I took this image in my childhood bedroom 6 years ago!
Studio photography doesn’t need to feel like this scary, inaccessible medium. In fact, a studio can be really quick and easy to set up! You don’t need to have masses of expensive kit, or even that much space. I wish I’d known this sooner, because for a long time, I stayed away from studio imagery. I thought I would never be able to produce anything of quality because I didn’t know how to use lights, or have any fancy kit.
Today, I’m hoping I’ll be able to break down that fear.
So how can you set up your own home studio?
First, you need a bit of open space. It doesn’t need to be a lot. You can take some really beautiful portraits of people with only a small slither of white wall! When I first started, I cleared one wall in my bedroom, and stuck a massive white sheet to it (my walls were yellow at the time). I stuck the sheet up with masking tape (#profesh), and there it was – my first studio backdrop. Over time, I bought different coloured sheets, and would stick them up. I had black ones (like the one pictured here), purple ones, red ones. All different kinds.
You can pick up white backdrop sheets* super cheap on Amazon, Wex or even Ebay these days.
Now, I have my own proper backdrop kit. I invested in a backdrop stand*from Wex, and now buy myself Colourama paper backdrops* from Wex as well. They’re not expensive, and I tend to only need to buy one backdrop a year at the moment. With just these two pieces of kit, I now have a portable backdrop that I can take with me anywhere I go.
Whenever I shoot these day, I simply move the furniture around in my living room, make some space, erect the backdrop stand and put out my white paper. It’s as easy as that!
When it comes to lighting, you can either choose to stick to natural light, or invest in a lighting kit.
I do both.
The image above was taken with just natural light (my living room window on the left of the image).
However, I do also have a flash kit. Years ago, my parents kindly bought me a cheap flash kit from Amazon for my birthday. I still use those lights today! I can’t seem to find the ones I have anymore, but I found what looks like the exact same kit on Amazon, for a very similar price. You can buy a whole studio kit right here for just £299*.
If you’re thinking of investing in some kit, I truly think that you can create incredible images with one flash head, and one umbrella or softbox. You can pick these up super cheap these days!
A while ago, I filmed a whole vlog about how I shoot in my home studio. If you’d like to watch that, you can do that here.
The only other advice that I can give you is to just play! I know that advice can get really old and boring to hear, but in order to get good at shooting in studio, you need to understand how light affects your models. You need to play with different angles, bouncing light from different places, trying different light fittings. As I hope I’ve made clear, you really don’t need much to get started, so invest in something cheap, play with it, and when you feel comfortable and ready, rent a professional studio for a day, use their kit, and play some more.
That’s all learning photography is, testing, playing and seeing what works, and what doesn’t.
As always, if you have any further questions about all of this, feel free to leave a comment below!
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