How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio on a Budget – Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Home photography studios are convenient solutions for professional studio work. Yet, setting up one can be a nightmare if you don’t have a plan.

An in-home photography studio setup may be complicated to create. There are many things to consider such as studio space, photography lighting, backdrops, cameras, accessories, and more.

This article is a complete guide for building and setting up a home photography studio. Here’s what we will cover:

  • What is a Home Photography Studio?
  • Can you run a Photography Studio at Home?
  • How much Space do You Need?
  • Choose Your Space
  • Studio Design
  • Backdrops for Photo Studios
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Camera Gear
  • Photography Props
  • Shooting Style
  • Post-Processing Tips
  • Bonus – How to Market your Photo Studio

Read also: Photography Studio Equipment List – Full Guide

Ready to learn? Let’s begin!

What is a Home Photography Studio?

Photography studios are essential these days. As businesses and corporations are starting to flourish, all kinds of photography studios are growing in demand. However, professional photography studios need quite a lot of open space.

Home photography studios aim to achieve professional results within a smaller space and budget. They are getting more popular due to the increase of home-based businesses and services. Not everyone can afford the time and money to run back and forth to a professional studio for every picture!

A photography studio at home can be established to save the time and cost required to rent a professional studio. Additionally, these DIY photo studios can also be leased commercially if set up right.

Can you run a Photography Studio at home?

You can certainly run a home photography studio, but you’ll need to understand the basics of building a home photography studio first.

Additionally, you’ll need to set it up in accordance with the space that you do have. Not all home studios look the same, as each studio needs to be adapted to the studio owner’s needs, wants and space.

Maintaining professionalism is critical to run it smoothly. It may be home-based, but you must treat your studio as if it’s world-class. This means communicating with your clients effectively and marketing your studio properly.

Regardless of all the limitations, a DIY photography studio at home is 100% possible. How you can achieve it is what we will discuss today.

How much space do you need for a Home Photography Studio?

It highly depends on what you need the studio to do.

  • To take photos for an eCommerce business that sells small goods, a bench within a studio space of 500 sq. ft. could be enough.
  • A space within a size of 1000 sq. ft. minimum is best for home photography studios. This space will work for various purposes like product photography, fashion photography, and more.

In real-life scenarios, this would ideally mean dedicating an entire room for the studio. A lot of people do this with their guest bedrooms, as those rooms have plenty of space.

How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio

The following sections contain a full elaboration of the steps required to set up your home photography studio. Just make sure that you don’t skip any step while building yours.

1. Choose Your Studio Space

In order to choose your studio space, you must identify your needs.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What will you use the studio for?
  • Who is going to be your client?
  • Is your studio dedicated to one niche like eCommerce?
  • Would you build a studio for a wide variety of purposes?

Figuring out these answers will help you determine the kind of lighting, props, and other equipment needed. It will also help you determine your space.

If you plan to work with outside clients, you need to use at least 1-2 rooms of your home. There needs to be sufficient seating space along with the studio space.

Some people even use their garage, which is also a nifty idea.

2. Make a Photography Studio Design

Photography studios are as much about aesthetics as it is about function. A well-designed studio is:

  • Pleasant and comfortable to work in.
  • It serves as inspiration for both photographers and clients and makes the best use of space.

Hiring an interior designer may not be feasible for home photography studio owners. That doesn’t mean your studio has to be any less.

You can look up photography designs online and use those designs as ideas for your home photography studio. Here are a few:

3. Backdrops for Photography

There are a wide variety of backdrops that can be used for photography. Depending on your goal, you can use one or multiple.

The first thing that you’ll require is a stand. Backdrop stands will enable you to hang backdrops of any size, color, and material. These stands come in different sizes, so choose one that would fit well in your studio.

Credit: татьяна

Alongside the stands, you could buy backdrops of white, black, and other colors. It’s always good to keep options. Backdrop materials are important too.

Some backdrops may be textured; some may not be. Some may be light and wrinkle easily; some may not.

It’s generally good to use backdrops that are thick and matte-textured. These backdrops don’t reflect light easily, and neither do they crease.

4. Get Suitable Lighting Equipment

Lighting is undeniably one of the most important elements of a photography studio. Without a decent lighting setup, your studio will always be incomplete.

Photo by Yehor Milohrodskyi on Unsplash

Solid and adjustable lighting stands are must-have home photography studio equipment. This is one of the places where you could invest a bit more, regardless of it being a home studio.

Flexible, rigid, and fully adjustable stands will serve you well for a long time to come.

Home studios have both advantages and disadvantages in terms of lighting. Smaller spaces allow lesser power requirements. But they also lead to higher reflections.

Not to worry, as this can be mitigated with the use of diffusers.

Diffusers help dim reflections and spots with harsh lighting. In professional studios, both reflectors and diffusers are used. You may not need reflectors in home studios.

This highly depends on the number of lights you use and the power of each light used.

Led lights, flashes, strobe lights, fluorescent lamps – there is a lot you can use. If you’re aiming for general photography, some led lights may be enough. For high-quality photography, using flashes and lamps can help.

5. Choose the Perfect Camera Gear

Camera gear is another place where an average home photography studio can be turned into a world-class one. In fact, professional photography studios highly depend on the camera to bring out the best of their setup.

Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

There are plenty of cameras and accessories to choose from. Whichever brand you choose, ensure that the model has high reviews. You can skip on purchasing expensive camera lenses later.

Here’s what you need to buy:

  • Camera – Start with an APS-C and then upgrade to Full Frame. You can also find a Full Frame camera in the used market for under $1000.
  • Lenses – Home studio owners may find expensive lenses to be a dent in their budget – which is okay! The stock lenses that come with all good cameras serve quite well.
  • Camera tripod – helps mitigate micro-vibrations which can result in a hazy image. There are extra benefits like maintaining consistency of camera angle, faster workflow, etc.

You can use the stock lenses until you finally save up to buy better ones. Some eCommerce photographers stick to stock lenses for almost the entirety of their business. It gets the job done without compromising quality.

But for capturing images that can help you define your brand or product, better lenses may be needed.

6. Photography Props

Is your niche food photography? You will need tables, plates, crockeries, and apples! If you’re a fashion photographer, you will need fans to induce dramatic effect to the model.

Simply put, photography props are essential and can be determined according to your niche. Minimalist photographers often don’t use any props and that works too. But if you plan to use your studio to serve other clients, keeping props is always a good idea.

Props are relatively inexpensive. You can also use homemade props. Anything and everything is a prop if it suits well the style of photograph you’re capturing.

Home photography studio kits can be purchased which contain most of the gear that we discussed above. These kits don’t offer much customizability, so we only recommend purchasing them if you have a tight budget.

7. Shoot the right way

Mismanagement of camera settings can turn an A-star studio into a D-minus one. Non-photographers or beginners may have trouble achieving the right camera settings. Even professional outdoor photographers may not know how to tweak the settings to take photos indoors.

  • Learn how to use the ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture. Keeping the ISO as low as possible will greatly improve the quality of your images.
  • For handheld shots, use a high shutter speed of 1/50 or above will eliminate any haze. We always recommend using a tripod whenever possible.
  • Use a tripod with a slower shutter speed which also helps to capture brighter images.
  • Aperture completely depends on the style of photograph you plan to take. If you have elements in the background that you want to focus on, using a lower aperture (higher f-number) will bring out those elements.
  • If you want to induce some blur in the background and/or foreground, using a higher aperture (lower f-number) is desirable.

8. Photography Post Processing

Once you’re done setting up and capturing photographs the appropriate way, it’s time to process! Photography post-processing or post-production can often make or break a picture.

A lot of people wonder – What’s the need for post-processing if a shot is perfectly captured?

Post-processing will always take your photographs to another level. Minor imperfections like dust, link, skin marks, background creases, etc., are removed immediately with post-production.

Additionally, it helps to balance the colors, adjust lighting & shadows, and add effects.

If you feel your photograph is already perfect from the start, imagine how great it can be with post-processing. Home photography studios will always require photo editing services as there will be a lot of unavoidable imperfections (invisible to the naked eye).

Even professional brands utilize post-production on their photographs to maintain high photo quality and consistency.

9. Market your new Home Photography Studio

Home photography studio owners or photographers who plan to serve their studio commercially need to think about marketing it. This is a completely separate factor to consider. Depending on your target, you can do minimal marketing or full-fledged campaigns.

– The first thing you will require is your portfolio. Thus, start capturing photos in accordance with all the factors we discussed above.

You may need to capture a wide variety of photographs in order to impress potential clients. Unless you have a specific niche to target, a diverse portfolio always helps.

– Secondly, you must think about branding. Creating a logo along with company graphics can help. If you’re a professional photographer, you can integrate your own images with the logo to provide more of a “photographers’ studio” vibe.

– Can you invest in a website? Or would you promote your service through social media? Utilizing all these channels can help you gain a wider reach. All the great shots of your portfolio must be uploaded on all these platforms.

– When you integrate your brand logo and graphics through all these channels, you can certainly grab people’s attention.

Using platforms like Pinterest and Instagram is almost a must-do for photography services. A large amount of visual content is present in these social media channels.

These platforms also offer lucrative paid promotions, which can provide a wide reach.

– Adding a blog to your website or creating catchy marketing content can help increase visitors. Consulting with a marketing expert can expand your marketing horizons.

As marketing is a separate field entirely, having professional insight will help.

Final Verdict

Phew! That was a long read, but hopefully, it was worth it. Once you apply all these steps to building your very own home photography studio, you’ll realize how useful this guide is.

And if it does help you, do not forget to share or give us your feedback by leaving a comment down below! 🙂

About the author: Jacob Wyatt is a content marketing expert working for Clipping Path Studio. He specializes in creating optimized content for websites, social media, eCommerce, photography, and other reputable brands. Find him on Twitter or Instagram.

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