If you plan to set up a home studio, there can be a lot of things on your mind and on your to-buy list. But what if I told you that you could make it so much simpler? In fact, you can set up a studio anywhere with just a few props and for some $20. Pye Jirsa teamed up with Adorama to show you an idea for a photo studio you can set up at your home or anywhere else and get professional-looking results on a budget.
What I particularly like about this idea is that it uses available light. It’s not only because I like natural light, but it also means that you don’t need to invest in lighting gear. Also, you can achieve good results with any camera, even your phone. Sure, a phone can’t replace a dedicated DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good lens. But, even a great camera will give you bad results if you don’t have good light. Here are the steps to creating your “studio:”
So, the main thing you’ll need for this setup is natural light coming through a window. You’ll also need dark curtains and sheer curtains, but a simple piece of fabric will do too.
- Start by turning off the ambient light in the room. This way you won’t get mixed lighting and inconsistent tones throughout the shot.
- Now, close down the curtains to leave just a narrow strip of light. This way you’ll basically create a stripbox.
- Use sheer curtains to diffuse the window light. If you don’t have them, a white shower curtain or bed sheet will do the trick.
- As you close down the curtains, the wall behind your subject will become darker. Depending on the wall color it can already look awesome, but you can also add a backdrop. It can be a studio backdrop, or just simple paper or fabric. Find something to clamp it to behind your subject (Pye uses a C-stand).
- Place your subject next to the light source and add the backdrop behind them. Your setup is almost done – you only need to bounce off some shadows. For this, bring in a reflector on the opposite side of the subject’s face. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a white poster board or foam core will do just fine. If you don’t have a C-stand to clamp it on, just put it on a chair. If you want to create more of the edge light you’ll place the light a bit more behind the subject; and if you want to fill all the shadows, place it a bit more forward.
The beauty of this setup is that it doesn’t require lots of gear, meaning that it’s both cheap and simple. Also, it’s easily available: you can set it up pretty much anywhere where there’s a window. Of course, there are many ways to create a home studio and you may need to involve a lot more gear. There are also a lot of excuses not to do it, budget being the most obvious one. But this is a great way to get started and to get beautiful photos if your budget is tight.