Preparation Stage: Think of Goals, Genres, and Your Work PlanAn important condition for launching a startup (and a home photography studio is definitely a startup) is an understanding of why you are going to do this and what resources you need in order to make your idea a reality. We recommend that you clarify the following questions before jumping into setting up your creative corner:
Business goalsDo you want to have a studio for creative home photoshoots, or are you looking for profit? Do you want your home photography studio to be just a start for your business, after which you rent a full-fledged separate space to earn more? Your projected budget depends on these answers.
Photography genreDecide on the genre of studio photography that you want to focus on. This can be food photography, product photography, individual or group portraits, newborn photo sessions, or abstract photography. The equipment and a set of other items that should be in your studio depend on your decision. The genre of photography also determines how much space your studio will occupy and if you need windows or more artificial lighting.
BudgetYou can build a low-budget DIY studio, or you can invest in creating a specialized full-fledged professional studio that you can rent to other photographers. For example, you can create a professional fully-equipped studio for taking food shots.
Work intensityIf photography is your main occupation, you will spend most of your time in the studio. But if you’re just after photography courses, most likely all you need is a convenient training ground that you will only use once a week. Your work intensity determines whether your photography studio will be stationary or modular.
Setting up a Studio: What Design to Choose?When you’ve decided on the main questions regarding your activities in your photography studio at home, it’s time to move on to more concrete things. For example, the design of your studio. There are both budget and costly approaches to filling your creative space.
DIY approachBudget — $0 If you study photography or take non-commercial art shots, you might not plan to invest a lot of money in creating your setup. You can always use available tools for background design. Give a chance to what you already have at your fingertips: furniture, paintings, flowers, wallpapers and walls, pieces of fabric, wood panels, and books.
Low-budget basicsBudget — up to $100 For taking commercial photos you need collapsible backdrops and a few versatile pieces of furniture like a chair and table without decorative elements. The rest of the props depends on which genre of photography you choose. The most inexpensive type of professional background for portrait (especially of a headshot type) and product photography is made from paper. You might also need several rolls of fabric.
Professional approachBudget — starts from $200 High-quality backgrounds for photography studios are made of fabric or vinyl. These materials reflect light in the right way and can simulate different textures. We advise you to order backgrounds in several colors. The basic ones include gray, white, and green. You will also need furniture items. Shooting models in real interiors will expand the potential of your home photography studio and attract new clients. Among trending studio designs are vintage and cyberpunk styles. Creating decorations that simulate living space (such as a bedroom, living room, and dining room) will attract those who want to have a family photo session.
Studio Equipment for Photography at Home: What Do You Need?In this section, we would like to describe the basic set of equipment and tools you will need in order to create images in the main studio genres, such as portrait and product photography.
A camera, lenses, a memory card, and a tripodYou probably already have a camera that you are used to. Keep working with it. You will also need lenses that are designed for a specific focal length. Depending on how spacious your home studio for photography is, you will need lenses with different focal lengths. An ideal choice for a small studio is 70—150 mm. Also, make sure you have memory cards and a tripod.
Photographic studio lightingUse at least one light and one reflector, but take into account that the more lighting options you have, the better (especially if you are going to combine natural lighting with studio lighting). Start with manual speedlights or strobes, while setting up a studio. You also need a flash trigger for remote lighting control.
Lighting modifiers and standsThe most popular lighting modifiers are reflectors and umbrellas. Complex photo shoots require softboxes and octaboxes. If your budget is low, you can buy all of the basic modifiers in one set. Light stands are designed to fix your lighting equipment at the desired height or to direct the light beam at the angle you want. Depending on the height of the ceiling in your home studio for photography and its sizes, you may need stands 2 or more meters high. Advanced studio lighting toolset also includes grids, gels, and flags.
BackgroundCollapsible backdrops are the best solution for a studio designed for both portrait and product photography. You can also use your studio’s walls as a permanent background.
Furniture and other toolsWe advise you to start using the furniture you already have in your home. You will need a wide table on which you will place objects for your subject shooting, as well as a chair to photograph models in different poses. A tall bar stool will be an advantage. You also need to purchase step ladders. You might use it to get interesting angles, as well as set the studio equipment for photography. In addition, you can shoot your model on your step ladders.
Power stripsAll of your equipment requires electricity. Photographic studio lighting fixtures especially. Make sure you have an outlet where you can connect your devices while shooting.
FansIt may seem to you that a fan is overkill, but this is not entirely true. Fans are multifunctional devices. On the one hand, they make working in a photo studio at home more comfortable (think of lighting equipment that heats up the air a lot!). On the other hand, you can create motion in a photo with a fan.
AccessoriesIt all depends on your goals and the style in which you shoot. Some things can bring a scene to life, and some create the right atmosphere for the shot. For a family photo session, you can stock up on a set of designer textiles and toys. Love stories require flowers. Food shots can look more interesting if there is cutlery.
The Budgeting Stage: How Much Does it Cost to Make Home Photography Look Like Professional Shots?How much does it cost to create a photo studio at home, saving on renting a ready-made professional photo studio? It depends on the level of equipment that you plan to use, as well as your imagination in creating DIY lighting fixtures and decorations. Below you’ll find our estimations based on the Google research (prices from 2020) and information we received from Depositphotos contributors. Use them in case you want to sell images on stock photo stocks or to individual clients:
- Camera, SD Memory card, two types of lenses and a tripod— from $400
- Backdrop and its stand — from $100
- Two speedlights, one flash modifier (a basic reflector), and stands — from $350
- A table, a chair, and step ladders — from $50 (or could be free)
- Power strips and fans — from $30