home based studio – easy path to professional photography

simple studio basics

take your photography to the next level

As a photographer I have evolved my business by having a small home based studio set up. It might sound scary, expensive and intimidating for any photography enthusiast but I can assure you it is not.

how to become a professional photographer

there are many very good reasons to invest in a studio set up:

– complete control of the environment. there is no distraction, you control the light, you control what happens. There is no risk of rain, wind or any weather conditions.

– complete control of light. You will get whatever light you want. you will be in complete control of the results. Once you master your studio equipment, you do not need to worry about camera and you can focus on the subject, not on camera settings.Your results will be superior. Also studio lights are cheaper than portable flashguns and do not use batteries. Also you have more manual control of the volume of light. also you have the infinite flexibility of the light quality and position, direct strong light, indirect soft light, diffuse and whatever quality you are after. you will have the flexibility to attach shoot through umbrellas, reflective umbrellas, soft boxes of various shapes or forms and many other light diffusing accessories

– professional outlook. Having a studio will give your photography business weight and people will never question your professionalism

– convenience. People will come to you and not the other way unless you organise a location shoot. that also is a good driver of the good quality clients, looking forward your services

– you can approach more photography fields, like product photography and fashion, which sometimes are difficult to be achieved outside when there is a large number of products or clothes to be shot in an organised manner.

– you will not believe it but the cost is lower than location equipment. One studio light can be cheaper than one flashgun and you will save on long terms on batteries having the lighting connected to normal power. Also you will recover the cost of the whole studio equipment within 2-3 sessions. I have recovered the cost of my studio equipment 100 times in the first year only.

home based studio

What is the minimum equipment – excluding the camera itself

studio lights

I have started my studio with 2 lights as they come in a set. The set includes the lights, and the light stands. Also you need either a cable to connect it to the camera for the trigger, or a wireless remote trigger. You need to connect only one light as the others will pick up the increase in light level and trigger by themselves. They have a small sensor responsible for that.

home based studio
The normal set up is very simple:

1.Main light -you need at least one main light. Normally on the left hand side and the strongest. I would attach the largest soft box for the best and strongest diffuse light. Depending on the situation, the main light can be just direct light, umbrella or whatever you want

2. secondary light – on the other side of the camera to fill in the shadows from the main light. You can modify this light as you like.

3. Backlights – The second set of lights are the background light and the hair light. Basically behind the subject you can place one light to shoot on the background, or at the back of the subject to outline the contour.

I found that 4 lights are the best setting, however they can be varied in size, location, intensity depending on the situation. There is no right or wrong, and it is just trial and error until you get what you want.

I always start with one light, use it in several heights and position in relation with the subject, after that I turn on the secondary light. Again few trials, and I turn on the back lights gradualy. This way I get every time a wide range of shots so I can choose later which one is my favourite. In time I have built reflexes and habits and now I know exactly what I want and I will get it effortless.

Background system

The background system is also very simple concept: a couple of brackets, or independent stand with a large piece of background fabric to any colour, texture you want. Systems are very cheap depending on your space or budget. I use a bracket with 3 slots for a white, black and one green background for filming.

That is about it. I have taken great photos in my studio and I would recommend anyone serious about photography to set up one, as the results will put you in the professional category immediately.

So as a recap, 2-4 lights and a background is a studio. You do not need anything else and you can start getting outstanding photographs immediately

In the next article, I will show you how to take portraits with studio lighting, using 1, 2 3 and 4 lights and how to arrange them for the best result

home based studio


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About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography