How to Set Up Your Own Photography Studio

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Photographer Tips, Photography Tips, Studio Photography

studio umbrellas

Has your photography habit turned serious? Are you dreaming of setting up a photo studio all your own? Here’s how to turn those lighting, tripod, and backdrop visions that are dancing in your head into the reality of a professional photography studio.

A Room of Your Own

Just starting your photography business? Then you’ll want to keep expenses down until you’ve built up your clientele. You’ve probably already turned a covetous eye on your spare bedroom, your garage, or a corner of your living room for your planned photo sessions. Before you start clearing things out, though, take some time to analyze your imaginary studio first. It’s best if you don’t have to convert the space back and forth between a photography studio and whatever the room’s original purpose was. Pulling the car out into the driveway is no big deal. But moving the couch or guest bed whenever you have a shoot? You’re going to dread every session you schedule. Give your proposed studio a trial run. Gather four or five guinea pigs—the human variety—and stage a photo shoot. Pose your subjects as you would for a family portrait, set up your tripod, and look through your camera lens. If you can get everyone into the picture, great! If you find that you’re backing up into the hallway to see everyone through your viewfinder, then you’ll need a bigger space. (Or a lens with a wider angle!)

girl on white backdrop in home photography studio

Temperature is a consideration too. That big empty garage may look ideal—until it’s the middle of winter—or the middle of summer. Just like Goldilocks, your clients won’t like being too cold or too hot. A successful photo shoot needs to be conducted in a studio where the temperature is “just right.”

Let There Be Light

Here’s the fun part—new equipment! To control the light on your subjects, a pole lamp or a big window are just not going to do it. You have to have professional photography lights. Start with a studio light kit that contains two or three light heads, tripods to hold them, and light diffusers such as an umbrella or a softbox. Or, if you’re ready, you can buy studio flash lights—strobe lights that are synced to your camera and only flash when you take a shot. They’re a great tool and will look very cool to your clients while keeping your studio more comfortable than the always-on type of photography lights. Be aware, though, that babies and toddlers often take loud exception to being startled by a bright flash.

A Background Check

For a really professional-looking background for your photos, you’ll need to buy a few photography backdrops—and a frame to hang them from. These photo backgrounds come in a variety of lengths and widths, as well as in many paper or fabric types, patterns, and finishes.

wine glass product photography

If you’re going to be using fabric backdrops, keep a steamer on hand to get the inevitable wrinkles out of the fabric when the background is unrolled. And make your job as a studio photographer easier from the beginning by purchasing a backdrop storage device, which will keep your background rolls handy, organized, neat, and clean.

The Finishing Touch

A professional photography studio should include a display of your work. Pick some of your best shots, select professionally cut mats to set them off, and hang them in your entryway or studio waiting area. This will motivate your clients to purchase the matted, framed enlargements of those beautiful photographs you’re about to take of them in your brand-new studio.

What challenges have you faced with starting your own photography studio?

Interested in learning more about home photography studios? Check out 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Photography Studio!

-Shelley Morrison

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Comments (1)

  • Ross Makusa


    My challenge is, durable Studio Equipment is expensive to accquire.
    Is there a cheaper way to buy them.


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