Tips to set up home photography studio


What if we told you that you don't have to shoot in a professional photography studio to get studio-quality images? It's possible to do it in the comfort of your home at a minimal cost. Not only does it save you money, but it also means you don't need to worry about time. You can work on it whenever and as long as you like and keep honing your skills. Before setting up a photo studio at home, many people mistakenly think it's expensive. Not everyone wants to bring strangers into their home, especially not in large numbers. However, not everyone is deterred by this; it is not as expensive as it may seem.

Setting up your studio for pictures might seem daunting at first glance. But it's easy to do with the essential tools at your hand.

In this article, our Portfoliobox team will give you interesting information as:

  1. Tips to set up a home photography studio
  2. Choose a location for the photography studio
  3. Make space for a photo shoot studio
  4. Prepare the equipment for the photoshoot in studio
  5. Background for the photoshoot in studio

Choose a location for the photography studio

Choose a location for the photography studio

Many photographers have thought of setting up a small photo shoot home studio at least once in their lives so that they don't have to pay rent on the premises all the time. And also to travel to the city's other end, making their work a little easier. 

If the flat is small, it's important to choose the right angle for your photoshoot in a studio. Follow the suggestions described below o set up your studio as good as possible:

  • For those who plan to photograph more than just portraits and Flat-Lay compositions (a popular genre on Instagram for capturing subjects spread chaotically on a surface).
  •  If you're planning to shoot full-length portraits, or group shots, use extra lighting and reflectors. You'll need a bigger room for a photo shoot studio. 
  • A corner of the room will suffice for a subject, macro shots, and baby pictures.

If space is minimal, it's worth considering a mobile photo booth assembled for each new work. But it is worth realizing that if the area is limited, the photographer will not be able to use zoom fully. For full-length shots, the ideal distance is 5-6 meters. If you can't achieve it, you are better off focusing on other genres.

It’s great if you have a separate unoccupied room where you can set up a photography studio. But at any open space, you can create a photo area that would work just as well, for example:

  • living room;
  • bedroom;
  • kitchen; 
  • balcony.

A second important factor when choosing a location for a studio for pictures is lighting conditions. The rule is simple: the more light, the better. We recommend working with natural light when possible. Firstly, it saves money on equipment, and secondly, it saves space, which is especially significant for small rooms. 

A window acts as a softbox, filling the room with soft light. It creates excellent conditions for taking pictures and getting more "lively" shots. But it's also critical to remember that light changes over the day and is highly dependent on the weather. Try to catch the 'golden hour' - the time after sunrise and before sunset.

Make space for a photo shoot studio

Make space for a photo shoot studio

Once you've decided on the best location for your home photography studio; you can begin to create it. As this is a working area, nothing must get in your way. You're also unlikely to be happy with the unexpected appearance of household items in your images. So make sure the room, or part of it, is free of unnecessary items.

Leave only what you need for the actual photoshoot in the studio. It may be a table (if you shoot a subject, food or macro photos), a chair or a sofa (for portraits, lifestyle or animal shots), or other items that fit in with the theme and subject of the shoot. Don't forget the props to create exciting and atmospheric shots, for example:

  • plants;
  • home decor and clothing;
  • accessories;
  • mirrors.

In addition to the size of the room, the height of the ceiling and its color are important for setting a studio. Most often, it is white - it reflects artificial and natural light into the lower part of the picture. As a result, there is too much light. To avoid this, you must carefully choose your light sources, controlling their interaction with the reflective ceiling.

If the ceiling is low, it can lead to a lack of space for illuminating the upper part of the photo where the model's head is located. It's worth considering how to compensate for it by using additional light sources. But if you're using high lamps, you need to remember: there should be at least one meter between the lamps and your subject.

Prepare the equipment for the photoshoot in studio

Prepare the equipment for the photoshoot in studio

If you are doing a photoshoot in a studio at night or want complete control over the lighting conditions (e.g., when shooting a subject), you will need extra light sources in addition to your camera and tripod. You can find many ready-made home studio kits on the Internet, but a flash and a reflector are enough to get you started. It's important to consider where to place the equipment beforehand, so you will have enough space to work comfortably in your photography studio. It should also be considered if you plan to shoot portraits, and even more if you plan to take group or family photos. The minimum set for a photo shoot studio includes:

  • Umbrellas. They are attached to the lamp and acts as a reflector. Usually white, silver or gold - their shade changes the effect of the photo.
  • Soft boxes. They are designed to diffuse light and create soft highlights and shadows.
  • Lamps. For a complete photo studio, there must be two. Constant or flicker lamps are placed on either side of the model or subjects.
  • Reflectors. In addition to an umbrella, you can buy several portable reflectors. They are convenient for portraits, held close to the face. If you have an assistant, you can trust the accessory or buy a special stand for attaching the reflector;
  • A synchronizer. You need it for the home studio setting to make the pulsed light work simultaneously with the camera shutter. There are wired, infrared, and radio synchronizers (the latter are cheaper). When choosing any type of synchronizer, you should check reviews to see if the model is compatible with a particular camera brand.
  • Tripods. The basic function of a tripod is quite simple: it holds the camera in the required position. It allows you to get a sharp image in conditions where it's almost impossible to take a picture without blurring due to camera shake.

Background for the photoshoot in a studio

Background for the photoshoot in a studio

Taking photographs "in the natural environment" is difficult. You have to remove unnecessary objects from the frame every time. And even if you manage to find a corner for a photography studio that suits all the parameters of your home (usually a large clean kitchen or a bright bedroom), ideas for photos are minimal. For this reason, photographers prefer to buy ready-made backdrops - 'backdrops' without joints or patterns. Here you can find some tips on deciding the most suitable variant:

  • Monochrome can be a plain white canvas that changes its hue with the help of helium light.
  • Neutral tones, small designs and colorful prints are popular. It's nice if it's possible to buy a few backgrounds and allocate a place to store them. 
  • Special stands and mounting devices that can be attached to a wall and hold up to three rolls of "backdrop" are commercially available. 
  • Backgrounds for pictures in the studio can be fabric and paper; if digital post-processing is planned, green and blue chroma key will do.
  • You can also choose paper or fabric backdrops. Paper one is best ordered on AliExpress. The wall mounts are also available there. But that's a solid option.

If you need to go on location with a studio, it is best to buy a special device. It's two uprights with a crossbar that you can clamp your background too.

Do you want something a little more unusual? Try making your backdrop for a photoshoot in the studio. It's a fascinating thing to do. And the result will always be unique. Again, the DIY videos on YouTube can help. This kind of background doesn't require much time or special artistic skills, or a lot of money. At the same time, it's a soft accent that complements the subject harmoniously. Be careful with fabric backdrops and not let the cloth texture show through in the shots. 

Why can Portfoliobox help you?

We have outlined the main steps that will allow you to set up a home photography studio. Decide what you want to shoot, find a suitable location, prepare it, decide whether you will use natural or artificial light, make a list of furniture, and props for pictures and create a photographic background in the studio. Then get to business. You will want to adapt or do something your way in the process. Do not be afraid to experiment. It's your studio. It's all about making it comfortable for you to work in. 

Remember that a home photo shoot studio is an investment in the development of your business, which allows you to create the most comfortable conditions for work and gives full creative freedom. It takes planning, time, and effort, but in return, you'll get a considerable boost for growth and can hone your skills, learn new genres and take your work to the next level. Do not forget to create a proper portfolio to advertise your services with the help of Portfoliobox service.


How big of a studio do you need for pictures?

As a rule, you need about 100 m2 to open a photo studio. It should also have high ceilings of at least 3 meters. Usually, business people try to find an area with 5-metre ceilings. It is worth noting that suitable premises are not easy to find. But for the first time, you can try a room in a house of about 35-40 m2.

How much money should I spend on setting up a home photo studio?

If you spend an evening on profile sites and calculate in detail all the costs before you make a photo studio at home, you can get away with $400-$500. 

Can I set up a photography studio in an apartment building?

You are entitled to use the flat as a photo studio only if it does not violate the neighbours' rights. Any living space intended for citizens can be a photographic studio, provided it is adequately equipped. However, it is advisable to check the laws in your area.

Do I need to hire staff for my photo shoot studio?

If you have decided to open a standard studio for pictures that provides photo services to the public, then you need a team. These are a photographer, a make-up artist, a retoucher (if the photographer does not do retouching), and an administrator. Only the receptionist can work full-time, and the rest of the staff can work part-time.

How do I promote my photography studio services?

Studios are promoted mainly through the internet. It is vital to have a competent portfolio that will attract clients. Beginning people in business place particular emphasis on social networks. Instagram gives the greatest return on investment if the account is well managed. So this social network is the most suitable for promotion. 

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