DIY - Create a Professional Photography Studio at Home
I recently teamed up with the folks at The Clinic (@TheClinic312) in Chicago’s West Loop to learn a little bit about studio lighting and see their most recent creation- a DIY Home Photography Studio. David Chang and Dre Endregaard joined forces to create a fully functioning and professional photographic portrait studio in their apartment space with a few important items ordered mostly from Amazon.
If you’re thinking about setting up a home studio so you can create professional studio-quality images, expand your photography portfolio / services offered, or just want to try out new methods in the medium, this post will outline the items that you need.
Approximate Total Cost ($1150)
For only about $1150 of equipment, you can start your very own home photography studio. This setup is ideal for Portrait and Product photography.
What You Need
A floor space of about 10’ wide and 15’ long. This will allow you to have enough room to fit all the equipment and work within your space. Ideally this space will have a hard surfaced floor and the ability to completely control the available light (Either with blackout curtains, tape, or waiting until it’s dark outside before you shoot.)
Savage Seemless Colored Backdrop Paper ($41-$70 per color)
This allows you to control the desired color of the background. It’s typical that you’ll want a few colors on hand for your shoots. Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow are great colors to think about purchasing first!
This allows you to hold the backdrops up and keep them in place.
Strobe Light Rig
This is the main light used to illuminate your model / subject from the front. Typically a soft-warm light is ideal, lit from a 45 degree angle, diagonal to the subject.
This allows the front light’s cast to be diffused to avoid harsh contrast.
This holds the light rig and modifier to the desired height.
Lighting your subject from behind of the side in a controlled lighting environment is a game changer. This allows you to incorporate color depth, space, and lighting on your subject. It allows your subject to pop from the back drop and stand out among other typical studio shoots.
This allows the backlight to diffuse against your subject, casting lighting of your choice to add dimension to your image.
This is the piece needed to securely attach the speedlight to the light stand itself.
Speedlight Stand ($26)
This is the stand needed to hold the speedlight and softbox to the desired height during your shoots.
These gels flexibly allow you to change the color of the light cast from your backlight (or front light) color cast.
PocketWizard Wireless Flash Trigger (2 Pack) ($169)
When mounted to the top of your camera, you set the channel to communicate with the other one to trigger a flash. This allows you to appropriately time the lights with each photo taken.
Extra Backdrop Muslin Clamps ($7.50)
When the paper is unrolled you want to keep it secure by clamping the roll so more paper cannot unroll.
Sand Bags ($15)
These sand bags hold down the Colored backdrop without the need for using tape.
Supply power to your setup!
Recommended Settings and Lens
1/200-1/250 Shutter Limit - As far as studio shooting when using external flash, you will not want to dial your Shutter Speed to shoot faster than 1/250th of a second (it ranges per camera, though 1/250 is usually the top speed that is functional for many cameras). Your shutter will end up blocking your image sensor for part of the shot and your image will be incomplete. Example below! You can exceed that speed if you have a light that has HSS (high-speed sync).
Aperture and ISO - Adjust to your liking to accommodate your intentional light setup.