What are your plans when you get set up? A portrait studio in your Basement?
A long post, but I tried to answer all of your questions, not just Herb's -
I don't have a basement (not many basements here in the Southeast), but do have the 17 X 26' second master bedroom on the 2nd floor of my house that was no longer being used and I am now converting into the photo/video studio. My house is almost 4,000 sq ft in size on just over 3 acres of lake front property (about 1,600' of shoreline). Two of my youngest sons once shared this upstairs bedroom, but they are now adults and the older one is married and living across town from me. My youngest son is now handicapped and can no longer climb the stairs, so he is living in a first floor bedroom now.
This room has a roughly 6 X 8' walk-in closet attached to it that I'm using for equipment storage and an unfinished master bath is also attached to it that I will be working on finishing in the early part of next year (was supposed to be finished by now). The hall at the top of the stairs is large enough for a small fridge and coffee area, plus a lighted mirror and counter for make-up, and a full length mirror for clothing adjustments. A small garment rack will be there too. Another 38' X 12' very long closet off this hall is being used for family storage and it will also be used to hold any props that need to be stored temporarily outside of the studio.
In digital photography, I don't really need a dark room typical of film photography days. My digital darkroom is located in my computers and printers, which are on computer tables that run along one long wall of the photo studio. Two desk top computers, and one lap top serve this purpose well. I will have a new large screen 4K TV on the wall above the PCs that will double as a TV or computer monitor, and a smaller flat screen TV that will display a slide show of some of my work, also mounted to a wall in the studio, or I may locate it on a wall in the make-up area of the hallway.
Since I have no desire to go back into business at my age and health condition, I'm building all of this because it's an item in my "Bucket List". I have been in and out of photography since high school, starting serious photography as a high school yearbook photographer. I was also heavily involved in the stage and auditorium shows put on during high school, and we had a teacher who had once worked in Broadway theater production in NY who taught me a lot about lighting concepts and stage production. After graduating she helped me find work running a Summer Stock Theater where we had off Broadway entertainment, stage shows, and movies to put on every week.
Then in the early 1960's I worked on a camera system that was used to map the moon as part of NASA's Lunar Ranger/Surveyor Program. This was back before digital photography, so a kind of Polaroid process was used to take the photos and develop the film, then the film was scanned and digitally transmitted to a tracking station on Earth where it was again converted into film for later map making. My part in the program was to come up with a way to lock the camera on a position on the Moon surface while the camera shutter was open for time exposure shots of the dark back side of the Moon. It was used for the bright front side as well, but the exposure time was so short that it really wasn't necessary. As each shot was completed, the camera then needed to advance to the next position and repeat the process. All of this was aboard a rocket that was circling the Moon, so something like taking still photos from a car while going fast down a road at night without letting the camera move while the shutter was open for the needed time exposure. The resulting data created maps of the entire Moon's surface to be later used for the Apollo Moon Mission landings.
I heard that later this same control system design that I had helped develop was used to build early smart bombs by continually sampling an image of where the bomb was headed and providing guidance data to keep the bomb on course until it hit the intended target.
During the time that my 4 children were growing up I didn't have the time or money to devote to really good photography, so I went through about a dozen different snap shot cameras just to be able to record our children growing up and their life experiences.
From 1998 to 2004 I owned a digital photo retouching business, doing commercial work for other photographers as well as walk-in business for anyone that wanted it. The economy downturn and my health problems combined to force me to sell that business. Between 1996 and now I've owned 5 different digital cameras of several brands, but now have gone fully Canon for both cameras and lenses.
Now the urge to take good quality photos and have my first portrait/video studio has hit me. I've never owned a dedicated studio before and just kept my photo gear in the back of a closet to be pulled out and set up when needed. I'm combining my knowledge, older equipment, and my knowledge background with a bunch of new equipment in a new dedicated studio in my home where I can experiment and try new ideas in photography, but primarily only as a hobby this time. I'm planning to take many good quality photos of my family and friends, and even some good photos of some of my woodworking projects, and try some new things photography related.
One of these is to experiment with high speed macro photography, like capturing a water drop while falling and splashing. Many others have done this, but I have some different ideas that I want to try. In photography a "Gobo" is a light modifier, anything that can change the way light behaves. I have some Gobo ideas too, like ways of projecting shapes and images onto backgrounds behind those that I'm photographing, so it improves and creates more interest the final photo being taken.
I have three 10' X 14' fabric backdrops, a black, a gray, and a white on rollers attached to the ceiling, and 3 months ago I had started building some angle iron rods for temporarily attaching colored or painted fabric to use as additional backdrops in front of the roller backdrops. I welded a 1/2 X 4" pipe nipple to each end of these 1" angles and screwed 1/2" floor flanges to these nipples with plans to paint and then attach these to the ceiling just ahead of my backdrop rollers, but my declining heart condition kept me from finishing them, and they just laid up against the wall behind the roller backdrops since then. That changed last Friday, when I felt good enough to finish what I had started. They now have a coat of sealer, a coat of white primer, and two coats of white ceiling paint on them and they are ready to be put up, but since they are each 10' long I need to wait until #2 son can come over to help me, which should be some time later this week.
I have an idea of how to make a stand to use the upper half of my mannequin to make her look more like she is at seated height, and will likely begin making saw dust to build this later today. I think I will be using one of the round low Harbor Freight shop stools without the cushion attached and just making a wood adapter to fit it to the lower end of her upper torso. Then she will be roughly at seated height with the air spring lift of the stool still working, so I can adjust her height slightly from there, and she will have wheels for easily moving her around. Most of the portraits that I plan to take will be from above the waist up, so this modification should make Linda the mannequin more closely match the height of those that I plan to take photos of. She's 5'9" when standing now, and nobody in my family or friends that I know are that tall, except for my #3 handicapped son, who can't even get to my photo studio.
I won't post any photos of people that I take or have taken on the internet, out of respect for their privacy, unless I get their written permission to do so. I may later post some photos of the train in my avatar, the carousel, and other photos of the park where they are located though.
I'm going to lunch today with three buddies and their wives who I met while working the train job. Santa and his wife will be joining us today. Did I tell you that I am a close friend of Santa and Mrs. Santa Claus and eat lunch with them almost every Wednesday? (Santa from the Park).