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Reader Question: Vic Wants To Know What Your Workspace Looks Like?

October 9th, 2014

workspaceVic, a, PFRE reader, asked me the following question:

I am in the process of remodeling my production studio and I was wondering if anyone has shared photos of their production area so I can see some different ideas?  I would love to see a behind the scenes glimpse into the production area of some successful real estate photographers.  It would be interesting to see what keeps them motivated and inspired in their workspace during post production.

At first I was a little sassy and told Vic:

No, no one has ever talked about where they work. They talk about how much RAM they have, what post software they use, what kind of desktop or laptop computer they have. But never what their desk or chair looks like or the room their desk is in.

But then Vic came back a pointed out an article at forbes.com about The Dangers Of A Messy Desk and I understood what he was talking about. Yes, how organized you keep your desk and workspace can be a big deal. And it can determine how effective you are. Also, what it looks like has to do with one’s personality. The photo above is my workspace. I could have done a wider shot, but that would have shown a little more mess. Besides, UPS just delivered my iPhone 6 Plus about 20 min before this shot and I was fixated on playing with the new camera and this is a wide as it goes.

So show Vic your workspace and give him your studio design ideas so he can come up with a great design. Things I would do different with my workspace if I had a chance is have a standup desk and have way more closet space than I do to get as much as possible out of sight.

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20 Responses to “Reader Question: Vic Wants To Know What Your Workspace Looks Like?”

  • I am with Vic on this one. I am actually in the process of remodeling mine too. To Larry’s point, gear is important and it seems that is all we talk about but I think our work space can be equally important.

    Larry in your photo I don’t see your backup drives?? If you want to talk gear – I am very interested in that. I am tapped out and looking for a better solution. Thinking about a Lacie 25GB Thunderbolt drive. It will make my workspace more efficient by removing all the clutter of drives I have!

    Bruce

  • Just moved my computer and work station thus afternoon. Also, IKEA – St. Louis should be opening soon. I’ll be there looking for a new desk.

    Also, anyone have a recommendation for a good chair with lumbar support. Love to hear suggestions.

  • @Bruce – There are two Lacie thunderbolt 500GB SSD primary backup drives. One is the little orange speck behind the iMac and the other you can’t see is behind the other monitor. Then there are 3 – 2Tb Lacie secondary backup drives on the open shelf immediately next to the iMac.

  • Jason,
    a few years ago I purchased a mesh office chair (about $275)on sale from Office Depot. Since I spend a lot of time editing, and have back issues, I too needed a comfortable chair with lumbar support.

    But, I just tried a Herman Miller chair ( http://store.hermanmiller.com/Products/Aeron-Chair )
    with Lumbar support and it was extremely comfortable. The price was about the same as a new BMW (About $700) but if you edit for long sessions, it will be the best money you can invest.
    Also, COSTCO is having a sale on a mesh office chair. very comfortable and on sale for $79 (from $100).
    But due yourself a favor and find a store that carries the Herman Miller chairs (they can range up to a couple of grand) and try one. then just shoot a few properties to pay for it. it’s an expense that you can write off and it will be a blessing.

  • I also second a Herman Miller Chair. It’s the best money well spent.

  • First heard about Herman Miller here: http://froknowsphoto.com/herman-miller-embody/

  • My office, I’d be embarrassed to show it 🙂 My chair, an over turned Home Depot bucket sometimes, I do most of my editing, the way Matthew Brady did, 150 years ago….. in the field, and in confined spaces with little equipment…. but good equipment and software. My greatest limitation is Speed…… so time is a big game player in editing, creating Slideshows…. etc…. I work with what I have, and it works for me. My clients don’t know what sort of space I do my post processing in…. they’re concerned about the “final result”, of which they’ve been ecstatic 🙂 Albeit, it would be nice to have a dedicated space, and more monitors….. Messy desk is good. “The old adage, if a filled desk represents a filled mind, what does an empty desk represent…….” 😉

  • https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/69377546/IMG_0967.jpg

    I custom built my desk out of a Harbour Freight tool cart. You can see that the keyboards are tilted towards me, so that when sitting in the office chair, my wrists flow right to the Wacoms and the keyboards, eliminating carpal tunnel problems, and numb fingers from resting forearms on the corner of a desk. That configuration also raises the monitors to head height, so that I don’t have to look down or up for long periods of time, which will cause damage and deterioration to your vertebrae disks over time. I both a Windows machine, and a Mac side by side, but I generally use the Mac for editing, and the Windows machine for office related tasks like bookkeeping and invoicing, or web site updating. That keeps the editing PC free of unneeded software that might bog it down.

    Finally, there is a 32″ flat screen tv with cable, and a beer fridge… because let’s face it, editing can be tedious. For every hour I shoot, there is possibly an hour of editing, sometimes less or more, but there’s nothing like Breaking Bad or the Soprannos to help keep my eyelids open, especially if I choose wine as the editing drink of choice, since a fair amount of my editing gets done in the early evening. I don’t recommend cable News though, unless you’re fixated on becoming perpetually angry for what’s left of the rest of your miserable life. 🙂

  • Eric – Thanks. Being 6’6″ really puts a strain on my back sometimes – especially in those Crouching Tiger – Hidden Dragon moves I sometimes need to make to get a shot.

  • @Timmy – put your photo in the public folder of your dropbox otherwise people can’t see it.

  • Here is a pic of my office/guest room. My chair is from a restaurant that was throwing out some chairs…we grabbed a few for the house. My desk is from ikea ($25) and the book shelves are from pottery barn.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/dhgne0u6fcgyosp/office%20photo.JPG?dl=0

  • Hi Larry,
    I do not mind showing my office of 12ftx10ft.
    Picture taken with the Canon 10-22mm lens.
    Under the desk is the computer (I5) with 2 drives, one an SSD and on top 2 outside drives 500GB as storage.
    http://www.myindoworld.com/wp-content/uploads/Office-1200×800-96.jpg

    Ronny

  • Here is my basic setup.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/zaeeklcx9fyokxl/My-Office_0001.jpg?dl=0

    Dual monitors is one of the keys to my workflow. I am still trying to find a good solution to use my Android tablet as a second monitor via USB on my Dell 17″ Win 8.1 laptop when editing in the field.

    I used the HM Aeron chair for years in my corporate job and loved it. It is on my wish list to acquire a new one in the future.

  • This is my office looking tidier than it normally is (I’m a total slob). The laptop and monitor on the left are for photo editing (and general computing) and the three monitors on the left are for video editing.

    http://tinyurl.com/npllch3

  • heh heh… now Larry…. what you really should have done is forced this into a real estate editing room contest, so that we lit these offices properly, and corrected our parallels. We are a funny funny bunch. Like the plumber who’s own faucet drips perpetually. I give us an F for effort, well… except for that show-off Malia. 🙂

  • I like to keep a neat and tidy workspace using 2 monitors mainly for video editing so I can open out the pallets. Also pretty lucky to have an outlook to a leafy environment, helps me get into the creative zone http://goo.gl/xKI90G Furthermore I’d like to get one these so I can stand at my workspace http://au.varidesk.com/varidesk-pro Think this could have some real health benefits long term.

  • Sadly, my office often feels like a hard drive retail store. In the shelving on the left I have 48TB on the lower level of Drobos; 60TB on the upper level… plus another 20 on my desktop and another 16 in my basement… plus 8 bare 2TB drives sitting on a cabinet out of the photo! So, yes I have backup and yes, I do a LOT of video. Best investment for sure was a good chair (Herman Miller Embody) for sitting and a super fast computer so I don’t have to sit for too long! It ain’t beautiful, but it works!

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/mxtecu87tgqvc4o/MyOffice.jpg?dl=0

  • @Fred – Wow, look at all that Drobo storage! For a guy that shoot the amount of video you do, that’s not surprising.

  • @Fred – That’s an impressive set up, and forgive me for getting off topic a bit here but I have to ask, do you back up your work off site? Work not backed up offsite is not really backed up at all when you think about it. There are three common things that can compromise our data storage; Computer crash, Fire and Theft. You’re really only covering the Computer crash part when your back up is in the same location as the source. Just curious to hear if you use a cloud back up as a 3rd measure of security? I used to store one hard drive at my house and another duplicate at my brothers house, but now there’s just too much so I have a 20TB drobo on location and I back it all up to a cloud. Took forever initially, but well worth the $10/month.

  • Matt: Yes, I have a local backup and cloud storage of my main computers (have had way too many hard drive failures to not do that, unfortunately – live and learn). I don’t have backups of client files…. it’s just storage. I have backups of the final output on two different cloud sites in case I need them for some reason, but no backups of the original files. It’s just too much, and generally I don’t need them for any reason.

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