Thursday, November 24, 2011

Working in a home studio

Let me start with a big Thank You to the folks at creativeLIVE. It has been a year since they asked me to come in and help out with a live workshop with Jeremy Cowart. That was an amazing weekend that has grown into a year of workshops. And to celebrate that, I'm going to do a 1-day workshop with creativeLIVE on working in a home studio to start the new year on January 10, 2012.

I am greatly encouraged by all the viewers who have commented about me during the workshops this year and who have written in asking to have me do a workshop. I'm a little nervous. I did do the fireworks class in July, but before that the last time all the cameras were focused on me alone was back in the mid 1980s when a TV show called "World of Photography" did a segment about me when I had a studio in New York City. I think I was so nervous there that they only showed me working and never used any of the footage of me sitting in front of the camera just talking. If anyone out there knows if these TV shows are available anywhere now, I'd love to hear about that. I lent my VHS copy of the show to someone many years ago and never got it back.

Anyway, that was around 25 years ago. I've come a long way since then. But I've also gone back to working at home. I started out at home, right out of college with a Norman A202 strobe pack with a couple of heads, reflectors, and umbrellas. I worked out of my bedroom at home, photographing things in the middle of the night while I had a day job working in a large catalog studio as an photo assistant.

Now I'm firmly entrenched in the digital world, but I do still have some of my film cameras, such as the 5x7 Deardorff view camera shown above. I still use studio strobes instead of small camera flashes for most work--that's what I've grown up with. But I have actually done a few recent jobs using camera flashes. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks (thanks to the Lighten Up And Shoot and Rick Sammon workshops on creativeLIVE).

I want this to be a very interactive class with lots of audience questions. So I invite you to start preparing some questions now and ask them here. And have more ready to go when Kenna joins me to take a look at my studio. You can ask about specific images shown below. Or ask about the equipment I use. Or ask about why I do things one way versus another. But it is mostly about helping you get set up to take photographs in your space.

Below I'm showing a selection of my of photographs and I am asking you which of these were NOT done in my home studio? Here is what I can tell you about my home studio. The main room I use is about 12x18' and I sometimes use an adjacent room that adds about another 12 feet to the 12' of the main room, creating an L-shaped area. My ceilings are a standard 8 feet high, and there is a wide doorway between the two rooms.


Looking forward to your questions and to seeing you online in January!




  1. John,
    I just enrolled in your home studio workshop at Creative Live. Looking forward to it in January.

  2. I just signed up too.
    What I would be interested is the space, what minimum space? how to effectively organise it?
    I am sure I will have more questions as it goes :)

  3. Looking forward to your class.

    #20 wasn't in your home studio.

  4. I've enjoyed you're input on the last few Creative Live events. As someone who mostly works from a home studio it'll be interesting the similarities and differences in the way you work.


  5. #20 was done in my living room. The set up was discussed in a couple of previous blog posts at and


  6. i am so excited for your workshop...
    my guess is that all of the images were done in your home studio... even the one with the car. (background added later?)
    never thought i would be looking forward to january, but now i am!

  7. Correct! I dropped Julie (another great photographer) onto the photo of the car.

    Let's take this discussion over to the creativeLIVE forum.

  8. Ah, the model looked like one shot in a local meetup group.

    I'll have to re-read you past blog posts. I just started following it.

  9. I see the date, but I see no mention of time. Will you be offering your content via webinar of sorts?

  10. It starts at 9am pacific time and runs til 3 or 4pm. All the info should be on the creativeLIVE site at in the gray box next to the photo at the top.


  11. I am really interested in continuous lighting using daylight fluorescents. I am hoping you will have a section on this :)

  12. I will do a headshot using fluorescent lamps in softboxes.

  13. I really like your website. I need a new website and I am wondering if you could share with me who hosts your site, how was it designed and ...hoe much does it COST?? THX!

  14. The website was done in Adobe Lightroom using the LRB Exhibition plugin from Sean McCormack. I believe it is available at


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