Setting up a home photography studio is easy with a little bit of guidance.
Start with researching photography studios near you or look them up online to get an idea of how to arrange equipment. However, remember that you won’t have a professional studio. You will have slowly build it up by starting with essentials. Here are some helpful tips that will come in handy.
- Design Your “Set”
Start with finding a space in your home with the best natural lighting near the window. Alternatively, you can use a blank wall, the bathroom or kitchen counter, or a stool in the middle of a spare room.
The natural wall should be sufficient for backgrounds, but you can also bring some character using different fabrics. A recent trend is to use bedsheets, simply attach bedsheets to the wall with the help of gaffer tape, and create an aesthetic Instagram backdrop.
If you are doing product photography, make use of railroad boards traditionally used for paintings but make for a sturdy base to keep products and can be painted on to make the product pop.
Props add another layer of photos. You can use mirrors, potted plants, or any household items that complement the product.
- Size of Your Photography Studio
You don’t need a huge studio to produce professional standard photos. The size of your studio doesn’t determine the quality of your work. You can use a spare room or your tool shed and convert it into a home studio with a proper setup.
Usually, a space of 100 square feet is enough to fit the background against a wall and lights in front. If you plan to take group photos, you may require more space, whereas headshots and newborn/toddler photoshoots can be done within a small area.
However, stray light can be an issue for small spaces, so ideally, stick to window lighting for the best results.
- Make the Best of a Small Studio Space
Lighting and camera setups in small studios can get tricky. That is why sticking to a camera lens with a shorter focal length of about 80-100mm is best for larger portraits.
Furthermore, you will also need to set up the studio in an area with several power sockets. This is for the gears that will need to be plugged in during work, such as the lighting, laptop, and cooling fans for portraits.
- Basic Gear Setup for a Small Photography Studio
As a beginner, it is ideal to start small and not obsess over owning the latest gear. Here is a list of the essentials:
- Camera- This is the bread and butter of a photographer and you should research well before buying one. Invest in a DSLR camera for best quality images with their built-in sensors and interchangeable lens. Start with an entry-level model and then modify it as you gain experience.
- Tripods– A sturdy aluminum or carbon fiber tripod will help hold your heavy camera steady to take stable photos.
- Lightbox- The solution to getting perfect lighting in small spaces is to use a lightbox. It is essentially a box or tent where you place your subject and it is made of translucent material to diffuse light and create a dreamy, soft look for your portraits. You can make DIY on your own.
- Light modifiers– These include reflectors and umbrellas. These make a huge difference to the quality of your photos by filling shadows. Reflectors come in four colors which can be used alone or in combination to have a different effect on photos.
- Lenses– Lens can be changed for different effects. For instance, lenses with a large aperture are best for portrait shots as they help focus on the subject by changing the depth and blurring the background.
- Backdrops- You can use seamless papers for the background. They also come in various patterns and sizes but ensure that they don’t clash with your subject’s outfit. You can also buy collapsible backgrounds to save space or change backgrounds quickly.
- Laptop- You will be editing all your photos on your laptop and also use them to communicate with clients or businesses. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are great photo editing software choices.
- Light stands– There should be one for each light. Invest in sturdy stands, or you risk wobbly lights which can fall and break.
Some additional items can bring variety to your pictures such as furniture, fans for windy effects, and a ladder to change the point of view of the picture or to fix lights.
- Add Flair with Stop Motion Animation
With so many photos across social media, it can be difficult to make your work stand out. Stop-motion animation can instantly catch anyone’s attention when they are casually scrolling through the feed.
They are effortless to make and Insta algorithm-friendly to compete to give you an edge over Instagram influencers. This is because they are treated like videos that appear larger on the explore page and have greater user engagement than traditional single shots.
- Costs of Building a Photography Studio
Proper planning can save you considerable money when setting up your home studio. Don’t waste bucks on an expensive light that you will never use.
Good DSLR cameras cost around $450, and a 50mm f/1.8 lens cost around $125. Lights are usually cheap, and you can get simple ring lights for under $30. Other important gear such as the remote shutter, memory card, and tripod, can be managed for $30. Therefore, you can assume to roughly set aside $500-$600 for a functional home studio. With smart freelancing techniques, you can quickly recover the amount by the first month of your work.
You can buy a home studio kit at a reasonable price that comes with light stands, modifiers, backgrounds, and lights. However, the lamps usually aren’t bright enough, and the stands can be flimsy so that you can replace them with second-hand options. Look through retailers online to get a good bargain, or you can DIY many gears like modifiers or reflectors. There are plenty of good tutorials online.
- Starting a Home Photography Business
Once you have set up your studio, you are ready for business. Start with professional photographs of your friends for feedback. They are also more likely to be enthusiastic about your endeavors and more forgiving your mistakes.
As you gain experience and step up in professionalism and presentation, move on to more serious clients. You can also take pictures of products for local businesses and use the money to upgrade your studio and gear. Then slowly work your way up in the industry.
These simple yet cost-effective tips can help you deliver work of a professional standard. The idea is to be creative rather than be bounded by strict rules to achieve “perfect” photography standards.
Simply work with what you have and upgrade your studio as your work gets more attention and the business sees consistent profits. Be patient and keep clicking!
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