How to Create a Home Photo Studio on a Budget

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As a photographer, it is important to have a space that you can use for photoshoots. However, you might not be able to afford to rent a professional studio space, or there might not even be a space like that in your area. If this is the case, don’t worry! You can still have a great studio space, and you can create it yourself, in your own home! Without breaking the bank, you can get all the basics you will need to start up your studio space. When it comes to creating a studio space, creativity wins over budget every time!

1. Dedicate a Space for Your Future Studio.

The first step in creating your home studio will be deciding where you are going to put it. When trying to decide which space will work best, try to keep in mind the types of photos you will be taking. Will it be full body portraits, headshots, product shots, or something else? This will determine how much space you need, and what you will need to have in the space as well. For example, if you will be taking full body portraits and will also have models coming in, then look for a space in your home where you can take full body portraits with at least a 50mm lens, and also make sure you will have a place for your models to wait and change. Indoor photography can be tricky sometimes, so for more tips on how to make the most of indoor photoshoots and location ideas, check out our blog Indoor Photography Tips & Locations.

If you have an unused room in your home, this is a great place for a home photo studio, especially if you do need a slightly bigger space. If you only need a small space, or simply don’t have any unused rooms in your home, you could just free up a corner of your living room.


2. Create Your Backdrops.

Backdrops are key in professional photography, but you don’t have to splurge on an expensive or elaborate one in order for it to look good. Your first backdrop (and there is nothing wrong with starting with just one!) should be a neutral colour like white, gray, or black. To create this backdrop, you can hang up a solid-coloured sheet or purchase a piece of fabric. Then, to hang it, you do not need to buy an expensive frame, you can buy some PVC pipes from your local hardware store and use those to create a frame to hang your backdrop on.

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3. Identify Your Lighting Setup

For lighting, you can choose between artificial and natural sources. Natural light is, of course, the cheapest and simplest, and if often the best light source available, if you are fortunate enough to have windows in your home studio space. If you are using natural light, you will still want to control it a bit. To do this, you can use a white cloth or cardboard to diffuse the light, or if you want to block out the light, cover the window with a thick, dark cloth, making sure the cloth exceeds the size of the windows by about 30cm in order to block out as much light as possible.

If you want or need to use artificial lighting, you will need to invest in some equipment, but this equipment does not have to be expensive.

For the lighting itself, you have two choices: continuous light or flash. Continuous light is typically used for filming videos, but it can also be used in photography. The advantage of continuous lighting is that you can see the effect of your lighting setup in real time, but the disadvantage is that it is generally a lot less powerful than flash lighting. There are a wide variety of options for continuous lighting, in terms of price and type.

If you choose to use flash, there are also a ton of options that vary in price. Do some research and figure out which flashes fit your needs and your budget. When choosing a flash, remember that good lighting is not necessarily about having the most expensive equipment, it is understanding it and using it properly that will get you the best results!

For more information on lighting and how to use flash in your photography, check out our blogs 5 Tips on How to Photograph Natural Light and A Beginner’s Guide to Working with Off-Camera Flash.

4. Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches!

When setting up your home photo studio, it can be easy to focus on the big things, like choosing the space and the equipment you need to buy or create, while forgetting the small details that really do bring the whole space together. Make sure you include a few extras that will take your home studio up a notch and make it appear much more professional.

Include a stool or a small table in your home studio. Depending on the type of photography you are doing and your specific needs, this could either function as a place for models to pose on, or it could be a place for you to set up your laptop on so that you can review images as the shoot is going on.

Also do not forget to have clamps and clips handy to hold up your backdrop, to attack the continuous light to a tripod, put a flag in place, or anything else you might need. They are very handy tools and you never know when they might come in handy.

Finally, you might want to consider getting a remote shutter. Remote shutters are great for minimizing camera movement, as you do not have to touch your camera in order to take the photo, and therefore give you the sharpest images possible. They also allow you to focus your eyes and attention on what is happening on set, rather than on the viewfinder. These small details will bring your whole studio together and help you have the best photoshoots possible!

With just a few pieces of equipment and some DIYs, you can really create a great, professional photo studio within your own home.