Our Creative Spaces

In Master Photography Roundtable by Brent BerghermLeave a Comment

This topic has really been on my mind recently as I’m in the final stages of building my home office from scratch. I literally mean, there was nothing, but a garage shell. I put up three walls, a raised subfloor on the concrete floor, the ceiling and then ran all the electrical etc. It’s small, but it’s a beautiful space to create my courses, do my work from home for the university this quarter and probably next and of course, do some post production.

Foundational Items

And this got me thinking, what are some “must-haves” in a home office or studio. I often call it a studio, but I want people to know it’s not a studio where I’ll be setting up products or people to photograph. I’ll have a larger studio later once I get my 2,800 sf shop in order. But that will take a much greater level of planning and I needed to get this done quick so I could work from home for the university this quarter. We’re in the middle of third week already and hopefully I can start next week by not going into the office past Wednesday. Anyway, the foundations…

Connor, what first comes to mind as a foundational element for a creative space?

Jeff, how about you?

Jeff’s Answer.  Duramont Ergonomic Adjustable Office Chair ($330)

For me, it has to be quiet. I’m the type of person that needs separation from other things to get quality work done and to think clearly. This is out in our detached garage far from the house and the commotion that is four boys.

Quite doesn’t only mean audio level. It has to be minimal and plain for me as well. I have a very deep dark blue ceiling, neutral medium gray walls and I’ll have a lighter colored hardwood floor. I’m making custom stained plywood plank flooring. But one wall is a loud ORANGE color.

Other Must-Haves

Jeff, what else is a must-have for you in your creative space? (one or two other items)

Connor, how about you?

For me, I’m going to say the work surface is important. Your desk should allow you to get your work done efficiently and not get in the way. It should support you and your work. This is where custom builds come in to play.

At the school office I have the Ikea conference table as my desk. It’s beautiful. I love it. It holds everything and more and is almost to easy to get over crowded. But I also have a set of adjustable legs by uplift desk. I push a button and I can convert it to a standing desk. Another button and it’s a sitting desk. I love it.

At home, I don’t yet have the adjustable legs, but I do have a custom top. It’s not a big rectangle like my desk at work. But a custom made top that is somewhat irregular. The back right corner is the only right corner on this desk, it then has a curved section where I sit so it somewhat wraps around me, and then on the left where it meets the wall, it’s a slightly wider than a right angle from the wall. This unique shape is like the stage of all my creative work at home. I love it and it supports the notion of creativity and efficiency.

Listener Feedback

I asked the listeners to chime in via our facebook group. And I’m so glad I did. Let’s read a few and see what they had to say.

Music was a popular response. 

Nate Harris says Electronica

Jose Matutina says Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2

Cheri Hinchman Widzowski says “Tom Petty”

Kara Alyson McMahon Holdman simply says “Music!!”

Robbie Giorlando says some music or a podcast playing is good.

Music to Code By

Len Grinke and Chris Truhe suggest a good chair, though Chris says it has to be “cool as in brrrr.”

Paola Sparkles says she needs a giant screen, so she’s got the 27” iMac. What do you guys use for screens?

Steve Anderson says, “My work space has my early pictures in pride of place. It reminds me of why I take pictres and where I started. It reminds me of the passion and love of photography I had in the early times. The pictures in my “office” were all taken with film in the late 90s and I dont even have the negatives.”

Rijks Studio

Selena Swafford sys she likes having incense lit and usually some type of zen type music with no lyrics or nature sounds.

Jeremy Schwartz like to have a second monitor so he can have a video playing on one side while not hiding what he’s working on.

Manuel Lora agrees with me that Quiet is important, and he adds “darkness”. I should add, there’s no windows in my office. In one sense I do not like that, but in another, there’s nothing good to look at anyway so it’d be a wasted effort to install one.

Mark McEwen agrees with Jeremy that a second monitor is important.

I love what James Grieve says, he always tidies up his studio. YES. Clutter-free mind for editing. Very important to me too. He continues with good coffee and some relaxing music. My preference is a good mint tea 🙂

Roger Dallman likes a second screen so much that he will bring a spare with him when he’s on the road. That’s dedication!

Martin Zeman says regular breaks are important. Otherwise he doesn’t know when to stop!

Art Fager needs dedicated studio space (I agree!) Separation from distractions is key.

Chris Truhe also mentioned a window for fresh air and views. However, the latter causes lighting challenges so he’s looking for a monitor shield.

Chris Doelman says, “Coffee, definitely coffee.”


Brent: UpLift Desk Frame Only ($499)


Jeff: AFMA.  Doing a deep dive into this again.

Connor: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Create Photography Virtual Summit

February 19th through 21st

Erin Babnik will still be our Keynote Speaker. 

The event will still be a 3-Day Virtual Summit over Zoom.


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