In today’s Quick Tip post, I’ll be answering a question that was sent in by Stacy and she said, “Scott, I have a question. Do you have a suggestion on the color paint for the walls in my home studio? My husband is almost done with the dry wall and is sanding and wants to paint. I have read that matte gray or matte white is good. I’m a little confused.”
Well, either one of those colors is good, but let’s talk about that for a second. The white, as we all know—or if you don’t know, you’re gonna know now—is a reflective surface. It’s a softer reflective surface and what I mean by that is you—if you had a silver wall or foil on your wall, it’s going to reflect the light a lot more; it’s going to be a lot harsher.
White is going to bounce it and give it a softer light. So, me, personally, I like white walls—a matte white and not a glossy finish, because then it’s will be kind of shinny—you know, if you’re shooting up against the wall, which I don’t suggest you do, but if you were, you would get a glare off of it.
But, you don’t really want a glossy wall anyway. A matte finish is usually your best bet. Now, the reason why people like gray is ’because that way, it’s a little neutral. So, this way you will not get any type of spill or any type casting or color off the surface. It will absorb light into the wall. You can do that and that’s fine. You will still get some reflective surface from this color. I personally like the white to be able to kick some of that light back, because I want it to be used like a giant soft box in our studio. And that’s why I like large soft boxes.
Now, the other thing to consider is how big is your studio. If your studio is narrow like 8 feet wide or 10 feet wide, then you’re definitely going to be able to use them as bounce surfaces. If they’re larger than 15 feet or 20 feet wide and the ceilings are really, really tall, well, you’re probably not going to get a lot of kick from that, from that light source or from that reflective surface. So, just keep that in mind. The other thing that you want to consider is if you paint your walls, let’s just say you’re decide to paint them green, because you wanted your studio to have light green look or something. Well, then what could happen is you could start to get a cast on your subject’s white dress or their skin is gonna start looking a little green.
So, you definitely don’t want to do that. I would suggest going with something neutral. I have shot in rooms that have beige walls—like a light beige, really light—and that actually warms up the skin some. So, that can work too. But if you really want to play it safe, I would go with either the matte gray or the matte white.
So, that is my recommendation. That is my Quick Tip for what color your studio walls should be. I hope it’s helped. And if you have any questions, by all means leave your comments down below. If you have any questions that you would like to be answered on another Quick Tip Post…you can leave them below as well.