Home Sweet Home
Having a studio in your home is a great thing to consider if you want to start taking more portrait photos without paying to rent studio space. You’ll have to do the math on that one to see where your break-even point would be. If you do decide that a photo studio is right for you, lowering the cost of studio setup will help you spread the money to different things like camera equipment or other expenses.
We are in Houston, TX withMelvyn helping him set up his home studio. Melvyn has a media room that he’d like to convert into a home studio so he can take portraits in his house.
The first thing we went over is painting the walls a flat white color. This will help us not have any color spill on our subject when we shoot. Since the walls will be white, it will help us as a built-in reflector or fill to our subject’s face. However, when we don’t want that fill, we need something like a curtain to cover the white wall.
The other concern we have is space. Since we are working with limited space, we’ll have to easily rearrange things in the room depending on what setup we’re doing. It’s also important to remember that field of view will play a part in designing your studio. You can use the dead space that the camera doesn’t see to hide lights and stands.
Field of View
The room we’re working with is quite shallow. This is sort of a problem if you’re trying to shoot a full-body shot. But Melvyn does have a doorway which leads to a hallway. By positioning the model correctly,Melvyn can increase his view to include a full body with a smaller field of view. It would also help if the door was a few feet towards the center of the room, but you work with what you got!
Once we had the room layout in place, it was time to bust out the tools and drill some holes in the wall. We got some elbow pipes and drilled them into the wall to hold our seamless up. It’s important to measure your pipe to be level. Then you can adjust your seamless, taking it off and on as you please.
We did the same thing for the two curtains.
Working in tight spaces means that you have to find creative solutions. That also means you have to work within those limitations. One suggestion I made toMelvyn was to mount a cheese plate with at 3/10 thread on it so he can mount a light in both corners of the room. This can act as his rim light from either angle. The only thing about that would be having no choice on where the rim light goes.
Different kinds of light are going to mean different types of workflows. Strobes and flashes are compact, but you won’t be able to see the results until after you’ve taken an exposure. Continuous lights are bigger and need more energy to work, but the upside is you can see what the light is doing in the scene in real time.
The first thing to do to become a better shooter is to shoot more! If you shoot every day, you will become better. It’s all about the time and hard work that you’re putting into it. Once you have your niche setup, you need to focus on it. What is it that’s so special about what you love? Why do you feel like you have something different to say about it? These will become your building blocks for creating.
When you create and create, eventually people are going to see your work and think either that you do know what you’re doing, or you don’t. Hopefully, more people will think you do have something to say and will want to work with you. So the game comes from trying to attract attention, to find people to collaborate with you and then hopefully getting paid for it. When you start off, it’s not uncommon to do things for free since you’re learning. But eventually, you should be able to make $75 to upwards of $1,200 for one session.
Now thatMelvyn has a studio space, it’s easier for him to hit the ground running!
Thanks toMelvyn for inviting us to his home!