Setting up a simple home studio can be extremely beneficial to any photographer. Whether you’re a professional portrait photographer or a graphic designer who needs product shots, a home studio gives you a place to work, experiment and learn new things. Below we’ll take a look at a few considerations to keep in mind when creating your own studio.

The Room

The first thing to consider is obviously space. You’ll need to empty out the garage or convince your spouse to let you convert the spare bedroom.

Ideally, you’ll want something nice and spread out with plenty of room to move around after it gets filled with equipment. Realistically, your home is probably full enough without a studio, so you’ll have to overcome claustrophobia and squish it in wherever you have room.

You’ll want to choose a room where you can tightly control the lighting environment at any time of the day or night. Natural light can be a great tool but if your studio has a window, make sure you have a way to completely block off the light coming from it for the many cases where you won’t want it interfering with the shot.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not the room is climate controlled, especially if you’re going to be storing your equipment there permanently. Also, unless you’re going for that sweaty look, this wouldn’t be the best environment to take photos in!


Any good studio has a few backdrops to take photos against. It’s probably a good idea to avoid cliche photographic backdrops like you’d expect to see at a shopping mall photo studio and instead opt for something simpler. Solid colors work, as well as something with a little texture (as long as it’s not too busy).

Backdrops commonly come in a variety of different materials and textures including muslin (cotton), canvas, vinyl, or just plain old paper. Of course, to start off you could take the poor man route and grab a bed sheet or some butcher paper and build a stand out of PVC pipe like in the picture above.

diy photo lights


There are essentially two primary choices for studio lighting: continuous or flash. Continuous lighting rigs tend to run cheaper but burn a lot hotter and aren’t as versatile as flashes. With flashes you tend have much more power, increased quality of light and a much wider range of possibilities.

We recommend starting off small and purchasing a kit with two or three flashes. This should be plenty to achieve excellent results in a number of different styles and you can always add to it a piece at a time.


Umbrellas or Soft-boxes

Looking at various lighting kits might have you wondering whether you should go for an umbrella or softbox setup for your studio. Which is better? There’s no absolute solution to this question as they both have pros and cons. Both essentially modify and filter light to make it softer and less harsh when it hits the subject.

Umbrellas are usually cheaper and fairly versatile. They often come with a reflective cover that allows you to shoot light into the umbrella and have it bounce back out or simply filter the light right through the material with the cover removed. Umbrellas can spread light out over a wide area and are therefore great for large rooms or groups of people. Finally, umbrellas are quicker to setup and tear down than softboxes, which can be quite complicated!

Softboxes tend to be a little pricier but they allow you to focus and cont

rol your light in a small area a lot better than umbrellas. These are perfect for when you’re shooting a single subject or are confined to a smaller area. Softboxes also make for much less distracting reflections than the shape you’ll get from the umbrella.

Most professional photographers would prefer to have a few of each but if you have a limited budget and are just getting started, umbrellas are a perfect first step.

The Necessities

There’s almost no end to the goodies you can put into your studio, but before you start considering mini fridges and plasma televisions, think about the things you’ll absolutely need. For instance, you’ll definitely have to pick up a decent tripod or two. You’ll also need extension cords and surge protectors to rig all that equipment up.

If you’re using flashes, you should consider some triggers so you’ll have the freedom to move around. Finally, get a ladder to snag some above shots (and to help hang your backdrop), some curtains that people can change clothes behind, and a mirror or two for those last minute makeup and hair checks.

Don’t feel like you have to get everything at once, plenty of photographers take years to build a respectable studio. Be careful of investing too much money into a hobby that isn’t generating revenue. As you start getting paid jobs you can reinvest some money back into your equipment fund.

If you’ve already made the most of your DIY home photography studio and are now looking to take your shoots to the next level, check out our fully-equipped photography studio for rental. WIth multiple plans and options available you can tailor shoot individual shoots to your specific requirements: Whether you’re looking to hire our Photo Studio for just a few hours or opting for long terms usage, Contact Us to find the best options, in an ever better studio, at the most competitive rates!