Finding the Best Studio Space for your Photoshoot in New York City

When you’re looking to book a photography studio for a photoshoot, particularly in New York City, there are quite a few things to keep as a criteria list before you book. All the best photographers know that you can’t have a smooth, seamless photoshoot without first making sure that the New York photography studio they booked has everything they’re going to need during their shoot. There are so many factors to consider and every photography studio is not created equal, especially since there are so many spaces you can find at “affordable” prices that are just empty spaces being passed off as a photography studio. Just because someone has square footage at their disposal and listed it on Peerspace, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or somewhere else online as a photography studio space doesn’t mean it is the ideal space for your project. Choosing a bad location without the things you will actually need to have a successful shoot could end up costing you time, money, frustration and even your reputation as a professional.

The Groundwork: Research the Facility Thoroughly

Once you’ve started shopping around and identifying some studios that look good to you, make sure you take the time to read all the information available on it. Scope out the website and read all the content they have on their pages, especially all the information on the booking information and what they offer.

Find out if you can take a tour through the space before booking (being able to do this would obviously be ideal.) Doing walkthroughs will help you understand where and how many outlets you have available, if you will need extension cords, where you’ll have your subjects stand or sit, what light settings to set your camera to, what time of day will be best to shoot and a great many other bits of necessary information prior to your shoot day so that the day of, you’re not spending valuable time just then trying to figure those things out.

Make sure you also take a good look at their reviews online. What are other photography professionals saying? Are there more complaints than positive comments? What are the complaints and is the studio taking time to answer the reviews? You’ll learn a lot reading about others who have spent their money there.

Asking the Right Questions

It’s important to have a checklist and ask the right questions when shopping around for a viable photography studio option, especially in such a big city like New York where everyone is hustling and trying to pass off some random space as a professional photography studio. Here are some of the important questions to keep in mind when looking around at studios.

What Does the Studio Space Have to Offer?

Some studios are literally just square footage that happens to have walls and air conditioning and heat. Others come fully equipped with lighting gear, strobes, reflectors, diffusers and the whole nine. Figure out what you need - are you just showing up with a camera and in need of all the other equipment? Or are you coming fully stocked, with an entire team, and only in need of outlets? Is there a changing room, a cyclorama ,, heigh ceilings fans, etc? Determining what your checklist is for your photoshoot will help you decide which studios can work and which photography studios are no-go’s.

What Does the Space Look and Feel Like?

Part of what the studio has to offer is the layout and the look and feel of the space. Does it have urban looking brick walls, or a more steely industrial feel or is it complete white box and pure.? Does the studio have access to natural light and if so, does it also offer blackout curtains so that you can control the amount of light filtering in and maybe even use the sheer curtains as added light diffusers? Not knowing these types of things ahead of time could really end up having you in a bind and tripping you up if you didn’t think of them before and if the present problems for your shots in the moment, after your clock has already started running.

Does the Studio Offer a Variety of Shooting Spaces?

Depending on what you have going on in your photoshoot, you may need a variety of looks and spaces to play with or to set up different scenes. In this case, you wouldn’t want to get stuck booking time at a one-look studio with no extra rooms or lofts or balcony spaces that you might be looking for. New York photography Daylight Studios, a fully equipped rental studio in Manhattan, NY for photo & video shoots, castings, makeup workshops, fashion shows, and seminars, offers a variety of motion and photography studio spaces including indoor photography studio lofts in New York as well as outdoor photography spaces with the beautiful urban backdrop of NYC. Also, take into account how much space you’ll need in your shoot. Are you doing all closeups or are you planning on shooting wide shots as well, showing off the environment behind and around the subjects? Daylight Studios is an example of a photography studio in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan that has plenty of open shooting space.

Is the Studio Centrally Located?

Where a studio is located is very important. Firstly, is it in a safe neighborhood? This is especially important if crew or talent are showing up in their own cars or modes of transportation and parking on premises; you’ll want to know everyone’s cars are secure and that the photo shoot itself is taking place in a safe area. Also, is the studio centrally located? Your shoot could require some outdoor scenes and backdrops and if you’re in a studio that has no accessibility to other, diverse settings around it, you could end up stuck with not enough diversity in your shots. Also, keep in mind that maybe your talent or crew will want/need to get to surrounding places quickly - whether it’s for a coffee run or an emergency battery run; if you’re steps away from stores and resources, the downtime will be minimized during your shoot.

Keep some of these questions as part of your checklist and photography studio booking guide before you make a decision.

Tips for Taking Beautiful Food Photography Shots

One of the most photographed subjects of all time - next to fashion models, kids, animals and landscapes - is food. Seeing people snap pictures of their food at restaurants is just an indicator that this phenomenon is not going anywhere. Professional food photographers are always looking for ways to make dishes look more appetizing and interesting. It might seem simple, but there’s actually quite a lot that goes into it. If all the elements aren’t right, a decorated chef’s meticulously crafted masterpiece of a dish can end up looking lackluster or unappetizing, ultimately tanking all the chef’s hard work, no thanks to a bad photo. There are many precise techniques that top food photographers use to create that mouthwatering end result of a great food photo. When you put certain tricks and methods into play, you don’t need an expertly plated dish as a subject; you can be shooting a simple fruit or vegetable and still make your audience’s mouth water. Here are a few hacks; tried and true methods that top food photographers do to ensure their food photography ends up looking absolutely gorgeous and tantalizing:

Food Photography Lighting Tips

Go Natural: When it comes to food photography, it’s really simple: natural light is best. Just completely avoid any kind of artificial light, flash and run miles away, as fast as you can, from traditional fluorescent light or ugly, orangey, tungsten light. It will create harsh, uncontrollable shadows, make your image look flat and give it a greenish tinge - (or, an orange tinge, with the tungsten.). At best, it will make your food look uninteresting; at worst, traditional fluorescent light just serves to make wonderful, fresh food look like it’s seconds away from going rancid. Stick to natural light, whenever possible use a north facing studio so the light remains consistent throughout the day , when showcasing food.

Hit a Photography Studio: Heading to a professional photography studio or loft is a great way to ensure an environment that has plenty of natural light as well as a controlled environment. Daylight Studio in Manhattan, for example, offers many professional photography studio suites and lofts that have huge windows, letting beautiful daylight filter in. It has plenty of white canvas space as well, which is great for a fresh, naturally lit photo for food. Plan for a white photo studio rental ahead of time to secure the most controlled, ideal environment for your professional food photography photo session.

Artificial Lights - If You Must: If you are forced to shoot at night or need to use artificial lighting for some reason, there are ways to fake the daylight using a construction light, translucent  and heat resistant white paper or light diffuser, backing paper, a reflector, and a daylight balanced LED bulb. This is much different than traditional fluorescent which again, is a no no.

Manipulate the Light: You’ll want to place a diffuser between the main light source and the subject to soften harsh shadows. It gives the subject a softer look with more evenly spread light, softer shadows and less to non-existent contrast. This also allows for details in the food  to show up more and softens those bright highlights that are caused by direct sunlight.

The viewer’s eye is usually always attracted to the brightest thing in the photo and if background items are being lit up to much, they could end up competing for the attention and taking from your photo. If you’re going for a slightly darker, ore low-key image - or if natural light is falling a bit too much on the background or surroundings, you can use a black card to stop it from doing so.

When finding your settings, be sure to expose for highlights. Something that happens a lot in food photography is the brightest parts of the photo being washed or blown out; make sure you can capture the detail in the brightest parts of the photo. Bringing some of the detail back into the darker parts of the photo is always easier than bringing back details in a blown out, overly exposed area.

Food Photography Angle Tips

Where you shoot your food subjects from is another super important aspect to capturing great shots. With food, there really isn’t a lot of variety in angles and there’s really just 3 main angles that work the best. The first is aerial, the second is from the side, and the third is diagonal, so that you can see a bit of the top of the dish or food and a bit of the side. Aerial pretty much works for everything, since food goes on flat surfaces. Things like soups, açai bowls, oatmeal bowls and rice bowls look great from above and lend themselves to being photographed with a nice design. Pastries, cakes, cupcakes and burgers and things that have layers can look good from the side or diagonally. Drinks/cocktails tend to look good diagonally or from the side as well.

Food Photography Composition Tips

Composition is the next biggest thing that helps great food photography look so spectacular. First of all, you’ll want to choose a neutral background that doesn’t take the attention away from the food. Solid colored dishes or display mounts work best. Many great food photos use props or display items to help the star of the photo shine. Prepare things like display dishes, silverware, or cookware ahead of time and bring them with you on the shoot.

Next, keep in mind your photo is telling a story and you should look at the dish or food item you are photographing and pull the story out of it. Props can help with this. Choosing a direction for your photo will help dictate what types of props will make sense. For example, if you’re going with a rustic, fall feel for a cozy, autumn dish like pumpkin bread or butternut squash soup, a wood slice or wooden spoon will make for a great display props. Other props you can use include using elements that are used in the dish’s recipe. For example, if something was made with pomegranate or orange, taking a chunk of the open fruit and spreading some pomegranate seeds around or orange peels around the main item can help set the flavor profile for your audience and add a beautiful pop of color to the photo. Besides kitchen items and other types of food, you can also decorate using elements found in nature that lend themselves to setting the season. Again, if it’s an autumnal tone, you can use things like fall leaves, seasonal flowers like marigolds, acorns, pinecones, etc. If it’s a lighter, spring or summer feel, try using colorful edible flowers or light herbs like dill or fennel as a garnish and surrounding prop. Other mood setting items can be household items that would appear next to your food item in real life - for example, if it’s a coffee cake or dessert / pastry you’re photographing, try posing it next to a book and a cup of coffee, perhaps sitting next to a soft scarf, sweater or rug. This sets the scene of a comfortable stay-at-home moment and helps the audience imagine what the flavors and feels of your subject are.

Keep these basic tips and tricks in mind next time you’re planning to do a food photoshoot and watch how your food ends up looking like it came straight from the pages of a celebrated food magazine or like your favorite homemaker influencer’s latest post.

5 Tips for Having an Amazing Photoshoot in NYC

As one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, New York City is one of the most photographed cities in the world. It is THE most photographed, actually, according to SightsMap, a website that pulls data from Google Maps to pinpoint what the world’s most photographed places are.

If you’re headed to the big apple for a photoshoot for a fashion brand, a musical artist’s visuals, or any other project, you’re by no means treading in uncharted waters - but that’s only because of the city’s timeless look and endless possibilities.

Decade after decades of movies and photos have been made in this sprawling city - but somehow, it just never gets old. Multiple photographers and videographers can shoot in the same areas of NYC and end up with completely different results. That’s because New York is a timeless, classic city that offers a diverse selection of atmospheres and scenes. There’s that edgy urban feel that works for so many different brands. It offers plenty of industrial settings and in contrast, also has a soft, more natural look in Central Park. And then there’s that fresh, well-lit studio look found in the modern photography studio in New York City. And with an astronomical population of 8.6 million, it’s an absolute medley of subjects - people, animals, cars, trains - the amount of activity and things to look at will make your head spin. But regardless of all the scenes and subjects the city offers, what is captured and the results of the photoshoot all depend on the eye and skill of the photographer. If you’re planning on doing a photoshoot in this giant city, here are some tips to help reign it in, have a focus and get the best photos possible out of it.

Start with the Basics

If you’re still getting your feet wet in the photography world, you’ll want to remember these basic things:

  • Bring back up batteries - this is something that will leave you high and dry on the shoot if you don’t remember to pack sufficient batteries.

  • Keep Unnecessary Clutter Out of Your Shots - One downside of the city is how much stuff there is everywhere. With all the things you have to remember already, make sure your eyes are catching aberrations or unsightly things that don’t contribute to the shot such as “slippery when wet” signs, light poles or stop signs that happen to be in the way or positioned awkwardly behind your subject(s) and interfering with a good composition.

  • Keep the Sharpness Crisp: If you’re focusing your photos on a person, be sure that your sharpness is crisp. It’s crucial to put the focus exactly on the eyes of the person you are taking photos of.

  • Eye on Composition: Composition is key; make sure you’re composing your shots and framing your subjects well every time you click.

  • Keep a Shallow Depth-of-Field: Keeping a shallow depth of field is what gives your photos that professional look, helping them stand out from amateur pictures. If you’re shooting human subjects, keep the subjects of your photos at the forefront with the backgrounds slightly blurred. Put on your longest lens, set the camera to aperture priority, set the aperture as low as possible, step as close to the subject as possible while allowing the lens to focus, place the subject far away from anything in the background and snap!

Visit the Locations Before the Shoot

For a little more insight and preparation, it’s a good idea to visit the location before the shoot. If it’s an outdoor location, go around the time of day when you’re planning on conducting your photoshoot to understand where shadows will fall, what sorts of things are going on in the area and what you’ll need to plan for. If you are bringing lighting, you’ll also need to identify where there are wall plugs, if any. The best case scenario is to visit with either the subjects of your shoot or stand ins who have a similar skin tone, hair color and body shape as your subjects so you can figure out your correct exposure, aperture, shutter speed and so on, as trying to figure that out the day of the shoot will take a good amount of time if you’re trying to figure it out in the moment. This is extra important for film directors prepping for a filming shoot. Basically, you don’t want to eat up your photoshoot or video shoot time figuring things out and having to troubleshoot if you come across any problems - which there usually almost are, no matter how experienced you are. Making your your team wait could also end up in an uninteresting, tired, annoyed or unenthused looking subject - nobody likes to be kept waiting for too long.

Plan Around Lighting

For good photography, lighting might be the single most important factor. If you have great lighting, it may even make up for lackluster equipment and make your iPhone shot look like a DSLR (or close to it.) Plan your shoot around the times of day that have the best lighting. These are typically either morning at sunrise, or at golden hour - the end of the day, when the sun is setting. Bringing lighting equipment along is another play, but if you’re shooting outside, make sure you know where you can access power sources. One trick for fashion or glamour photography is to have your subject either around reflective surfaces or have them wearing something reflective - the light that bounces off these surfaces does wonders for the look of skin, eyes and so on. If you go with a Manhattan photography studio, the perk is you have the home base of a controlled environment with the right amount of light, with the option to walk outside and take some candids or spontaneous shots around the city if you wish.

Stay Open to the Vibe of the City

New York has an electric energy. Don’t try to go against it, stop it or hide from it. Go with it. If you use the chaos to your advantage and utilize it in your shots, you can end up with some seriously unexpected, happy accidents. Get your subject(s) crossing a crosswalk in a crowd of people; if you happen upon street performers, vendors or a block party, get in there. You might end up with a serendipitous moment captured on film. Wherever you are, make sure you set the camera’s white balance and get your settings right before trying to jump into any action. Not having your settings right when you snap an otherwise epic moment will have you kicking yourself later if you end up with a grainy or blown out shot.

Location, Location, Location

While our last piece of advice was to stay open to being spontaneous, that doesn’t mean don’t plan at all. Know the areas in the city where you want to shoot so you have an itinerary for the day. A few good places to shoot outdoors include:

  • Soho: If you want a fashionable, chic surrounding, go for Soho. If you want interesting architecture, walking over by Greene Street will give you beautiful cast-iron buildings and structures.

  • East Village and the Lower East Side: Hipsters, funky vibes, art galleries, street art, old buildings, strange and interesting streets and alleys, and more. There’s plenty to use as a funky, vibrant backdrop here.

  • 5th Avenue Below Central Park: You can’t go wrong with any of these street corners here. There’s a lot of quintessential city life and hubbub here to use as a backdrop or as a subject, depending on what kind of shoot you’re doing.

  • Central Park: A classic and self explanatory, you’ll find naturey vibes here, benches, lakes, ponds, trees, statues and wildlife.

  • Photography studio in New York City: Head indoors if you’re looking for a controlled environment with plenty of light. Modern, white canvas photography studios like Daylight Studios in Manhattan can give you a more controlled environment where you’re not dealing with unpredictable factors. There are various studios or lofts to choose from that have plenty of beautiful, white natural light from all the windows. Some lofts even have attached outdoor decks on a higher floor in the building, so you get the city’s buildings as a backdrop as well as an indoor space. A modern photography studio or photography loft space is ideal; you might want to plan part of your NYC shoot outdoors and another part of it at a studio. And if you choose the loft at Daylight Studios in New York City  that comes with the outdoor deck, you’ll get the best of both worlds. If you’re shooting for an actor or musician, a portrait studio rental is ideal for a controlled environment with plenty of light filtering in.

Keep some of these tips in mind when planning your next photoshoot in NYC and you’ll be off to a solid start!

Finding the Best Studio Space for your Music Video in Manhattan

Finding the Best Studio Space for your Music Video in Manhattan

Whether you’re part of a team, working on a big budget music video for an Grammy award winning mega star or if you’re a director hired on by a mid level artist with a less extravagant budget, there comes a time when you need to find the right location for your music video shoot.

When you and your team have a concept for a music video down, you’re going to start brainstorming about what type of setting your script or treatment calls for. If you’re looking for a music video studio space to shoot in in New York, here are some things to consider and a few ways to locate the right studio space for your particular video.

Why Choose a Studio Space in New York City?

While some music videos might call for an outside setting, or a specific type of venue like a club, house, school, gym or any other type of location, some music videos might call for a clean, white space that allows for a variety of concepts to be made reality. This is why clean, white background studio spaces are so popular in the music industry; they offer a fresh canvas for art to be splashed on. They can be transformed in so many different ways, using decor and lighting, angles chosen by directors of photography and videographers.

Another big benefit, especially for musicians working on a video in a big city like NYC, there’s another huge reason why a studio space is the perfect location in which to shoot your music video - and that’s control. Seasoned directors will tell you what one of the single most challenging things to do is: that is controlling your environment and all the factors that affect the success of a music video. From conception to the moment they yell “CUT! That’s a wrap!” there is a world of unforeseen obstacles to overcome. From budget challenges to securing permits, to outside noise seeping into your shoot, (especially if the shoot involves any dialogue), to lighting issues to scheduling, to locating electricity sources on location and so much more - all of this and so many unpredictable things that can work against you, and it all has to happen within that deadline!

Being able to control your surroundings is key. A modern, clean, white background studio space offers the perfect environment to be able to keep outside factors at bay. It’s raining outside? No problem. There’s a sudden swarm of pigeons or crows that decided to convene in your area? They can’t get into the studio space. There’s tons of traffic and tourists running around? They can’t get into your private studio space. A confined, dedicated studio allows you to control your surroundings, cuts out noise and distractions that could not only get in your shots but also distract your actors or crew, and it allows you to control your lighting. You’ll be able create specific moods and feels and get the exact results that you envisioned in a modern studio space.

Lastly, the raw feeling of having a canvas for a space is simply inspiring; for a creative, it is a haven for possibilities and allows them to create atmospheres intentionally. A music video can be shot in a completely dreamed up atmosphere that looks just the way the director wanted it. It helps your actors and musicians be in the zone, focused only on the task at hand and really in the moment so they can deliver the best performance possible. Basically, a studio space is the ideal location for musicians shooting music videos in an otherwise impossibly hectic and bustling NYC.

Finding the Right Music Video Studio in NYC

When scouting for locations, think about what type of look and feel you want for your shoot. If you want tons of natural light and an artsy, industrial look, you might consider a penthouse or loft studio space. This is perfect if your shoot is set in a busy city. It is that quintessential NYC feel, reminiscent of Sex in the City or the starving artist making it big in the big apple.

If it’s that classic city setting you’re looking for, the best thing about choosing a studio space in the city is that you’re not limited to the studio itself. Locations like Daylight Studio in  Manhattan’s Hudson Yards neighborhood. The brand new Hudson Yards is the largest private investment in real estate in U.S. history . Centrally located, with easy access to surrounding areas that can lend themselves to your storyline. Daylight Studios happens to be right in the heart of a glistening,  chic, urban area that is populated with restaurants, bars, art galleries, the famous Highline Park the first Neiman Marcus to open in New York, Madison Square Garden and so many more interesting locations. So if you’re looking to have outdoor locations in combination with a main sequence in your music video, perhaps a dance sequence for a pop singer or a live performance portion for a band, it could be a highly efficient way to plan the shoot to include your studio hours, then, once that’s wrapped head to nearby outdoor locations on foot; or, vice-versa, depending things like scheduling, weather and local events.

So many old school icons have shot in NYC - from Michael Jackson ( “Bad” 1987) to Public Enemy “(FIght the Power” 1989)Wu Tang Clan () and thousands more - and for good reason. There’s magic in the urban feel of the city, there’s energy, diversity, excitement, in short; there’s so much life to capture in the city. If you’re looking for a vibrant city setting for your video that is centrally located and happens to be around beautiful, iconic landmarks like the Flatiron Building, Times Square or Central Park, Manhattan might be your best choice. Studios in other areas, like Brooklyn or the Bronx might have some of the things you want, but when you choose a studio located in Manhattan, you get the ultimate convenience of the best connectivity to everything via the subway system, you get an abundance of diverse spaces and settings, and you get that urban, metropolitan feel that makes for epic, cinematic scenes.