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Make Your Studio Space Fit Your Workflow: 5 More Tips!

Part 2 with Kevin Mason's 'lights, cameras, action' considerations to optimize your photo facility.

Screenshot 2022-10-05 at 1.42.22 PM
Head of Community at Creative Force
Head of Community at Creative Force

When it comes to building a studio, there are many ways you should reflect on your team's workflow and create a studio that serves your day-to-day (or, as we discussed in Part One of this recap, you can improve your operations to align with your space and its constraints).

Kevin Mason's chat with host Daniel Jester on The Creative Operations Podcast was so robust that we split this recap of the Studio Workflow guru's insights into a two-parter. That's a clear sign of a can't-miss episode, right? Be sure to stream the whole thing on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

For Part Two of the highlights, read on.

Ask if eCommerce Will Lead to Editorial

As the e-commerce content industry blends more and more with editorial content, your studio's needs, from set size to storage space, changes-will likely increase in demand.

"With that, if it is elevated, how elevated is that content going to be?" Kevin asks. "Are we shooting campaigns there or are we just shooting the classic kind of eCommerce we know? That's the first thing I'd begin to address with someone, because then we can begin to work out, well, we know what a basic size of a set needs to be for an on-model set."

Calculate Your Storage Cycle

When you decide on your storage areas, you're thinking of everything from photo and video equipment to set gear to products for shooting. For your product, you need to scale out your growth projects and consider how much product you'll house and how long you'll need to store it. Storage cycles will dictate your storage needs.

Make sure your calculations don't end with the final snap of the camera, especially if your team has a history of needing to reshoot. It's a matter of determining your standard time to online.

"You've got to think about it from beginning to end, right?" Daniel says. "Not only where's it going to live and stay when it hasn't been shot yet but it's been received, but how much do we need to hold onto at the other end of the studio when everything's shot and done?"

Here's where it's good to inspect your workflow as much as strategize your space. Because if your team can be efficient-and yes, having proper studio space helps in that-then you can reduce your storage cycle and reduce your storage needs.

"If your review process is awesome and you can send a product out straight away and you can just digitally review everything, then you save an expensive footprint because you're not creating a warehouse," Kevin says.

Raise the Roof for Your Lighting Needs

One of the ways editorial content differs from eCommerce is in its lighting needs. The staged sets of editorial are far larger than most products. So if you see your team shooting campaign content, you need more lighting equipment and more spatial clearance for your light sources.

"Do we need massive ceiling height?" Kevin asks. "Or can we get away with a front light and a couple of backlights and keep the sets quite small?"

It's another reason to anticipate your studio's future with editorial content-you might need to raise the roof.

Decide How Much Technology Takes Center Stage

When it comes to creating a floor plan for your studio space, don't default to shoving your equipment to the edges of your space. Reflect on your workflow and the amount of time that any device is used.

Drawing back to a previous studio build, Daniel remembers an automated device that was primarily handled by an operator, not a photographer. But that device was used for something like 60% of the studio's work.

"We had just shoved it in a corner because it was a big piece of machinery," Daniel says. "And then we said, 'Maybe that thing needs to be central to our workflow because so much of our product moves through there.'"

Keep it a People Business (But a Space One Too)

"The one-two punch here is to have a beautiful space people enjoy being in and to have a good team that people enjoy working with," Daniel says.

But what do you do if you have one before the other? Is there a right place to start?

"If you're a good team, you can get away, to some extent, with convincing people to come to a space that isn't conducive to the way that they want to work," Daniel says.

But that act of persuasion lasts only so long. Daniel operated like this before-he led a great team in a difficult studio space. "Eventually my team would burn out," he says. "They'd say, like, 'I need to take a week. I just can't do it anymore. I need to kind of recharge a little bit.'"

So a team without space can't be sustained. But neither can a loaded space sans the right talent. "You can have a beautiful space and an incredibly dysfunctional workflow and team," he explains. "All the capital you've built up with that beautiful space is wasted because everybody's unhappy."

You're now abundantly prepared for that next studio build (or the choice to improve within your existing space). But with so many good pointers to retain, be sure to circle back to our Part One reflections or catch the pod in its entirety.