Set Design Q&A
back to your outdoor set. So you said that your bidding 12 by 12. Yes, And if you should like full body, you're basically kind of right in front of the phase. If you're stripping on a side, how that work? Let's just say that, um, See, for camera purposes, let's say that let's say that this is 12 12 wide 12 deep, and I want to shoot this girl over here, but I want a full body shot. I still have. I have 12 feet to back up over here. So I mean, I have 12 feet and I can use a little bit of a wider angle lens if I needed to, you know, like a 15 to 35 to be able to get still a full body. So when you'd be surprised with 12 feet, that's still plenty sufficient to be able to get a full size image. Don't you get some distortions? I mean, if you shoot wide at at 12 millimeters, you would. But you know, I can shoot at even at 24 millimeters from 12 feet, and I can get a full size image, you know, and have plenty of room to crop, so you'd be surprised. Do that at home, you know, mark off 12 feet ...
and stand back and say, Oh, I guess you could do that. But yeah. With a 12 millimeter land, you are gonna get distortion, but 12 feet is is still plenty sufficient. What kind of question you have? Ready? Well, it was a civil on light. What lens. But going back to the, um through shops and reckless won't place, like, good stuff. Is it Grodd cells? Yeah. It seems the dollar tool is the most a lot of good quality stuff. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, a lot of times larger items. People don't want to carry those back in their house, You know that you can bargain with them a little bit and say, Look, you know this whole thing here, and this is what I would do if I find something and I don't want you guys to think I'm a manipulator. I'm very honest, and I'm a very nice guy. But when I want something, I want it. So I would walk up in a yard. Santa might Look, let's let's face it here. You know, what are the chances of someone actually coming around on this thing today. You're gonna have Teoh. You're gonna have to get your grandson's back over here, which they're gonna be less than thrilled, you know? So they're not gonna want to carry this thing back in your garage. You don't want it in garage. So look, you want 40 bucks here, just let me 20 bucks and I'll just go ahead and grab it. And it's not hurting them, you know? And normal like, Well, okay. And if not, you know, then it may not be meant to be. So Don't ever give people what they want for it. Unless you're talking about photography, right? Good point. Good point. Why don't we go to the Internet and see what the Internet is saying? Wolfers up. Ninja Flasher says my Sanford and son Brain just exploded, and Kim really d said I need Blair to come and visit to do an episode of Studio Extreme Makeover and everyone kind of Can you be, like, hired to consult on studio? You have done that for some other folks with consulting. There was, ah matter. Find a guy just drove down recently from about four hours away and he said, Man, I just want to come and look at your studio He said, I really feel like I get so many ideas And I said, Come on down, look around all you want to And yeah, actually, what I like to do is I can look at people's space that they have and you know, the footprint of it and kind of give some ideas of, you know, if this were my place, because obviously I know how to maximize my space. You know, I'll say, Look, this is kind of some ideas of how I would arrange it and what I would do to maximize your space, So yeah, absolutely. That's always something. You know. I don't ever I never turn anything down, never turned anything down. And that brings up my next question from Tech wondering how large is your studio space? Because you have a lot of sets in a lot of space that you can play with? No, I dio the overall shooting area is probably. Listen, I'm gonna have to guess. It's been a while since I measured. I would guess it to be 40. I'll say 40 feet wide and probably 75 foot deep. So I mean, it's a pretty large area, But I mean, man, I have crammed every square inch of that place with shooting area. I mean, every square inch of it is used, everything. So there's there's no space left because every little spot is, you know, turn here. I got a background turn here. We can shoot this way. Turn here there. So I'm really, really maximize your space type of guy. And Marianne was wondering if you have any thoughts on portable sets For those of us who have very limited space, right, Portable said. That's That's where I think you're going to really gather a lot of information and a lot of really, really good stuff. When I talk about how to obtain and secure and utilize locations, there's really with locations I don't know of a good a good way or even a smart way to bring your own backdrops, so to speak. I feel like that would be probably a lot more work than you would need to do. I think that during this next segment here, if you watch what I do and how I secure locations, I think you'll be in good shape. So not a lot of good ideas on that. That's a lot of work to bring stuff to physically set up. You know, you could bring props, Of course. You know, chairs some different things like that. But I'm gonna be tough to do that one. All right. The next question is actually from two different viewers. Both Leah Carroll and Apple Ashley have the same A question for you. How much time do you actually dedicate to building the sets? And, um, and Apple actually also is wondering, what do you recommend for a girl that never has never used more than hammer before? Right. Right. Well, we need to find you a date. I'm just kidding. I'm totally getting It does take some time, you know? And obviously, it took me a couple of years to build all of those sets. I mean, it doesn't just mark off like a month and say, All right, I'm gonna hit it really hard because I have to maintain business. But what I do is the right on a normal week. If I want to build a set, I will try my best to mark off an entire day so that I could devote all my time, that so let's just say like the palate set. For instance, the palace said it took me an accumulation of several days to do it, because on my lunch break as I was going somewhere, I would go by this one particular place. The scouts set out pallets and pick up the pallets. Bringing back threw him over the fence. It took several days to humiliate the palace, and then once I had all the materials there, it literally I would say, from start to finish on most of those four hours or so, and I could normally pretty much have it all within the shape, or at least good enough that I can start photographing on it and then finish it, You know, throughout the next coming weeks. So it does take some time, and that's why you want to. You don't want to start so many projects at one time, start one and finish it, starting all the one. Finish it starting and finishing and, you know you can probably find some cheap labor. You know, I met a guy a while back that actually helping with a little bit of my studio, but I had to fire him because he was just crazy. But he would work for $10 an hour, and he was a very skilled carpenter. He would bring his own tools, or at least all the tools that he could fit on his moped head because he was a victim of, ah, drinking problems. He had a D. U I and that handed him from getting to work some long story matter. Fact. When we get into that, no kidding, but reach out, reach out in your community. There's there's friends of yours that no someone there's. There's someone with store. There's someone JC Penney's when you walk in like this, a random question. But do you know anybody? That's that is a good carpenter that would work a decent rate, and that might be single. Help you learn how to use more than a hammer. So ask around, ask around good question, and everybody wants to know. How do you get your ideas for your sets? Because you're very creative and very innovative. Where you finding your inspiration? You have to say that it all started in the very beginning by not having a lot of money not having anything and when I would just be already riding just driving on the road. And I was always one of those guys. I was looking this way, looking this way, never really looking at the road, unfortunately, but, like, I would see when I saw that house that was gonna be torn down, you know, I know I could do something with that or I'll see, like a pile of stuff that's gonna be thrown out. And I would stop and say, You know what? There's some texture here. I can use pieces. It ISS. So it became like a game, almost of anything that someone would bring. I would not turn my back on it, and I would look at and say, How can I? How can I create something out of this looking right here? See water bottles? You know, like what I could build a set out of water bottle Somehow, I don't know how, but I could figure out something. And that's the cool thing about buildings building senses. It doesn't have to make sense. It just has to have texture, something to look at. Urban Outfitters I went in Urban Outfitters one time and saw a bunch of would like different pieces of wood cut and glued to the wall. That's where I got the inspiration for the palace set. So my wife, she is a little more adventurous, and she calls me a lot more money than I do because she'll see something in Macy's or somewhere. And she's like, over there. Okay, listen, I've got it. We've got to get some of those. I'm like Suzanne, those Air Louis Vuitton trunks like we can't get big pieces of luggage toe like No, no, no, we're gonna do that. So I have to keep her grounded. But I would say if you're just starting out, you know, look for things you can use that your recycling basically that don't cost you a lot of money. All right, speaking of those big walls that you have brought into your studio that just a lot of people have questions about that. One is from Charlie, about those floors on the sidewalls. How do you move them around? And Kimberly G. Is wondering, How do you support the walls that you build? Have a 28 100 square foot studio that I would like to build new walls. Great question. First of all, I don't move them around. They are fixed into place because moving something around like that is not efficient for me. I want to be a sufficient as I can. I want to have it all laid up late and set out, so don't walk out with my camera. All I have to do is engage with my client. I'm a big believer in if you have to keep moving stuff around, you put your camera down and you disengage from your client and you go work on things and work on things. Then you have to come back and re engage with your client. You don't ever want to break that that engagement there and with all of mine. They're set, and the way that I fixed them is to the ceiling and my ceiling I have. It's kind of like it's exposed beams, and what I've done is I just on my side walls on nail a two by four to the side of the wall and make sure that it's long enough to go all the way up into the ceiling and then I just fix that to one of the beams in the ceiling so it won't go anywhere. Just drill through the being, run a bolt through it, and then it's just it stays there because I got nice hardwood floor. I don't want to drill into the floor, but its heavy enough that it's not gonna move back and forth on on the floor is going to stay there. And I cut little carpet strips that are four inches wide to put up underneath it so that whenever I put the wall up, it's on. That carpet is not a scratch my floor. But if you were gonna fix it to the wall or to the ceiling, you know you could get those big draw wall anchors. Drill a hole, put the drywall anchors in it and then screw it in there. Someone of the hardware store would be able to help you with that. To tell him what you're trying to do. Make sure you get the right tools for it cause you don't want the screws coming out on the wall falling and killing someone. That would not be a good look for you. You definitely need your own reality show studio makeover. This happening could happen. A very cool Quite a few people pro photographer Bruce Cyril and others were wondering about the outdoor props and how you protect them from the elements of the weather. That's a great question, guys. How do you protect all that stuff outdoors? And what I've done is I use materials that can withstand the outdoors. But if you notice on that picture that I showed you before, only on the outside, I haven't overhang. It's a four foot overhang that keeps the rain from blowing in that everyone smile some of the rain. If we get a really hard ring with a lot of wind, it will blow the rain in there. But it's a concrete floor, and all the materials in there can withstand a little bit of moisture, a little bit of dampness. So it's really not that big of a deal now. One thing I want to point out, too, that I didn't was in between. So, like I said, you have three sets on one side and three sets on the other, so there's a wall that divides the middle all the way down through the middle. What you want to do is leave some space in between the top of the wall and the top of your prop shop because you won't wind to be able to flow through it. Because if not, you're gonna have some wind shear that could get in there and are really stormy day. I mean, they could, you know, it could lift the roof off of it. And that's not a good look either. So you want to spend a lot of time doing a lot of research before you just jump in and build something like that? I mean, like I said, it took me. It took me a year or two a. And I consulted with some other photographer friends of mine that had something similar on Do you know, I got some of their input and then I was like, you know, like that idea. But I think I'll spin off that and I'll do it this way. So and I did. One thing I didn't mention is I have three days on one side, three on the other. So really, I've got three and two I left that last. They completely there's no sets in there. And I use that one just for storage for props. If not, then all the props that I have that I may want to use outdoors and put somewhere I have nowhere to put them. So I kept one open for that. Have another one we dio. Let's on. Uh, let's see. Well, first of all, you have so many different color and texture combinations to your sense, the sky's the limit. Bacon have so many different options, and they're images. Do you work with this? Your clients beforehand And what clothing to bring. And how do you coordinate that with your backdrops, right? I don't I don't do that before they come because And what I do is I just tell them to bring way more than there ever possibly gonna need. I mean, I want my client to show up like four suitcases, because if you don't, they're gonna show up with some of the dumbest looking outfits, the photograph and you're gonna like. Great. This is gonna be inspirational. Have nothing that's gonna work with this. This looks terrible on this. Looks terrible. What? Where do you What do you do here? So I'm telling to bring like four suitcases. I want to bring way more than they need, and I ensure them that look. I've got something that will work with every one of your outfits. It's a big selling point to on the phone when I can shoot them. Ah, few images of the different backdrops that we have a difference says. I'm selling variety, and that's what kids won't. That's what the seniors want. They won't variety well that they come to my studio. I'm definitely gonna be able to do that. It's really important to have a lot of different in a lot of different colors because you want to match Green's with greens you want. Imagine rounds with browns. You know, like this right here. Her skirt matches everything in there. The color combinations match. So you know it's nice toe have different color combinations, just like this one here. The green green with the green. You know, they didn't paint their walls green at this gym just because they love the color green. I mean, it goes with their school, so having that variety is very, very, very key. And, you know, before when I first started, I didn't have that variety, but I would go out and find that variety on location. So when I was out, you know, I would see if I had a yellow wall here and I told her, All right, just bring four outfits. That's all we're gonna need on the phone and she shows up, and she doesn't have any yellow that I'm I'm not gonna Everything is gonna match that. But by telling her, Look, and I'll sit, obviously. Look, I'm not even kidding. I want you to bring I want you to go to your friend's houses. I don't want you to raid their closes. I want you to bring everything you can find within a reason. Don't get too stupid on me now, because that way, when they come in, they line it all up. I can just said no, we're not gonna use all of it by any means, But I want to have variety because you don't know what I have. I don't know what you have, and then I'll just go around like this one. I've got something perfect. That's gonna go with this while you're putting that on. I'm gonna go get ready. So I create a good shooting environment by having lots of clothes to work with. Now, everybody is not gonna always do that. Some people are not gonna listen, and they're gonna bring 45 out pits. And when they do, you just got to roll with the punches. You gotta work with it.