Having your own dedicated studio is an essential aspect of running a professional photography business. While some opt for an external studio, provided you have ample space and privacy, you can also set up your own studio at home. Let’s take a look at some of the steps involved with a home studio.
Find a Suitable Room
This is the first and most important step. Fundamentally, if you don’t have a large enough room, or it lacks privacy, then your best bet is to consider an external studio. The measure of this should really be whether you have space to work different angles and also zoom with a wide angle lens where suitable for things like full body shots. Overall, for a broad range of photography sessions, the bigger the better.
Suppose however that you do have sufficient space. First you want to make sure that the walls are white and clean. Next, while it’s not an absolute necessity, it’s certainly preferential to work with white, polished concrete flooring. Alternatively, you may also arrange overlaid flooring to create a specific ‘platform’ where your subjects will be standing.
In any case, your room needs to afford privacy to your clients. Therefore, it should be somewhat separated from family members who use your home, and reminiscent of a private place, not a personal one. Not to mention, you don’t want clutter causing a hazard as far as the safe movement of people. If possible, a space that may be closed off from the rest of the house is perfect.
This is a delicate area for home photography studios. On the one hand, having natural lighting can soften up and even the appearance of photos. However, if it is not controlled carefully, which is not an easy task, then it may interfere with the work and cast shadows or glare.
If you can, install blackout drapes or roller shutters so that you may control the presence of natural lighting. Thus offering you flexibility. Irrespective, you will still need to purchase artificial lighting, which includes strobes, speedlights and lamps. Using umbrellas is one of the most cost effective ways to distribute light, albeit it lacks control. Conversely, you may opt for a diffuser to help direct light.
Remember to keep in mind the height of the ceiling in the room, as this will dictate the way light reflects. Low ceilings will act as a reflector and bounce more light compared with higher ceilings. You may find that you need less umbrella lights if you have low ceilings, so measure your ambient light levels and experiment incrementally rather than going out and purchasing all the gear you think you’ll need in one go.
Keep Props and Tools on Hand
It goes without saying that platforms or stages are beneficial to help work angles. Therefore, consider incorporating solid, albeit portable constructions that may serve this purpose. Adjustable tripods will also help on this point.
Elsewhere, you’ll want to install trusses (and/or a curtain rod) from the walls and ceilings that can help hold up lights and also the backdrop you use. Opting for several backdrops is a preferred choice, with some remaining neutral and others providing more impact. Where you are limited with space to store multiple backdrops, you can use gelled lights to modify the colour of a neutral backdrop.
Finally, keep some other handy items around like remote shutter buttons, spare equipment and gear, storage racks, comfortable furniture, surge protected power boards, ladders and fans. The last of these is particularly versatile for helping disperse hot air from all the equipment and lighting, but may also be used as a prop to infuse a wind effect in your work. Don’t be afraid to showcase some of your photography work either, it may help your client feel a little more at ease.