Forums > Photography Talk > Low budget (and small space) home photo studio?

Photographer

Juscott

Posts: 51

New York, New York, US

Seeking feedback on those of you who shoot in ultra-low-budget home studios...I'm talking bathrooms, kitchens, closets, etc.

I'm 100% outdoors right now because I like working with sunlight...but also because I don't have (what I think is) sufficient space at home. But I wonder if "studio photography" is possible in extremely small spaces? I'm talking portraits.

I'd like to see sample photos for those of you who share my space issues at home.

Apr 09 11 06:44 pm Link

Photographer

K M Photo

Posts: 79

Ashford, Washington, US

Why confine yourself to outdoors just because you lack studio space and/or equipment?  Window light can be a gorgeous way to light portraits.  Add a reflector or two (purchased or homemade) and you're good to go.  I shot this way for several years before I purchased some studio lighting.  Even with access to lighting, I often prefer window light.

Apr 09 11 06:51 pm Link

Photographer

ACPhotography

Posts: 8622

Plainview, New York, US

Juscott wrote:
Seeking feedback on those of you who shoot in ultra-low-budget home studios...I'm talking bathrooms, kitchens, closets, etc.

I'm 100% outdoors right now because I like working with sunlight...but also because I don't have (what I think is) sufficient space at home. But I wonder if "studio photography" is possible in extremely small spaces? I'm talking portraits.

I'd like to see sample photos for those of you who share my space issues at home.

I already own a ton of lighting equipment so I can help you on that low budget end...

Foam core is your best friend... It's light, cheap and you can get it in white and black...

I was forced to move into my garage for the time being, I have roughly 12" by about 18" worth of shooting room... Did I mention the 7 1/2 foot ceiling? It's not what I'm used to but I'm making the best of it right now. My Paper is hanging off the wall with hooks and electrical conduit.

Apr 09 11 06:53 pm Link

Photographer

Keith A Williams

Posts: 1740

Vanceboro, North Carolina, US

Yes, quite possible... but you don't realize how aggravating it is until you have to do it.

I shoot primarily on location because I enjoy it the most.  I do have a small setup here that I use for self portraits and dramatic lighting as well as to test lighting and ideas, but minimal heat and no AC - and looks really dirt-poor, that I don't invite people to shoot in it.

It is literally a small space inside my storage building.  I only have room for one background to hang at a time which is about 8 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide and results in a ground runner that runs to about 12ft. x 23 ft. of USABLE shooting space, which sounds fine until you figure that I like to have around 10 ft. between subject and backdrop, so that rules out the 70-200mm for anything other than 3/4 shots, and I have to rely on another for full body shots. 

I have a Photogrnec 600 with starfish, and a Strobelite, and an assortment of speedlights, manual slaves, reflectors, umbrellas, and softboxes, stands, and one medium boom.  Does it work?  Hell yea.  The results are much better than the ones I have for public view (done with my portable rig for locations) but certainly ghetto and really limiting on options. 

KAW.

Apr 09 11 06:56 pm Link

Photographer

K M Photo

Posts: 79

Ashford, Washington, US

If you need inexpensive studio options, check out this website

http://www.prophotolife.com/

This guy was doing great short DIY videos.  I used several of his ideas.  The stick-in-a-can works incredibly well for background stands.  Better than most expensive stands in fact.

Apr 09 11 06:58 pm Link

Photographer

S de Varax

Posts: 7271

Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

All of my work which aren't clearly on location, have been done at home. I convert the bench space for hair/makeup, the walls and curtain becomes my backdrop for a more studio environment, and I get lovely window light in the bedroom for 'natural' portraits.

Apr 09 11 07:01 pm Link

Photographer

Innovative Imagery

Posts: 2815

Los Angeles, California, US

One of the things that screams amature or crap photography is not enough space to shoot in. 

In other words, if the model doesn't fit the space for the type shot.  Sure you can do a pretty nice head shot in 10 feet of total depth, but not with the 200mm lens image quality that people expect. 

If your model fits in the space and can relate to the space and furniture, rather than stand in front of a wrinkly background that shows the wrinkles in the final image, that can work too.

So the point behind all this is, get creative and increase the depth as much as possible and if you can't, then find another place to shoot that won't cramp your creative ability.

General rules of thumb for photography in portraiture is a subject 6 feet off the back ground and the lens a medium ~ 135mm telephoto to create a head and shoulders image.  200 mm for tight head shot.  And enough room on the sides to not see the edges of the background and room for your lights.

Apr 09 11 07:09 pm Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 11721

Oakland Acres, Iowa, US

About half in the images in my portfolio were taken in my living room.  I have three rolls of seamless hanging at one end and move furniture out of the way for shoots.

Apr 09 11 07:57 pm Link

Photographer

ByteStudio

Posts: 921

Bainbridge Island, Washington, US

Garages, hallways, basements, living rooms.

The first row of my portfolio is all in the basement living room of my rental.

One of the most amazing beauty photographers I know shoots (shot?) in his living room while leaning on the back of his couch.

Ric

Apr 09 11 08:04 pm Link

Photographer

KLM Photography

Posts: 160

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

If you're comfortable shooting at home and inviting people into your personal space, I see no reason not to shoot at a home studio.
My good friend Sabrina Elaine does many of her shoots at home.

Apr 09 11 08:10 pm Link

Photographer

Keith_R

Posts: 845

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Juscott wrote:
Seeking feedback on those of you who shoot in ultra-low-budget home studios...I'm talking bathrooms, kitchens, closets, etc.

I'm 100% outdoors right now because I like working with sunlight...but also because I don't have (what I think is) sufficient space at home. But I wonder if "studio photography" is possible in extremely small spaces? I'm talking portraits.

I'd like to see sample photos for those of you who share my space issues at home.

You can set up to do portraits in about any space that you can find (or place!) light and a subject...

Daylight, (literally!) in the corner of my bedroom...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2746/4154368451_2f9ea21665.jpg
DSCF0227 by kyhsmith52, on Flickr

Spare bedroom (9'x12'), fills up pretty quickly with lightstands, softbox and furniture
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/090203/08/49887671e67cd_m.jpg

Very small bathroom (about 6'x6', not including the tub!). The vanity, toilet and closet take up much of the floor space. Lighting details in link:
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/4334061122_437401c034.jpg
Tanisha Takes a Break by kyhsmith52, on Flickr

In the corner of the living room... maybe about six feet from subject... lit with a small flash bounced from white ceiling
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5265/5603087297_fbc0eed376.jpg
Chassidy by kyhsmith52, on Flickr

All of the images linked here from my flickr account were done with minimal (and I do mean minimal) gear. The one image linked from my port here on Mayhem was done with my studio strobes, softbox and my good camera smile.

Apr 09 11 08:31 pm Link

Photographer

Robert Mossack

Posts: 1251

Joplin, Missouri, US

Apr 09 11 09:18 pm Link

Photographer

GER Photography

Posts: 7929

Imperial, California, US

One room, 12 x 14 x 8, too damn small!!

Apr 09 11 09:22 pm Link

Photographer

Keith_R

Posts: 845

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Taken in a long-ish, yet narrow bathroom. Shot through doorway (removed door!) in order to avoid mirror reflections of the two strobes used to light the scene...

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/199667_209686025724365_100000489061113_847851_4349314_n.jpg

Apr 09 11 09:35 pm Link

Photographer

Keith_R

Posts: 845

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

.

Apr 10 11 09:42 am Link

Photographer

Jean Pierre Billard

Posts: 184

New York, New York, US

My living room and dining room area, Savage color paper 53" wide....
Have to work with models less than 7 feet tall!!....One or two Canon flash.
Frustrating and challenging but manageable.

Apr 10 11 12:35 pm Link

Photographer

GM Photography

Posts: 6100

Olympia, Washington, US

I have a roll of 9' seamless in my garage with some lights and that's my "studio".  I have about 15' X 18' of shooting room there.  I've taken shots all over my house as well.

Believe me when I say my house is not photogenic.

My living room:  http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/080914/22/48cdccb7db231_m.jpg

My back porch:  18+ http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/17398290

My "excercise room" - a very small (10' X 12' maybe?) spare bedroom which has a universal gym right in the middle of it.  I was maybe 2 feet from the model.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100203/07/4b6992c707a91_m.jpg

My kitchen:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/geeman39/3 … /lightbox/

My laundry room:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/geeman39/3 … /lightbox/

Apr 10 11 01:09 pm Link

Photographer

edltphoto

Posts: 280

San Pedro, California, US

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/167805_790142810378_6703273_42521253_5517345_n.jpg

I work out of my backyard whenever I can, but I really don't like it. It's bad enough I do my editing/accounting/planning/meeting from my home. I'm the type of person that likes to keep my worlds separate, and I'm working on moving my business out of my living area -- but for now I must do what I must.

Apr 10 11 01:48 pm Link

Retoucher

Retouch Artistry

Posts: 459

Tampa, Florida, US

There's a lot to be said for ditching the livingroom in favor of a home studio. big_smile

Apr 10 11 02:30 pm Link

Photographer

Juscott

Posts: 51

New York, New York, US

Thanks all! Even though I see a small home space not ideal, based upon these responses it can clearly still accommodate some basic portrait photography.

Of course, I'll never give up the great outdoors, but sometimes an outdoor session is just too difficult logistically or weather-wise.

-Justin

Apr 10 11 08:03 pm Link

Photographer

BlackArts - Jenna Black

Posts: 4100

Riverside, California, US

Post hidden on Apr 10, 2011 10:26 pm
Reason: 18+ Images

Apr 10 11 09:46 pm Link

Photographer

Happy Guy Photos

Posts: 1140

Upland, California, US

My avatar was taken in the living room using natural light. I have a tall retaining wall outside which acts as a big beautiful reflector. Can't beat that! 


Gabby

Apr 10 11 09:52 pm Link

Photographer

BlackArts - Jenna Black

Posts: 4100

Riverside, California, US

Since when is a covered implied topless shot 18+?

Apr 11 11 12:00 am Link

Photographer

Awesometographer

Posts: 10973

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Das Kitchenstudio:

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/studio.jpg

http://www.jayleavitt.com/links/siah_2.jpg

Apr 11 11 12:06 am Link

Photographer

ConnorStewart

Posts: 1163

Los Angeles, California, US

i went and did a check cause i was curious....all my inside shots are done in 3 different apartment livingrooms, one house spare bedroom, one apartment hallway....it kind of shocked me. haha.

Apr 11 11 12:12 am Link

Photographer

Kevin Connery

Posts: 16906

El Segundo, California, US

Moderator Warning!

BlackArts - Jenna Black wrote:
Since when is a covered implied topless shot 18+?

When a nipple shows.

Apr 11 11 12:13 am Link

Photographer

Keith_R

Posts: 845

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

BlackArts - Jenna Black wrote:
Since when is a covered implied topless shot 18+?

(Responding to this post, since the previous one was flagged...)

I use the loop thingie on the pop-up reflectors too... very handy for hanging the reflector on any screw/hook/whatever protruding from anything. I take it one step further. I like to zip up a wire coat hanger into the envelope of the pop-up reflector, so that the hook of the coat hanger comes out where the the loop of the reflector does. This way I can also hang it over doors and mouldings and... well, anywhere you can hang a wire coat hanger smile

Apr 11 11 06:03 am Link

Photographer

Charlotte_Sometimes

Posts: 453

Banbury, England, United Kingdom

Juscott wrote:
Seeking feedback on those of you who shoot in ultra-low-budget home studios...I'm talking bathrooms, kitchens, closets, etc.

I'm 100% outdoors right now because I like working with sunlight...but also because I don't have (what I think is) sufficient space at home. But I wonder if "studio photography" is possible in extremely small spaces? I'm talking portraits.

I'd like to see sample photos for those of you who share my space issues at home.

All my indoor "studio" shots were done in my lounge...  some of them I was standing in the kitchen...

Apr 11 11 09:16 am Link

Photographer

Gallery 59 Photography

Posts: 868

Glendale, Arizona, US

I shoot in a pretty small space in my home, and while I wish it was much, much bigger, it works for now. I work full time as a photographer, but it's mostly on location stuff, so really the only time I shoot from home is about 10% of the time. Not enough to justify having my own studio somewhere and paying rent. If you look in the second photo, you can see my knees! That's how cramped it is! But I'm not complaining as I've had some fun shoots in that room!

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s132/brknbck89/DSC_0003-2.jpg

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s132/brknbck89/DSC_0171-2.jpg

Apr 11 11 10:10 am Link