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How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio

January 24

21 min. to read

Studio set-up photography is one of the most convenient options for realizing your ideas and getting creative. You can create your own environment with large-size equipment, that you don't use in out-of-home photo shoots, use more props, and so on.

But the next level of your activity is a photoshoot setup at home. And right away you have no understanding of what you'll need. You're trying to understand the equipment you need. You may have concerns about getting the space right and having enough space in your first studio. Don't be afraid! You don't need to break your head over these things! Let's figure out together how to set up a photo studio at home.

How to Choose Your Photo Studio Location

Deciding where to locate your studio depends on your financial and professional abilities. If you don't own a suitable space, you will need to spend money on renting. If you do not have a large initial capital, consider small photography studio ideas.

The location of your studio depends on the type of photography you are working with, namely:

  • If you are focused on family or portrait photography, residential neighborhoods will suit you;
  • You should be building a photography studio near the city center if you are more focused on photography for business (e.g., advertising products).

It is also worth remembering that, if your professional skills are far from ideal, it is better to invest in self-education, and postpone temporarily setting up a photo studio.

Basic Equipment Setup For a Home Photography Studio

Your main task is to figure out what kind of equipment and accessories you come in handy for working in a studio. You can divide such a set into basic and auxiliary items. Don't spend a lot of money to buy everything at once, because you will definitely not need all the pieces of equipment.

Home photography studio kit can be divided into such basic items, namely:

  • Lighting. Immediately you may need one light source, but two or three will give you more options. Auxiliary items can be a handheld or studio flash;
  • A remote flash tool. You need to consider that it should fit your equipment in terms of specifications. Such a tool will certainly come in photography set up, and will take the shake out of your shot;
  • Lighting modifiers. If your studio is not big, choose compact versions of a reflector and an umbrella; 
  • Light stands. I recommend not saving on quality models, this can save you the cost of new equipment;
  • Backgrounds. At the beginning of your photography studio setup, a folding background will be quite enough for you.

Secondary, but less important items for organizing studio space include such acquisitions, namely:

  • A fan that can be used not only for your own comfort but also during studio photoshoot setup;
  • Extension cords for large quantities of equipment;
  • Stepladder, for changing lighting and the angle when taking photos; 
  • Chairs can also be used during the photo shoot. It may be other convenient furniture.

As you see, for a small home photography studio you will not need a lot of equipment at the beginning.

Lighting Equipment

Of course, you can use natural light, but to make professional photography, you will need some lighting equipment. You do need to think about this point carefully when starting your photography studio building to realize your work. The number of light sources depends on your requirements, but to create interesting effects, and styles it would be nice to have at least three light sources. It could be a flash, strobe, reflector, or other options that will help you when you plan a photoshoot set up.

Each light source or modifier has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

LED Lights

This is one of the most inexpensive options for a permanent source of light, which you can, by the way, complement the homemade multi-colored filters. Such lamps can cost you about a few tens of dollars. This is a cheap and reliable way to make your studio photography setup. LED lights can help you a lot if your subject is an inanimate object (like your baby's first pacifier, in family shots).


If you use a flash in your photography, another light source you might want to use is speed lights or strobes. This is also an important element in studio setup photography. Using this equipment you can create a heroic effect in the frame, thanks to the short and bright flashes. On sale are pre-packaged kits that include umbrellas, remote triggers, flashes, as well as softboxes.

Also, the advantage of speedlights is that they are portable, and you can use them in roadside photography.

Strobe Lights

Also, during the photography studio set up, you will need strobe lights, which have already been mentioned. Its difference from speedlight is this saturation of light, which it gives, as well as the possibility of greater control by using additional equipment.

Also, I would like to pay special attention to mono lamp strobes, with which you can use a wide variety of light modifiers. When using different diffusers, you get a quality-controlled light. Their cost is quite high but justified.

Fresnel lens lights also come in handy when setting up a photography studio. The lenses of that luminaire give a very powerful light and are great for taking pictures of an object from a distance. It was also a good choice for very dark locations.

Light Modifiers

In addition, in order to get unique pictures you can not do without light modifiers to control the direction and diffuse light. There are types of modifiers, without which you can not do at a home photo studio, namely:

  • umbrellas, which are divided into translucent and reflective. They are useful for portrait and advertising shots;
  • softboxes that give you soft, diffused light;
  • scrims, which help you adjust the focus in soft lighting.

Choose a Background

How to make a studio set up for photography? You can't do it without buying backdrops. They can be made of fabric, vinyl, paper, and other options. Each option will have a different function so choose based on your needs. 

Fabric Backdrops

They are made from these types of fabric: velvet, and muslin canvas. This kind of background can be depicted as landscapes or the image you need to implement a creative idea. In addition, using a velvet background, you can add extravagance to the frame.

Paper Backgrounds

This is the cheapest option for backgrounds in photostudio setup. This kind of backdrop is quite easy to store and does not take up much space. Don't forget to buy accessories for the paper background to hold it during the photo shoot.


This version of the background is very convenient and does not require additional maintenance. This background will help you realize any idea, considering the variety of all sorts of images and textures.

Tips on Making a DIY Home Photography Studio Setup

Creating your own studio, in which you are both the owner and the creator, is an incredibly exciting and inspiring process. Lots of emotions, but also lots of questions. Let's figure out together how not to get overwhelmed and use your powers productively.

Decide on a Location

If you have a small room in your photo studio at home, try to find a place with natural light (a window). This will help save space for additional equipment.

If you are able to use a large number of squares you can create a corner with a portfolio of your works.

Optimize Your Home Photo Studio

You will need a comfortable desk where you will produce post-processing. Preferably, that would be able to make it mobile, that is, attach wheels.

In addition, you can place shelves under the ceiling of the studio for storing equipment. It will save space, and unnecessary equipment in the process of photographing will not interfere with you.

Furnish Your Home Photography Studio

Your studio is your business, so it needs to look presentable. Create a cozy environment, with the ability to offer your clients a cup of coffee, and comfortable changing facilities.

Pay Special Attention to the Light in the Photo Shoot Setup

It was explained in detail in the article above about what kind of lighting is desirable, but remember that less light will result in better exposure.

Once Again About the Light Modifiers

This was also discussed in the paragraph above, but I would like to add the following. When using a softbox, you can add extra layers of fabric to get a better result with scattered light.

Expand Your Tool Kit During the Photo Studio Set Up

  • You will need the following tools that you can use, or replace them with something that performs a similar function:
  • A large white sheet can replace your reflector, performing a similar function, but this way you can save money;
  • Of course, you will need a tripod to take away unnecessary shaking and to untie your hands, for example, to help your client fix their hair or props; 
  • Between a desktop computer and a laptop, I recommend choosing the second. It allows you to show the result to your client right during the photo shoot, and it will add some comfort to you if you suddenly want to work on it while lying on the couch in the evening;
  • Place sandbags in your studio to support your light modifiers. You can buy such an attribute, or you can create it yourself, spending money only for the bags;
  • Your equipment and accessories can be stored in special bags, which are small and inconvenient. Therefore you can create a special place to store your equipment with your own hands from plastic containers and rubber sealant. So you will create a special place to store your equipment, which afterward can be placed on the previously thought-out shelves under the ceiling.

Create Your Own Backdrop During the Home Photo Studio Setup

If you do not have enough space in your photo studio for a special backdrop frame and you do not have a lot of money, you can use the following DIY hacks:

  • Use a sheet of white, ivory, or another calm shade that you can find in any home. A photo quilt can also help you out;
  • In any fabric store, you can buy fabrics with the right pattern, color, and other parameters, and the right size. Which is also convenient for storage;
  • For fixing such a backdrop you will be suitable for a doorway or curtain rod.

DIY-Hack Props in Home Photography Studio Ideas

To implement promotional content ideas you will only need to purchase:

  • at a stationery store colorful paper or cardboard;
  • at a construction store for flooring tiles, where you can choose different tile textures.

Also, props for photos can be the home accessories that you use to decorate your home, flowers from your garden, and anything else you can think of.

How Do You Start a Home Photography Business?

Once you've figured out how to set up a photography studio, you have to understand that the business needs to be organized in a way that makes it financially rewarding and allows you to move forward. Let's look at some effective tips.

Promote Yourself and Your Work

In order that would quickly run an advertisement at the stage of start of a photo studio, use your inner circle and friends. After you make them a newsletter with your work and offers, they are likely to continue it for their acquaintances who may need your services.

Advertise in Your Neighborhood

After you've set up a professional photography studio setup, do some advertising in your neighborhood. This can be advertising brochures in stores, for example. This is done because there are definitely customers in your neighborhood such as:

  • educational institutions that regularly have events of all kinds and may need a photographer;
  • institutions and companies that often hold conferences, and they may need your services for their own publicity or to capture important moments;
  • families who will want to make postcards for their family and friends who can't be around.

Create a Project

This activity may take you more time than you would spend on photography studio setup ideas, but trust me, you will be impressed with the results. Create a themed project that could interest the public on its actual topic, to attract the media, and subsequently, new customers. The main thing that the subject matter was relevant, for example:

  • protection of animals and their endangered species;
  • protest against deforestation of plants, and thus intervention in the ecosystem of the planet;
  • recycling, and other relevant topics.

Create a Sales Tool

You can create a website even before you're done with your home studio ideas photography. Such a tool will promote your activities and also bring new customers. The site does not have to be one, use different platforms and social networks. Actively manage them, post varied and colorful content, communicate with visitors, and respond to their requests.

Photo Editing Software

You might need to invest regularly in self-education, your hardware, and photo editing software. One of the most comfortable to work with is Luminar Neo. It will help you create colorful photos and show as much details as possible. This editor is based on artificial intelligence, which gives you the opportunity to edit pictures quickly and easily. And it is possible to do it manually based on your personal preferences as well. Also, this software gives an opportunity for a fantastic retouching of portraits taken in your home photo studio. Luminar Neo is able to distinguish individual facial features and work on improving them. Try it and you will love it!

Let's Talk About the Price

When you have already answered the question: "How to build a professional photography studio"? — the question arises about the cost of implementation. No one can answer this question by calculating to the penny! 

If you can't afford to invest a big sum of money at once in building a studio, use all possible ways to save money, such as:

  • Buying equipment or lighting sets for the studio that have already been in use. It is desirable to come to an agreement with a seller about a guarantee for the purchase, because the risk of failure of such equipment is, of course, higher than with new equipment;
  • Use tips for creating DIY reflectors and props. In addition to those mentioned, there is an incredible amount more on the Internet, and you can definitely still come up with something yourself. Don't think about the fact that it won't be professional. There are millions of photographers who use these methods;
  • It is worth remembering that when you have a home photography studio setup you should think about having enough natural light to save on the purchase of additional equipment. And in this situation, by the way, homemade modifiers can help you;
  • Think well about what you need during the work, so as not to waste money.

Last Words About Studio Setup for Photography

Well, you are familiar with the basic tips for getting your home photo studio up and running. Work on increasing the number of clients, and improving your own professional skills. Do not forget to regularly advertise yourself and your photography studio. Be creative, and if you adhere to the home photo studio setup tips, you are sure to succeed!

How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio | Skylum How-to(2)

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Our team of passionate photography enthusiasts at Skylum has been committed to assisting you in discovering the world through your lens for over a decade. We're dedicated to providing photographers like you with easy-to-use tools and valuable resources to help you capture your vision and produce beautiful photos. Our articles are filled with friendly tips, industry insights, and inspiring stories from other creative individuals in photography. Together, we can help you grow your photography skills to new heights. Join us on this exciting journey of exploration, creativity, and growth.

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How to Set Up a Home Photography Studio | Skylum How-to(14)