How to...set up your own studio

Are you a photographer? Like many others, you may want to set up your own studio, but perhaps you don't know how, or simply don't have the money to buy and refurbish a warehouse. It's all possible!

How to...set up your own studio

1. Find a space

This can be your bedroom, living room, spare room in your house or office, you name it. You can also consider renting a space with a few photographers - if you use it commercially you can certainly make your money back. Remember to look at spaces outside the typical hubs if you're looking to save money, and if you're going really affordable, look for stand out features that will make it feel special. The building might be what your after but there could be a great feature wall, original wooden floor boards, or characteristic beams.

The space needs to be large enough to fit at least 3 people including equipment, and it can help to get a space that is slightly roomier than your group requirements so that you can hire the extra space and make some extra money.

If the room has wallpaper or a coloured wall, consider painting the walls a neutral colour like white or grey. When taking photos the white will bounce (reflection of light from a bright or white surface) the light back for better exposure, whereas the grey will defuse the light and take out any unwanted light. This is to avoid any other colour from interfering into your images you wouldn't want any glare of green or pink glowing into your images.

2. Find equipment

See what equipment you have and what equipment you need. If you've got a camera and a couple portable flash, that's a good start. Find yourself a good tripod and a few strobe lights with a soft box. Soft boxes are good for defusing light and giving nice soft glows. Most lighting kits are different and come with different watts so do your research and pick a kit suitable for your needs. It's great if you share with other photographers, as you can pool equipment if need be.

To give you that proper studio feel you may want to set up a little office space. Pick a corner on the opposite side of the room to set up your desk and computer. On the same side, you can have storage space to store your important documents and equipment.

3. Set up your back drop

Most backdrops are either paper or cloth and there is a difference in quality from using both.

Using fabric or a cloth backdrop is simpler to set up but can be a handful to maintain. Depending on the type of fabric you get it could turn out to be too thin and transparent or even have creases which would need to be ironed out as well as risks of stains on the fabric itself.

Using a paper backdrop is easier to maintain and will give a much better quality in photos which is why a lot of photographers use it. But it doesn't come cheap and does have risks of tearing and staining. You can easily cut the footprints and roll more paper out, but eventually you'll have to order a new role.

4. Health and safety

Duct tape and electrical tape will be your friend when it comes to keeping everything safe. For keeping your backdrop down use duct tape, and use coloured electrical tape to mark out different wires and cables.

Having signs is great to make sure people don't trip up, and can let your guests know where things are and what to watch out for.

5. Branding

I know it's obvious but it can be easy to forget to tell people you have a studio. Marketing and promotions are a good way to get more clients interested in your work.

Some photographers have their studio as a separate brand to their own to offer the space out to other photographers looking for studios. Make sure you take photos of your studio empty and are being used to add to your website or to post on social media.

6. Adapt

Once your studio gets more successful, think about adapting for different demands like video, wedding shoots, and more commercial shoots with bigger crews. If you do get a good booking, it can be worth your while to vacate for the day to allow the studio to turn over some revenue, or else offer your own services as photographer.

7. Portable studio

Maybe you don't want to keep the studio indoors. With a portable studio kit you can do portrait shots at events, weddings and functions.

What you'll need is:

  • A portable flash light with a stand and umbrella
  • Your camera kit
  • Two stands and a white cloth for your back drop.

Find yourself a spacious corner to set your kit up. You can even add a portable printer for instead photos for your clients.

Image via Flickr


Idriss Assoumanou

Idriss Assoumanou Contributor

Idriss is a Film Maker and photographer based in Birmingham. He has directed and produced many films over the years and has mentored a lot of people on their first journey into film making. He likes to write articles based on art and creativity, like his industry 'how to…' guides, where he explains and shares his experiences in film making and other areas. He also films and edits professional showreel scenes for actors to add to their portofio.

We need your help supporting young creatives

Recent posts by this author

View more posts by Idriss Assoumanou


Post A Comment

You must be signed in to post a comment. Click here to sign in now

You might also like

What's Next: The true story of one woman's brave endeavour to be herself

What's Next: The true story of one woman's brave endeavour to be herself

by Ellie Blackwell

Read now