How to Setup Your Home Photography Studio
Everything you need to know to start a Photograhy Studio at home!
If you have a passion for photography, and find that you are actually really good at it, then a photography business is a wonderful way to make a living!
In fact, many photographers love the flexibility of owning their own photography business and the ability to open a studio anywhere they want.
One of the reasons you may want to start a photography business is to be able to work from home and setup your own home photography studio.
If so far you resonate with what I’ve said, you have come to the right place.
In this article we are going to cover the steps for setting up your very own home photography studio.
But before we talk about setting up home photography studio, let’s first talk about how to start a home photography business.Credit:
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How to Start a Home Photography Business
Before taking on your first client, there are a few steps you need to take to prepare which include officially forming your business, creating a rate sheet, and acquiring the basic photography tools such as your camera.
Here is a three step checklist to complete before taking on your first client:
Register your Business
Once you start taking on clients and receiving payments, you will have to start filing your taxes with the IRS.
This means you need to register your business so that it is recognized by the IRS as an official legal entity come tax time.
To do this you need to select what type of business you want to open: Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, etc. and you need to fill out a few forms and things.
Fundsnetservices.com has a really great step-by-step article to guide you through the formation of your photography business.
Create a Rate Sheet
Now that you have officially named and formed your business, you will need to create a rate sheet.
Once a client sees your work and decides that they want to work with you, they are going to ask you for your rates.
Having a rate sheet handy makes this process easy and clear so there isn’t any confusion!
Acquire Photography Equipment
You can’t really be a photographer without some basic photography equipment.
Here is a quick list of items that you should have at the very least:
- DSLR camera
- Extra lenses
- Backup battery
- Memory Cards
- Backup drives
- Photo editing software
Great! Now that we have the basic logistics of opening a photography business out of the way, let’s talk about setting up a home photography studio.
How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio
Setting up a home photography studio gives you the ability to offer an indoor shooting location to your clients.
While some client work will be mainly outdoors, such as weddings, other types of photography jobs will need to be shot indoors.
For studio portraits portraits or product photography, you don’t need as much space as you may think.
A spare bedroom or a converted garage or shed will do the trick.
If lighting isn’t ideal, there are so many lighting solutions available on the market to make your space photo ready.
Smaller spaces do better with natural light, so if you have a window or can install one, that would be ideal while larger studios tend to do better with artificial lighting.
Either way, with the right tools, backdrop, and lighting equipment – you too can convert your home to an awesome photography studio!
The first think you will need to do is choose your space because this will determine your setup.
Smaller studios will need different equipment than larger spaces.
Setting up Small Studio Spaces
Small studios give you less space for setting up complicated lighting sets.
Furthermore, you will need to use lenses with shorter focal points rather than a 70-200mm f/2.8 lense, for example.
For smaller studios, natural light is always ideal so perhaps setup near a window or if possible, install a window.
If you studio is very small, you may need to just take on smaller groups or stick to head-shots and product photography.
The nice thing is that you can take your larger groups outdoors but have your small studio ready for other types of photography work.
Just because your studio is small doesn’t mean you can’t still take on a variety of clients and work!
Photography Gear for Small Home Photography Studios
To give you an idea of what you will need for your smaller space, here is a list of basic gear:
- Lighting solutions – smaller spaces should do fine with one light and one reflector. You can add on as needed once you start playing with the space.
- Flash trigger for trigger your flash units remotely.
- Reflector and Umbrella – One of each should be enough and most of them fold up for easy storage.
- Light stands – you will need one for each light.
- Background – backgrounds are obviously very important and it is a good idea to have a few different options to offer your clients. Most backgrounds are collapsible for easy storage and mobility.
Other gear you may want to consider include: step ladders, fans, extension chords and power strips, and furniture or props.
When selecting backgrounds for your studio, you will want to do so with your clients in mind.
If you plan on doing professional portraits and head-shots, you will want neutral and simple backgrounds.
For product photography, consider a light box or perhaps a green screen if you plan on doing more editing with backgrounds.
Setting up your studio will take some initial up front investment so we recommend only purchasing the bare minimum and adding on from there as needed.
Larger studios will need much of the same equipment but perhaps double or triple the lighting.
Lighting Equipment for your Home Photography Studio
Because good lighting is so important for success, we are going to spend a little more time talking about the two most popular types of lighting used in indoor studios: speedlights and studio flashes.
Speedlights can be expensive and in this case, cheaper isn’t necessarily better.
A speedlight is an on-camera flash that provides light and balanced exposure when conditions are darker.
- Lightweight and compact
- Much cheaper than manual units
- Tend to have long recycle times, making it hard to shoot bursts
- Low power
- It can be challenging to fine-tune your auto-focus because of the lack of modelling light
The more expensive models will combat many of the cons, which is why we said that cheaper isn’t necessarily better.
Studio flashes are floor standing lights that are used to illuminate a studio or photography space.
Studio flashes are connected to your camera so that they they only flash when you want them to.
- They provide strong, clean light
- Many have AC plugs for battery free use
- Built-in modelling light
- Heavy and can take up a lot of space
- Require the purchase of stands
- Less expensive models are prone to overheating
Most indoor photography studios have at least one or two studio flashes with stands.
But again, start with one light and add on from there if needed.
To make your home studio lighting even better, here are a few accessories we recommend:
- Softboxes and/or Octaboxes