Anyone passionately interested in photography would love a home studio. The good news is that it's not that hard to manage. Whether you have an extra room in your home or want something that can be put away when you are done, the only drawback is the initial expense.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Standard photography equipment including camera (s), tripod, light meter, etc.
Whether permanent or portable, there are some basic needs for any home studio. Other than equipment, backgrounds and props, the most important thing is space. Finding an area that has at least an eight-inch ceiling and at least ten inches from the place you put the camera can be a problem for some. This is most important if you plan to do any kind of portrait work. The farther away you can put the camera from your subject the better. Also - keep in mind that you should keep your subject at least three feet from the background. One option is to temporarily convert the largest room in your home. Regardless of your plan, your walls and ceilings should be painted white. Coloured walls and ceilings will change the colour tone of any work you do, while white walls and ceilings allow you to bounce additional light onto your subject. Also, you can use a white wall as a necessary white background.
Backgrounds are important as well. There are many different types, from paper to muslin, in all different colours. Personally, I prefer a muslin or cloth background. It is easy to set up, is hard to wrinkle or tear, and often will produce an incredible effect on your photos. Backgrounds will all be painted in a similar style. They will be lighter in the centre, and the colour will darken as it goes to the end. Purchase a background that's long enough for you to lay it on the floor and extend it at least five feet past your subject. Place your chair, stool or even your subject on it. Most backgrounds come with appropriate stands, as well as bags for transporting. The best sizes are usually six to ten feet wide and ten to 20 feet long. There are many good options on the Web.
You can make your own background with a large amount of muslin or cotton fabric and complimentary paint colours. Keeping in mind that the middle should be lighter than the edges, simply spread your fabric out flat, and starting from the inside, sponge paint the colours you have chosen. Allow to dry laying flat.
Lighting is vitally important and is a personal choice for most photographers. Purchase a light set that will include everything from the lights to soft boxes and diffusers. Most lights today are lightweight and easily portable. Look for something that is adjustable, provides both continuous and flash output and will not overheat your subjects. Cool lights are now available that are easy to use and, in most cases, are colour balanced for daylight. If purchasing a set of lights is beyond your means, contact your local specialised photography store and inquire about colour balanced bulbs. They are easy to use for small projects and can be placed in a regular light fixture.
Props are probably the easiest to find. Many home photographers use a high stool and a card table. Search your home for interesting chairs, pillows, and various decorative items that you can use in your photos. The table is more for studio or still shots. Build a soft box to surround the table allowing the light to be softened and shadows to be lessened when shooting.
One of the best ideas on the market is the home studio kit. It offers lights, backgrounds and stands as well as carrying cases, and is an inexpensive way to get started. Online stores offer these in a number of different sizes that offer extra options such as more than one background or extra lights.
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