Daylight Studios for Photography
I had a chance to talk with a commercial photographer (Michelle Havens - a.k.a. “The Havenator”) about the pros and cons of a daylight studio. A twenty year veteran, she has worked with daylight studios for the past several years.
Q. What exactly is a daylight studio and what is the point?
It’s a greenhouse for growing little photos into big ones. No seriously, it is a large glassed room that allows natural light into a section of our studio. It’s window light taken to the extreme. There are several reasons you may want to use a daylight studio. You have some of the advantages of outdoor light with the convenience of a controlled environment.
Q. What kind of look does it give you?
It’s important to point out that it's not just one specific look. The quality of light will vary a lot, just as it would in any outdoor condition. The time of day, the cloud haze, the position of the sun and so on will all affect the look.
Q. So what do you use it for?
Well, I can tell you we don’t use it for high volume work like catalog product work. The light by nature is not predicable and it moves fast. You have about 20 minutes to set up and shoot (and of course get client approvals).
Q. Can you give me an example?
I wouldn’t use it for jewelry, glass or metal objects. But if you were going to shoot certain subjects like say... cowboy boots, or a set with a BBQ grill, it would be great for a hero piece. It can also be wonderful for portrait or editorial work.
Q. Does the daylight studio change your workflow in other ways?
Yes, the approach to light is subtractive. This is very different from a traditional studio environment.