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5 Tips for Setting Up a Home Photo Studio

You’ve been scrolling through your Instagram feed and imagining what life would be like if you were a photographer. You’d never lack images to post, right? You want to move from ‘I just needed something to post’ images onto professional studio quality so you’ve probably thought about setting up your own home studio but don’t know where to start. It’s easier than you thought and I’m offering a few tips on how to get started setting up your home studio today.

Choose a Dedicated Space

The best home studio is a dedicated space that has room for all your gear, props, etc. If you’re like me, you don’t live alone and you don’t want your family and friends handling your professional equipment and you don’t want to have to setup and take down every time you need to shoot.

Make Room

Most importantly, you want a space where you can control the lighting and have enough room in between the camera and the subject/yourself. You’ll need to be able to zoom in on your subject/yourself without risking distortion of your image. Ideally you’ll want a good 20 feet in depth but 15 feet will work.

Consider Your Surroundings

Your ceiling acts as a giant reflector. If you have a low ceiling, light will bounce off it. Do some test shots to see what effects you’ll get in the space you’ve chosen and make adjustments accordingly. For example, the lack of height in my space means I’m not able to add a kick light or hair highlight which is used to separate a subject from the background. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 3 feet between your subject and the hair highlight. If you have that room, great! If not, it’s not the end of the world.

Some Basic Equipment Will Take You A Long Way

Seamless Backdrop Paper

I wouldn’t choose anything else. They provide a clean and simple look but you can also make things pop with any one of the endless color options available. Your only limitations are how to choose which colors to buy first and how much space you have to store them.

Floor Drops and Faux Surfaces

It’s fairly easy to create the illusion that you’re in a different room, a big fancy studio, or even outdoors for things like product photography and flatlays. One way to do that is buy having some super-realistic floor drops + mock surfaces on hand. This could be anything from a few pieces of left over floor tile, marble contact paper, a patch of turf, or professional faux surfaces from places like Replica Surfaces.

Choosing a Lighting Set-up

Natural Light

Ideally, your in-home studio space will have the option for natural lighting. You can filter the light with sheer curtains or vellum or use foamcore to bounce the light streaming from the window back to your subject. Not all of us have the luxury of floor-to-ceiling windows so again, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t. There are other options.

Continuous Light

An inexpensive ring light is always my go-to. It’s easy to use, versatile, and pretty compact. Other great starter options would be a softbox kit. Softboxes are still easy to use but do require more space and a tad bit of knowledge on how to adjust them (height and angle) for desired effects.

Get a full behind-the-scenes look into exactly how simple my go-to home studio setup is.

A list of the current items furnishing my home studio is below. Comment and let me know what you’re using in your home studio.