The Inspiration into reality

January 1st

The Foodie Shots Studio Diary is a little space for me to journal the beginnings and the building of our very own photography studio.

It came to a point middle of last year (2019) when we realised the number of Foodie Shots’ clients were increasing and the need for a designated space for me to set up and have lighting ready to go was needed.

The business also started to impact the family when you live and breathe it. It puts a lot of pressure on the others in the house to be constatnly surrounded by ‘work’. We were finding we weren’t escaping work as it was always in the house. So hopefully the Studio will create a bit of a separation and balance in our lives. Well that is the plan anyway.

So it all started with inspiration from good old pinterest. I will start the actual blogging from January 1st just for the sake of creating this blog as I really should have started it a long time ago.  Anyway I hope you come along for the ride and share it with others.

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – Scribbles to Plans

January 15th

Now I can draw pretty good. However I am no draftsperson and although maths was a strong suit that was a long time ago. 

Our good friend Cameron helped out with his talent and drew up the plans from my rough sketches and made everything official. It is a little different from the inspo because we need the extra height for the lights and if we were to get custom doors to meet the height of the front facing it would be so much more expensive. 

There is a fine line between allowing as much light into the space as possible and still having enough solid wall space for backgrounds. 

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – The Chook Shed is Going

March 3rd

 This is the last time we will see our chook shed. Yep Tom from Thomas Higgins Builder and Matthew are here starting to take it down ready to lay the slab.

Our 5 girls have been used to the taj mahal of  space 3x3x3m. Yes we let them out as well often to scratch around. 

So it is a big deal how to re house them. Sonny and I have had many a conversation about this. Do we keep them all. But how can we split them up. Each of them have their own personalities and they are so funny to watch their antics when they are out. 

So we ventured to Bunnings and bought a proper chook coup…ummm…let’s just say, I was not impressed at the size of this thing when it was built. Thankyou Andrew (our son). I would be lucky if two of them would be happy in it!

Luckily the boys dug out some holes in prep to repurpose some of the demolished chook shed and make a bit smaller (about a 1/3).

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – The Chook Shed is GONE

March 5th

Major milestone in the Foodie Shots Studio Diary.

 I knew we had a decent size block just didnt realise how much space we really had out in one of our backyard rooms till it was gone. I know the studio is going to be even bigger (Great) but for now we have to enjoy this space.

The boys dug in the foundation poles for the new chook shed but we need to now reconstruct a version.

Thankfully our beautiful neighbours are handy and will help out as we just do not have the tools and manpower to do it by ourselves. I mean I would love to do it if I had a bit more time. It might take me a tad longer. Anyway.

I also want to get the rear garden looking nice too as we wait for the studio to be built. So that when our clients come to our place they will be walking through a beautiful relaxing garden as well.

For now I have let our chooks out to roam and enjoy their freedom as I feel so bad keeping them for any extended time in the ‘temp’ chicken coup.

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – Girls get a new home

March 9th

We are so lucky to have fantastic neighbours. On the Saturday we had both neighbours come over and help rebuild our chooks new home.

We had an idea of what it would look like and basically it was the same structure just narrower and slightly shorter. We realised the tin will keep the wind out and also the panels may not last as long if they were in the soil even though they are hard wood.

We even managed to get Andrew involved. The girls (chooks) thought it was cool to have the whole yard all day. Just roaming around, minds you the dogs were not impressed as they were kept inside or on the other side of the fence. Also we were very lucky to have no rain until that night as it was meant to happen during the day. All in all it was a successful day.  

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – What a mess! Glorious exciting mess!

March 16th-18th

It was an early start this week. The boys all rocked up to clear the area and prep is for the cement pouring. 

No more being precious about our lawn for a while. Small sacrifice I guess lol. Sonny may not see it that way. Piles of crusher dust and piles of red clay as they dug out and level the area. 

I was amazed to watch it all happen. The engineer has made this thing cyclone proof I recon as it has nine footings. These are the deep holes at each junction and they are taller than me. Okay i maybe only 1.5m But seriously 1.8m deep and that is below the slab!

Such a demolition site is no place for our two dogs. They watched from the loungeroom windows and so wanted to go out and play with all the visitors. We did let them out a couple of times supervised for a meet and greet. The last thing we need is one of them to fall into those holes. 


Tuesday was all about cementing the footings and boxing the area ready for the slab tomorrow. I hadnt realised how high the slab was going to be. The engineer was worried about the established tree roots and the water run off. Personally I think it has been over engineered but hey better than the alternative. This studio is going to be permanent structure now and certainly not a shed as one of the builders mistakenly called it. How dare they call it a shed. What shed has this amount of concrete! 🙂


And thats a slab. Wednesday was a good day. Beautiful hot sun to help dry the slab quickly. There is certainly an art to creating a beautiful smooth surface.

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – It is starting to take shape!

April 20th – 23rd

Wow what a difference three days makes. The boys have been here each morning at seven, tools ready and it has been great to see the progression. Tom from Thomas Higgins Builders has been so calm and talks through each stage. I have never seen a build before so I have really enjoyed seeing how things are done. Don’t worry I don’t ask too many questions. 

What I did learn and I forgot to take photos of this part, but a vac truck is something that comes along and flushes out trenches so rather than digging them, a high pressure hose cuts through the ground and then a vac pipe sucks all the dirt away. Dont be fooled…this is not a clean job. There was dirt splattered everywhere. Even poor Tom who was up on the roof was not safe lol. For those who are looking at building it is handy to have the storm water plans so they dont have to guess and dig more than necessary. In the end it was all good, new storm water bubbler and trench dug for the electrical. 

Ooops…too late!

Oh on that note. Sonny has not come into the conversations often and it is not for the lack of me involving him. Take note, if you are building and want to consider adding an internet line to the outside building…make sure you tell the builder before the trenches are dug. Apparently the newly requested internet line can not run in the same conduit as the electrical. I don’t know why but hey. So we may have caused a stir when we spoke with Tom who said yeah sure and then had this conversation with the electrician. Tim from Excell Power is a fantastic electrician and has done lots of work on our place in the past but I dont think he appreciated the addition lol. Anyway, we came up with a solution and Sonny will have to like it lol. That might teach him to be a bit more involved ;).  

So Graham from Fluid came out today to check on the framing and give it the all clear. Phew, because it would really be poor form if they said the slab is in the wrong spot lol. Tom has created such a great team throughout this build. I feel really comfortable and many of the trades I have dealt with before so there is a pretty cool atmosphere. They know Sonny’s and my type of banter and it provides a bit of a show for them. Tom today is having an admin day so we have 3 days of being able to sleep in! Mind you I woke at 3.30am this morning. Go figure…the day I can sleep in and yeah up before dawn. On a good note…I managed to get our spa fixed so we can enjoy some relaxation over the next few nights. I am not minding this ISO businesses. Forced to relax rather than go out…I hope you are all well and thankyou for following the Foodie Shots Studio Diary. Make sure you also follow the facebook page as I often do lives showing some of my thinking. The fun part is coming up…designing the inside. 

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – Now the Designing inside begins!

April 26th

I have been building my mood board in Pinterest for a while now. Here it is if you want to see other thoughts. Below are a couple of the main inspo images though I wanted to share so you can see how awesome it is going to be. 

Everything that I do in this studio will need to have multiple purposes. The dark and moody corner will serve quite a few. I am thinking of making it chalkboard paint so i can use it for wet chalk designs like menus and illustrations as a backdrop for food menus etc. As well as Sonny being able to use it for sultry model sessions with our beautiful chaise I picked up for a steal at $200. I also have asked Tom to put in a few more noggings (I think that is how you spell it) in the roof around this area, so we can hang temp chandelliers, industrial lights or sheer curtains and ropes etc.

On the solid right wall this will be all bright white but I have always wanted a faux brick wall and a render concrete wall as backdrops. We have to wait to see what the painter comes back with to see if it is a thing we can do now or is it something totally out of our budget. Fingers crossed.

Modular pieces with multiples purposes

I have narrowed down a few of the pieces that will live in the studio. Again I need to ensure they serve a food photographers purpose and a fashion/creative model studio. This means I need to be able to move everything to the side to enable Sonny to shoot wide.I simply need a working station, a tethering computer trolley and storage drawers for my props. I think a trip to Ikea will be in order soon. The drawers are a good height and if I simply have a table top that can double as a backdrop  resting on the drawers then I can move those drawers to create my food/product shooting table.

Sonny and i were having a discussion in our kitchen as I was setting up for an online cooking class and he mentioned he would be happy when I could do these in the studio. I thought for a sec and said how can I do that I need to be able to cook…and he said why cant I get a little portable stove! Brilliant idea. So off I went and searched up tiny kitchens and there are so many cool ideas on Pinterest. Some are just conceptual though which is annoying as I wanted to simply buy one already done. I think the above examples though would also work. A portable induction cooktop and then a kitchen trolley so we can use the underneath for ingredients or camera gear when shooting. I would have it on wheels though so again it can move out of the way when needed.

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – The Studio has walls and doors!

April 27th

A lot happened today. The Foodie Shots Studio was insulated, plastered and received its doors and windows. A little bit of cladding went on the back while they were waiting for the windows and doors to arrive. Now, I asked the question should I get the builders to sign somewhere. Which then led us to the conversation people have been known to line the walls with sentimental things. Tom was thinking of a newspaper with todays date on it. Chris mentioned he once saw a whole wall lined with prayers, and another time a family member’s ashes were put in the slab. I wondered if I should put in the walls some of my favourite recipes to become part of the essence of the studio? Hmm I have tonight to think about it as the cladding goes on tomorrow. What would you put in the walls? 

Matt thought it was a good time at the end of the day to find a little quiet time in the rubbish trailer. I would have thought the cool grass would have been better but hey he is a builder..I guess left over gyprock is more comfortable!

Foodie Shots Studio Diary – It is all in the details

May 1st – May 5th

Now lots happened over these few days and there is more info on our Facebook page with lives etc. Personally I havent figured out how to embed them into this blog yet so for now…head over there lol. We got a quote for someone to paint both the inside and out but frankly I had not budgeted for that amount. I was shocked but hey it isnt my industry so I am not questioning the amount just the ability to afford it lol.

Plan B – we paint inside ourselves and maybe still get someone to paint the outside. I was speaking with Tom our builder from Thomas Higgins Builders and he said he would happily apply some plaster to create my textured wall. YES! That was all I wanted. Nothing special just slap on some plaster and smoosh it around to create the scrapping skipping effect. I was so happy with the effect. Now I knew I could paint everything else myself.

Outside of Foodie Shots Studio waiting for its paint

Off to Bunnings we went. An hour later and we had our primer, our white wash and wear, our stone effect, skirting board satin finish and we already had ceiling paint. Kitted out with drop sheets and rollers and masking tape we were ready. When I saw we I should say ME. Sonny quickly mentioned he was still on his epic task of sorting photos. Thankfully there are no photos of me painting cause I swear I would be a sight – old daggy clothes, messy bun hair and paint splatter everywhere.

Did you know there are four coats on the Foodie Shots Studio ceiling?

Yep 4! Primer/sealer a coat of ceiling paint so that we didnt use too much of the wash and wear and then had to be two coats of the wash and wear as I could still see blotches after the first coat. The ceiling was the worse part of all the painting. I’m a short arse and seriously it was hard on the neck and wrists. That first day of priming every surface was a killer. Thankfully we have had our spa fixed and it was certainly a god send that night.

The next day I did two coats on the ceiling and the first coat of the white wash and wear. Unfortunately the chalk paint was out of stock so I will go back this week to get that. (have a look at the previous entries to see wheere I am doing the chalk painting and why) But I still managed to get a coat on the skirting boards and window sills. My aim was to have it done by Tuesday when we expected the flooring to go in. Sonny kept saying I didnt need to get it all done. But I knew it was much easier to get it done before the flooring went in especially the skirting boards. I am paying out Sonny for not helping with painting but kudos to him he made an amazing pulled pork ragu on Sunday night with fresh pasta. So good. And he keept me hydrated. SO he helped in his own way.

On the third day I did the final coat on the ceiling as I said I saw that it was blotchy. Another coat of wash and wear white and the skirting boards got their final coat as well. Sonny came out and offered to do the fun part which was apply the stone effect paint to the textured wall. This meant he needed to apply in a haphazard way to create a stone/ cement sort of look which enhanced the texture underneath. I think it turned out greeat and with his help we were finished by 3pm that afternoon. The earliest yet. I will wait to see if I think some areeas of the stone wall should be painted with some white. I am wondering if there is too much grey coming through? What do you think?

Stone effect added to texture wall in Foodie Shots Studio 2
Stone effect added to texture wall in Foodie Shots Studio

Flooring goes in and completes the effect in the Foodie Shots Studio.

Wow what a difference the flooring makes. I thought when we added the white paint it made a dramatic difference to the lighting in there. The flooring just took it to another level. Beautiful natural looking light panelling. Solomons Flooring Toowoomba had it done in about 5 hours. It also took out some of the echo that was present in there. I am hoping once we add in the sheer curtains and some furniture that echo will totally go. Bonus there is a box of the flooring left over so I can make a backboard out of it!

Foodie Shots Flooring going in by Solomons Flooring
foodie shots studio floor complete

Chalk Wall is in!

May 9th

This was the final part of the inside. The chalk feature wall. This wall has many purposes. A: it is matte so it wont reflect B: the beading creates a elegant feel and can support moody sultry model scenes C: it is a perfect medium to create menu backgrounds for food photography and bar scenes. I had plenty left over and didnt want to waste it so what else was I meant to do…? Make a backdrop obviously lol. I had a piece laying around which I had not used so thought time to make it useable. I am not sure yet if I will add some flecks of colour to it…will sit with it for a bit I think. 

chalk board and backdrop painted
Studio chaise is the first piece to go in

How to paint a studio…not do it yourself!

May 9th-14th

So we got the quote back for just the outside of the studio being painted and I still couldn’t justify it. I figured afterall we just did the inside right? In all honesty if you ever build a studio yourself…budget for the painter, and allow a good $5k for it. The time is the thing you are paying for – and of course their experience. However when you are having to penny pinch and have to do it yourself just makesure you prep properly and get good paint. We knew this much.

So on Friday Sonny started prepping the outside. His poor hands were so sore from chaulking the gaps we ended up buying a power chaulker. I know it sounds funny but seriously it was a fantastic purchase. So much quicker and cleaner as well as saving his hands. Then it was a matter of cleaning up the excess and sanding the entire outside. This is where an orbital sander comes in handy. These things are awesome! Yes I am a bit of a power tool junkie. I may or may not have received a drop saw for mother’s day. Once the studio is finished I may have time to make some outside chairs for around the fire. 

The prep took so much longer than expected. But hey we learnt a few lessons and tips along the way. We still have the front to do and one more blue coat so we are nearly there…nearly. I can honestly say I am glad I am not a painter.


Side of studio painted ready for the aircon
rear of studio painted
Sonny painting the studio