise it’ll look unnatural).
12. Additional Equipment
Forget a cable? Want to try a different lens or use a different lighting gel? When you’re on location, you’re stuck with whatever you brought — there’s very little wiggle room for improvisation. However, in a studio environment, you’re often surrounded by studio staff and equipment. Many studios allow customers to use extra gear they store and catalog. Need something? Just ask!
13. Control Colors
If you’re dealing with a location shoot, chances are you’re involving natural light to some degree. There’s only so much you can do when the sun is involved. Inside a closed studio space, though, you can tweak and augment lighting colors until it’s perfect — no worry about weather, clouds, or the sun moving.
14. Wardrobe/Dressing and Makeup Rooms
Working with models on a location shoot can be hectic, especially if it’s outside. Hair and make-up can be critical to the final product, and studio spaces provide dressing and make-up rooms to ensure that the finest details are applied without any outside interference.
15. Green Rooms
For more complicated photo shoots, there’s going to be some downtime. Perhaps sets need to be moved or lighting needs to be tweaked or models need to be swapped out. Location shoots provide limited spaces for in-between downtime (unless you can afford a honeywagon or trailers), but studio spaces often have green rooms for crew, models, clients, and VIPs to unwind between their hard work.
16. Work at Any Hour
Do you need to book hours late at night due to hectic schedules? Between models and photographers, it can be difficult to find the right time for a session. Studio spaces often provide flexible hours, especially if they have strong and established relationships with the customers. This lets all involved worry less about logistics such as transportation and more about simply finding a time to get the job done.
17. Straight to Post-Production
Location shoots may be in cumbersome locations with poor power outlet access. However, in a clean and calm studio environment, it’s possible to set up your digital workstation in advance. A few USB cords is all you need to start engaging the post-production process just minutes after you finish shooting — which can be very helpful if you find a mistake and need one last shot.
18. VIP Oversight
Sometimes, you’ll want to give specific people access to the studio as you photograph your subject. Usually, this is in a corporate situation when a marketing or product manager needs to have their say about the presentation of the subject. Working in a studio makes it easier to control confidentiality and in/out access, all while ensuring that any VIPs can watch, either in the studio space or through a video feed in the green room.
19. Network of Professionals
Need a recommendation for a make-up artist or assistant? Perhaps a second opinion on your lighting setup? Studio staff are often involved in the industry themselves and have local connections, so if you need to get in touch with someone who can help your project, all you have to do is ask — that’s something that you won’t be able to get while shooting on location.
20. Film and Photograph Simultaneously
For many corporate products, advertising photography and videos may be designed to have the same aesthetic and guidelines. By booking a large studio space, it’s possible to actually do some, if not all, prep work and shooting simultaneously. With proper planning, models and subjects can be efficiently used, saving time and money from the marketing budget.
Need more than these 20 reasons? Or are you ready to take a tour and experience these 20 reasons in person? For Bay Area photographers, the answer is Meets the Eye Studios in San Carlos. Conveniently located off Highway 101, Meets the Eye offers free tours of our immaculate facility and two large soundstages — book your free tour today!