Studio Space and Making It Work

When it comes to your studio, quality beats quantity!

Working in a small studio doesn’t have to be a limitation. With a little bit of planning, organization and creativity, you can make smaller studio spaces work for you.

This photography class provides a number of tips and tricks for setting up a studio, whether it be your first home photography studio or your fourth professional studio. From storing equipment to safety considerations, Karl explains what to think about when setting up your own studio and how to make the most of available space.

In this class:

  • Maximizing space
  • Storing your photographic equipment
  • Tips for setting up a home studio
  • Useful equipment and accessories for photography
  • Safety considerations in photography studios
  • Displaying your photographic work

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl

    I’ve been away from the KT community for a while and just recently resubscribed. Finding it so useful to hear all of your advice.

    Having been made redundant from the retailer Wilko at the back of last year, my colleague and I have just taken on a 1000 sq ft modern ground floor unit for commercial work and were wondering if you could elaborate on where you mentioned the heating you have in your studio.

    You talked about having infrared heaters in your latest studio – could you give us an idea on where you have them mounted (ie walls, ceiling, etc), the size of your studio, and how many heaters are therefore required to effectively heat this, and what kind of power output these are?

    We’ve used the old jet engine heaters in previous studios but I don’t want the noise/smell etc, plus I’m thinking we could target specific infrared heaters around desks/client areas, etc.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

    Cheers John

  2. Hi Karl, I would appreciate it if you could do more shoots showing alternative equipment and set ups that are catered to people working in a small space. I work out of a small bedroom and the kind of set ups, backgrounds, lighting and surfaces shown in your classes are impossible for people like me to replicate and thus it makes it almost impossible to put into practise.

  3. Hello Karl, I am learning a lot with your videos, and I am buying my equipment little by little, please I want your suggestion, I am going to buy a background fabric, what color do you recommend?

    1. Hi Henry? A background fabric for what type of photography? Have you watched our classes on studio/photography backgrounds?

      1. Yes, I already saw it, I’m just setting up my studio and I’ll take portrait photos, pregnant women, family photos, I saw in your video that you recommended the gray background, will it work for everything I told you about?

        1. Hi, yes grey is my favourite but that’s because it’s more particularly suited to product photography and fashion backgrounds and it is also neutral so any colour outfit will work with it. But for portraits as you describe you might be better with a plain grey and a mottled grey.

  4. Hello Karl,
    If my studio is all black and I’m using 2-3 flash only (this is my only light in the studio) it could work for me?

    1. Hi Mor, yes having a completely black studio gives you good light control (if not a little depressing to work in) but I’d consider a white ceiling or white foam board you can stick to the ceiling when you need it as a white ceiling is a very useful bounce.

  5. Hi Karl,
    Hope all’s well.
    I started learning photography from you eight months ago (end of May 2021), something completely new to me. Two weeks ago I set up a website (took me a week to complete using Zenfolio’s excellent platform), and then last week I decided to take the plunge and rent a small studio (6 x 4 m x 3 m height) – almost double the size I’ve been practicing in. I’m just about to move in. I also received my first client – which I’m thrilled about (three weeks’ work). So, a big thank you for all of your help – it’s all down to you.
    My question: If you had a small studio this size, would you rather have the walls all black, or all white, as a starting blank canvas?
    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Mark, great to hear your progress, congratulations. I’d rather have a white studio as the white bounce can be extremely useful but in a small space it can also be problematic so I would also rig up a curtain wire through eye hooks around the room that you can quickly draw or clip cheap black fabric to that you keep in a box. I’d also have some white velcro stickers on the ceiling and I’d velcro large sheets of black foamboard to the ceiling when I needed to. Foamboard is very light weight so you’d only need a small velcro tab for each corner.

      1. Brilliant, thank you so much for the speedy and helpful response. That’s what I’ll do. Have a great remainder of the week. ; )

  6. Hey Karl great video!
    I thank you very much for that. To be precise, I will set up my first own home studio in 3 months and I have already given it a lot of thought and your video has confirmed or expanded a lot of it for me. cheers

  7. Could I ask where you got the cart with the four wheels at 3:30 from? It has what looks like a blue can of cleaner and an orange duster on it. Been looking for something like that for a while.

  8. I’m building a house with a garage doubling as a studio. Dimensions 11m by 6m by 3.1m height. What colours would you suggest painting the 3 bare walls and especially the ceiling, which is a bit low for a studio?

    1. Hi Andrew, that sounds like a great sized studio, only slightly smaller than my last studio. I’d paint the whole thing white as the white walls and ceiling can be great reflector bounces when you need them. Of course when you don’t need them they can be a massive problem which is why as you’ll see in some of my other classes I recommend black foam board panels that you can quickly velcro to the ceiling when needed and black curtains to pull around the walls. Unfortunately not the simple answer you might have wanted but the fact is that both white and black both have their advantages on different shoots.

  9. Hi Karl,
    So I am limited to a space with maximum height of 8ft. my maximum depth is about 10 ft from my subject. What would you suggest for this setup. Thank you in advance

    1. Hi, well you can make it work for product photography if you’re tidy and organised and you could probably manage a few head shots or beauty shots, but you won’t be shooting fashion or full length in that space. And you’ll have to take my tips about darkening your studio that can be found in the portrait classes.

  10. Hey Karl,
    What is the material on the floor and backdrop? Not paper is it? How do you keep it clean?

  11. Hi Karl, what color(s) would you recommend for painting the walls of a small, carpeted, ten-foot ceiling studio? Thanks.

    1. Hi Ariel, I’d still go with white but create some blackout fabric panels or curtains that you can put up when you need

  12. Thanks so much karl. please what is name of the material you used as the white background and where can get such.

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