Photographers don’t get the job done in a crowded office surrounded by dozens of other coworkers. They don’t excel at their work after sitting through hours of training videos. And they definitely don’t find it fitting to run around chasing appointment after appointment, just to be behind schedule the majority of the day. No, this is just not what they do.
Instead, photographers need space to be independent. They need space to branch out and show their clients how unique they can be. And they need that space to be something they can call their very own.
In the words that carry out the remainder of this article, you’ll come to find one of the best places a photographer can call their very own: A home studio. From there, we’ll teach you what’s essential when building your at-home studio. After you’ve read up on all our advice, you’ll be on your way to creating quite the magnificent set up for yourself, in your very own home.
What Should You Prepare Yourself for First?
You could be going through one of two scenarios right now:
1. You’ve been a photographer for a long time, and you’re sick and tired of spending extra money on renting space out.
2. You’ve just come into the photographer profession, and you’d like to cut costs where you can.
Both scenarios are likely to have the same answer: Start building your at-home photography studio.
First things first, do not let the pressure get the best of you; that means don’t go out to every store that sells photography gear and buy everything. Give it time, young grasshopper. Build your studio by purchasing what you really need at first, and then let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.
If you’re impatient, wait for a few weeks or months; giving your studio time to come together will allow it to feel 100% unique. Plus, if you take your time, you’ll find some cool items you never thought you’d find.
Choose Your Dedicated Space
Space is important, and it’s the first thing you’ll have to figure out when putting your at-home studio together. Ask yourself these questions: Do you want it to be large or small? Do you want the room to be a uniform square shape, or have odd nooks and crannies to angle your photos? Do you like high ceilings Where can you put the lighting? All of these questions are relevant. Once you have the questions answered, you’ll be able to decide what room in your house or apartment fits the criteria.
Keep in mind, you’ll have to consider the type of photographer you are when choosing your designated space. If you photograph plants or inanimate objects on a tabletop, chances are you won’t need too much space. However, if you’re in the business of photographing families for holidays or students for graduation portraits, you’ll want a larger space.
There’s More …
Choosing a dedicated, or designated, space is critical. You’ll need to remember that it’s not all about how large space is, or what room you end up choosing; it’s deeper than that. You need to make sure your clients and customers are comfortable in the space that you choose. For instance, you don’t want to have a cramped room where all your photography toys are popping out at your clients or customers. You also don’t want a room so large that your clients and customers feel unwelcomed. The perfect amount of breathing room and coziness should provide the right atmosphere. Add an accessible bathroom, and you’re good to go!
Don’t Neglect the Ceilings
Low ceilings can make photography complicated, to say the least. For instance, if you have a low ceiling, you encounter the potential problem of light bouncing off of it; unfortunately, this could lead to unwanted light entering the picture. Once this unwanted light is there, it’s challenging to edit it out. However, if the light shines in the photograph at just the right angle, this could be good for you.
Also, if your ceiling is too low or too high, you’ll run the risk of not knowing where to place a hair light. Hair lights have one job: To separate the person or thing being photographed from the backdrop. All in all, these hair lights make the subject of the photo pop. If the ceiling is low, you’ll be able to use the hair light on seated subjects; if the ceiling is too high, you’ll be able to use the hair light on subjects that are standing.
If you’re in the photography profession, you already know how lights can make or break a photograph. But which light is the right light to use, is the question? Window light is the light that enters a room through a window. Simple enough, right? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to photograph. Window light can go one of two ways; it can either prove itself soft and even, with no reason to use the flash on the camera lens, or it could add unnecessary ambient light, making it ultimately harder to control. If you want to get rid of window light, simple hang blackout curtains and tape them around the windowsill; after that, you’ll have to resort to other light methods.
Ambient light is known as the extra light that appears in your photos that you didn’t necessarily put there. It can be window light, room light, reflections off mirrors, etc. The horrible tragedy with ambient light is that you don’t know it’s there until it shows up on a printed picture. To get rid of this, you’ll want to turn your lights off entirely, change the bulbs in your lighting fixtures, or get a flash camera. The above are lights that you can purchase, but you don’t always have to. The below are lights that must be purchased. Constant lights are lights that are on all the time. You cannot control the brightness or the power behind these lights, as they don’t enable this mechanism.
Speed lights are compact lights that can be moved throughout your at-home studio. These lights are tiny, and they’re known to pay close attention to the areas you point them in. Studio strobes are high powered flashlights that need to be plugged into a wall. They may be expensive, and you may not be able to afford them at first, but they’re worth the investment.
Backdrops Will Enhance, Too
Backdrops will give your at-home studio a very professional and clean look. The sky is the limit with these backgrounds. If you’re trying to lean towards the simple side of things, go with neutral colored backdrops. If you get bored, you can purchase gelled lights and spring them off the neutral backgrounds, as these lights will change the general color of the fabric. You can always use Photoshop to create different looks on your backdrops, too. Of course, there are always scenic backdrops you can purchase, but these may look tacky and fake, so be careful of what you take to your studio. Wall mounts are handy to have around, too, consider they’ll let you hold up two to three rolls of paper in a compactable unit; take out the one you want to use then put it away when you’re done.
Light Modifiers Are Fun
Light modifiers are placed over the flash to modify the light coming out of the camera. The following are all commonly used in photography:
– Umbrellas spread light; they try to light a large area as best they can.
– Softbox modifiers give you greater control over where the light is shining. These can be attached to speed lights and studio strobes.
Props, Props, More Props
Props can be anything from clothes to accessories, and from furniture to backgrounds. Props can make a scene hectic, but they can also enhance the emotions behind a photograph.
Choose carefully on what you purchase for props. The best ones are found at garage sales and thrift stores!
Looking to enhance your career and build a presence in New York? Submit your work for Chelsea International Photography Competition. The call opens on September 15th, 2019.
Creating and building your at-home studio can be nerve-racking, but it’s also gratifying, considering it’ll turn out to be 100% your own! Like we said before, don’t rush the process, let the pieces fall into place. Start by selecting the room you want to work out of, then do your research and look into several stores instead of purchasing all your supplies from the same place.
We wish you the best of luck! We know it’ll be fantastic.