login info join!
Forums > Photography Talk > Low budget (and small space) home photo studio? Search   Reply
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
ACPhotography
Posts: 8,622
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  Quote 
Photographer
Keith A Williams
Posts: 1,740
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
S de Varax
Posts: 7,271
Paris, Île-de-France, France


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  Quote 
Photographer
Innovative Imagery
Posts: 2,815
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  Quote 
Photographer
Abbitt Photography
Posts: 11,692
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Mossack
Posts: 1,250
Joplin, Missouri, US


Apr 09 11 09:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GER Photography
Posts: 7,881
Imperial, California, US


One room, 12 x 14 x 8, too damn small!!
Apr 09 11 09:22 pm  Link  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
Keith_R
Posts: 845
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US


.
Apr 10 11 09:42 am  Link  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
GM Photography
Posts: 6,095
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
BlackArts - Jenna Black
Posts: 4,100
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: 1,135
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  Quote 
Photographer
BlackArts - Jenna Black
Posts: 4,100
Riverside, California, US


Since when is a covered implied topless shot 18+?
Apr 11 11 12:00 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Awesometographer
Posts: 10,973
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  Quote 
Photographer
ConnorStewart
Posts: 1,163
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  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,878
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
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  Quote 
Photographer
Gallery 59 Photography
Posts: 865
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  Quote 
  Search   Reply