If you are a photographer, having a studio in your home can be very beneficial. You may be shocked to find that it is not nearly as complicated to set up as you might have thought, so let’s look further into how to make a photography studio at home.
Have a Designated Room
Although it doesn’t have to be a huge room, it should have enough space for all your equipment, props, etc. Also, remember that you will need the space to move around without distorting the image. A room that is 20 feet deep is usually considered ideal for taking full body shots, although you can make it work in a room that is 15 feet deep. Never use a lens wider than 50mm when shooting in your home studio to avoid lens distortion.
When you are between shoots, you can close the door and not have to worry about anyone accidentally breaking anything. Not only will this make your clients see you as a true professional, but they won’t feel awkward or uncomfortable like they would if they were right in the middle of your family’s living space.
To set the best atmosphere for photo sessions, I like to have a soundproof treated room. Even if you can’t remodel, there are techniques like using acoustic curtains and panels that you can hang on the walls to create a quiet setting for you and your subject.
Whether you use a door, privacy screen, or curtain, make certain that the room can easily be closed off to the rest of the house when shooting. This not only keeps your focus on the photography job at hand, but it will also prevent your client from becoming distracted by something else going on in your home.
Lighting, Windows, and Ceiling Height
Your ceiling will act as a large reflector and can add light to your photos that you hadn’t even considered, especially if it’s a low ceiling. Before you settle on a room, perform several test shots to assess any potential lighting effects. This gives you the opportunity to determine if there is anything you can do to prevent light from bouncing off the ceiling.
Low ceilings can also inhibit your ability to use a hair light. While you may be able to use it with a person sitting down, it will not work for anyone other than children who are standing. The general rule is that you should have 3 feet between the hair light and your subject for the best results.
As you become more experiences, you may decide to purchase lighting equipment for your studio. Most home studios are large enough to include a good overhead light, as well as 2 fill lights.
Finally, consider the placement of any windows in the room. While sunlight can be beneficial in certain locations because it can provide even, soft lighting (if the window is north or south facing) and eliminate the need for a flash, it is also harder to control and can potentially limit how you use the room. Keep in mind that the extra light and noise can be shut out with good acoustic drapes.
There are several backdrop options, but make sure you have adequate storage space. They include:
- Seamless background paper is an option that is available in huge array of colors (from solid to graphics) and quickly and easily creates an even, smooth background for photos. To use seamless background paper, you will need to purchase a wall mount to hang the paper from. When you are finished, you use the chain to roll it back up.
- Curtains, blankets, and throws make a great backdrop. You have the option of purchasing a backdrop stand to hang them from, pinning or taping them to the wall, throwing them over a door or the back of a chair (if you have a child sitting down), clamping them to a bookshelf, or even stringing them up in the doorway.
- You also have the option of purchasing a white background and using gelled lights to alter the color or using Photoshop to edit backgrounds and colors into place.
- When photographing babies, place a pillow, cushion, or beanbag on the ground and cover it with a textured throw. A throw is also perfect for baby that is more difficult to keep still. Simply have a parent sit in a chair and cover him or her with the throw (or a large blanket). Sit the baby where it is propped on the top of the crook of the person’s elbow. Wrap the blanket around the baby in a manner similar to swaddling. The adult can hold the baby’s legs and arms still without it being seen in the picture.
If you have room for a few props, they can bring a whole new element to a simple photo. You can find some creative and amazing props at thrift or antique stores, garage sales, and even in your own closet.
If you have worn carpet or scratched floors in your studio, don’t despair. You have inexpensive options that will leave you with the ability to change out your flooring on a whim.
For example, if you prefer gorgeous wood floors, head to your local flooring warehouse and look for “wood” vinyl options that have been cut down from their full size. Choose several sheets in different shades. Look for sheets that are around 6 feet wide.
If your floor is carpeted, purchase a few pieces of plywood to put down before you put the vinyl down. This will prevent a “sunken in” look. Now, you can easily change out the flooring without spending a ton of money.
I hope you found this mini guide helpful, and that you feel ready to tackle your own home photography studio. Not only will you get great photos out of your project, but it will put a professional feel to your entire operation that your customers will appreciate. If you’re a visual learner, the video below is very helpful.