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Thread: Building a daylight studio

  1. #1
    nei1
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    Building a daylight studio

    Hi,I have an old farmhouse on the north coast of spain complete with an old maize barn next to it,no roof or front wall(wooden doors)about 200 years old. Im going to turn it into a daylight studio and darkroom.Im wondering if anyone here could give me any advice on widow position,(roof and walls)to get the best lighting effect,its a blank canvas and Im hoping to make the best daylight studio I can.
    The rear wall forms a border and so no windows there but on the roof,end walls and front any thing goes.The long wall points north east unfortunatly so its not an easy north light.Any help or a point in the right direction very much appreciated,Neil.

  2. #2
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    First thought was a green house roof over the whole thing. Costly though. Depends also if you want it permanent or just when you shoot.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    I agree with Guy. I'd leave the existing structure then totally modernize the roof and new wall, roof as translucent panels, wall as glass with moveable translucent scrims and blacks. Could even add some venetian blinds for effect. It will make an awesome studio. When it's all done, invite us over and we'll do a workshop out of it!
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Absolutely
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  5. #5
    nei1
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Jack,Guy thanks for the encouragment,what a teriffic christening that would be!
    My problem(not really a problem as this is my dream come true)is to get some direction to the light together with that beautiful north light.Two metres are going to be used from one of the ends as a darkroom,2x3metres,that leaves 5x3 metres for the studio.The roof will be pitched and Im thinking to have glass on the north face with blinds inside to control the light.What would have been perfect is to have a window in that north wall but as its a boundry for the property its illegal here to put in a window over looking the neighbours,evenif the neighbours are just corn!That leaves the south facing "glass"wall which might give too harsh a light.I can put a window in the end wall but its quite an expense,quite a lot to think about,am loving every second!

  6. #6
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Neil,
    This looks like such an interesting project for your dream studio. The pitched roof with translucent or glass panels and cover shades should do a great job of bringing in light. Do not underestimate the power of reflectors and stuff on the inside to help push whatever light you have to wherever you want. Even if your subject is not in the north light at some point, you can still bounce/reflect light in ways to create nearly whatever lighting you want.

    If you leave the south opening as mostly window (sliding doors maybe?) it will let in an awful lot of light too. You could moderate that a bit with a small overhang on that side, even simple wooden slats or lattice work would help control the direct light, yet provide a lot of interesting pattern and texture for portrait shooting and things. Just so many possibilities to explore.

    There is a guy that designs these sorts of shooting studios that may be able to offer you lots of ideas. I will try to dig up the reference for that. In the meantime, those stones as a wall can make a stunning setting, and you can always drop a backdrop or seamless paper to cover them, but the natural stone is too good to NOT use for some things.

    Good luck with your project. Just out of curiosity, is the darkroom part critical for your work (films, wet prints, etc.)? Otherwise, that area would make for a great staging area and computer workspace. Just so many neat possibilities with this.

    LJ

  7. #7
    nei1
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Thanks LJL,Im certainly enjoying it.Youre right about the use of reflectors,Im fairly sure Snowdon had a daylight studio in a basement and used reflectors to boost the light.Good idea to lower the roof line on the south side.Next time I go up there Im going to try and simulate some of the options and take some photos to help me decide.One way would be to put glass everywhere possible and control the light with blinds from the inside but this might stretch my budget and the wifes patience a bit too far.As for the darkroom,yes at the moment it will be a wet darkroom,love the smells,all the best and thanks for your interest,Neil.

  8. #8
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Well even translucent panels on the South side will provide some great light. Your really are simply making a huge soft box like that even with sunlight coming from that side. Than on the very top panels across on the North side you could have shutters on the top and standard roof on the bottom half than just open the north light top shutters going across. This could give you fill or main and the South side backlight or main. Hmmm . I'm flying over. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    FTR, a good scrimmed South window is going to be better quality (and more controllable) light than a naked North window... My bigger concern would be excessive heat.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Agree Jack . If you can control the south side the light would actually be better
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  11. #11
    nei1
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    On the back wall(and the sides)there are ventillation slits to stop the corn from rotting.Im allowed to keepthese and glass them in.There are 14 on the"studio"wall and Im thinking that if I persuade the builder to make them as large as possible that taken together theyll significantly increase the amount of north light and also ,more importantly, take it down to the floor.Then on a bright day the north light from the roof plus the wall can be the main light with a soft fill from the south and on dull days(lots of rain up there)vice-versa.14 little windows feels expensive though.Thanks for your interest,all the best,Neil.
    On this photo you can see the slits a little better,I think it depends how big the builder can make them.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    I paint, and like north light for the following reasons.
    1) It stays consistent for long periods of time (the sun moves, the sky does not)
    2) It behaves like a huge softbox, filling the studio and wrapping the subject with light.
    3) It has very consistent color temperature.
    But for photography, I think I am in the artificial light camp since you can fashion pretty much any kind of light you want from the gear that is available.
    -bob

  13. #13
    nei1
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    Re: Building a daylight studio

    Hi Bob,Im maybe after something different,Im not looking for versatility on the inside,this is not to be a commercial studio,unless the client accepts what I do.Im after a box whose interior light is affected by the world outside,my contribution will be to know what that light will be like as the seasons and weather change,I hope to be able to say to someone that I know,who wants their portrait taken,a time and a date when I think my box will be tuned in.Yes I know its a bit daft but what the hell.All the best,Neil.
    You know that feeling when you walk in and the light is beautiful and you want to photograph anything and everything,thats what Im after,but also for it to change as the world spins,wether this involves just the north light or all light is what Id like to know more about.
    p.s.Having just reread this I think Ive had alittle too much wine,goodnight!
    Last edited by nei1; 10th September 2008 at 15:07.

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