Yes, You Can Have Your Own Homemade Photography Studio

Have you ever looked at one of the photographs you have taken and thought…. “this would be perfect only if?” Don’t worry we all have. If you haven’t, then I suggest you don’t read this. It will do nothing for you.

There are times when we look at photographs of our children or beloved pets or even of ourselves and think that we could do better than the local chain studio “pros,” if only we had the right equipment. You are right! They are not necessarily pros but they have a studio at their disposal. And that is just what we need!

In order to set up our own studio we need to look at the key items that make a studio. Of course we need the space, the infinite backgrounds and the lighting. I will pull apart these essentials to give you ideas on how to do these on your own.

Number 1: The Space

The space is just that, space. Anywhere you have space you can set up a studio. Now some spaces may be better than others but a space is still a space. If you have a finished basement, a guest bedroom, an office, or even a decent sized corner in your living room then you can do this. As a professional, I rent an office that is only about 12 x 27 and have room for my studio and my office desk. Believe me… you can make it work. Just move stuff to the side of the room if you need to for a little while.

Number 2: the Infinite Backgrounds

When you go to the local or chain portrait studio they always have plenty of backgrounds to use to make your photos. However I don’t suggest that you invest all of your money to accumulate these backgrounds, especially since they always have seasonal ones on hand. It wouldn’t be logical for you to have ones for every season. Instead what I suggest is that you buy a green screen. You can take the time to make one yourself but by the time you spend the money on the fabric you will be spending just as much as if you had bought it on eBay. I purchased an 11 x 24 foot green screen for around $60 and you could get the same deal or cheaper. If you don’t plan on photographing large groups you purchase (or make) a smaller one.

Now that you have your background you need to “hang it.” If you choose to make yourself a smaller background you could use a curtain rod or a small closet dowel. If you made it larger like mine you can go to Home Depot or your local building supply store and purchase the 1 1/2 inch dowel by the foot. Yet another option is to go online and purchase a background stand…. but I like to take the cheaper do it yourself way. Now you have a couple options… yet again… to hang the background, you can mount brackets to your wall or use a camera tripod at each end to hold up the green screen. Tie it or use tape to hold it on, just make sure to weigh down the tripod so the background doesn’t pull it over. I have mine mounted with wooden brackets that are painted the same color as the wall to blend in.

The great thing about the green screen is now you have a large amount of backgrounds without buying them all. You can edit them in Photoshop or another software program. You can change the color, remove the color, or fill with a filter. Take it one step further and you can add a digital background. You are able to purchase stock images on sites like Or you can use your own images. (Coming soon the tutorial on adding digital backgrounds.)

If you don’t want to purchase a green screen you can always use a large king or queen sized flat sheet. You can use white or black as generic backgrounds but if you want to be able to use digital backgrounds using a bright blue or green works best.

Number 3: The lighting

The key to getting a good portrait can be having adequate lighting. To do this you want to make sure to avoid shadowing. Most “Mart” stores or home improvement stores will sell “work” lights. They are slip on lights with a metal reflector. There are different sizes and I suggest ones that will allow you to put in 120 watt halogen bulbs. The white halogens are best if you can get them. It will help to keep the lighting in the picture from yellowing your subject.

You can use two to three of these lights. The main objective is to keep shadows from appearing on the backdrop and the subject you are focusing on. (Studio Lighting will be a tutorial soon on its way.) These lights can be clipped onto nearby furniture or tripods and angled to get the right effect that you are looking for.

With these ideas I hope you are well on your way to your Home Made Portrait Studio!

Capturing Memories for a Lifetime!!

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