Looking Back at Having No Location

before
I was reminiscing with my friend and fellow photographer Sylvia G. on our early days of photography. And by early days I’m talking about the days when you finally decide that –yes, this pointing strange camera box thing and pushing buttons at people thing is what I’m going to dedicate my life to. These were very critical days that forced us to problem solve at any whim, deal with limited resources, and find a means of balance between paying your bills and making time to be creative.

One of the biggest challenges that we faced was securing a location to set up a full on photoshoot complete with wardrobe, hair/makeup, lighting, etc. What do you do when you’re starting up and can’t afford a day rental for a space? Improvise and work with what you got! Here are some classic cheap studios plus some of my old photos from the past at each location:

The Garage

thegarage
Conan and I used to setup shoots at my parent’s garage. It was your standard two car garage. Big enough to setup a backdrop, hang outfits on the roll-up garage doll, and layout equipment and makeup. The benefits of using your household garage was that you had some space to work, to congregate people, to shield yourself from the weather (and other amenities: power, wifi, bathroom, etc). The downfall? Realistically there isn’t enough space (ie. ceilings are way too short.)

MellyLee-Marley

 

The Living Room

thelivingroom
This is a similar setting to the garage. Perhaps the greatest benefit was being warm while shooting. The garage was uncomfortably chilly during the winter, which made it difficult to both direct and model for photos. However as you can see from the photo above there is barely any space for movement.

MellyLee-JoshHuang

 

The Back of That One Building

behindbuildings
I remember whenever I wanted more texture or a gritty-look for my images I’d specifically go behind different buildings on my college campus.

 

The Parking Structure

theparkingstructure
Nothing beats a good ole’ empty parking structure. It’s was always the most spacious out of all my improvised locations.

MellyLee-Clarke

MellyLee-Bluprint

If you’re looking to rent space for a shoot Sylvia has her spot available for booking! Check out FWD Studios.

 

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