Monday, March 24, 2008

Get the Goods: My New Home Studio

Interior designers say your home should reflect who you are. Well, mine certainly does now. The first thing people see as they walk through my front door is my new home studio which now boasts my backdrops, Alien Bees and Westcott Spiderlites, reflectors and other tools of the trade. I easily have enough room for a background light and at least two more key lights to create numerous lighting schemes and diagrams such as those seen here.

It doesn't take long before a burgeoning photographer gets tired of rearranging furniture in the living room to make way for a photo shoot. Now, granted some of the first great shots I captured actually (including the lovely shot of Teri and her daughter Avery which graces my banner) took place in a makeshift studio about the size of a walk-in closet in my entertainment room. I parceled off the space in front of the patio doors leading to my backyard, moving back the couch and other furniture. That's some back-breaking work!

While my budget won't currently allow me to rent a private studio, I spent the weekend transforming an unused sitting room in the front of my house into my new home studio. I had grand ideas about having a sitting room filled with shelves overflowing with books, comfy overstuffed chairs, mood lighting and a water fountain for relaxing. So much for good intentions. That room mostly sat empty, and I think I read in that area exactly twice. suggests that the studio should be at least big enough to photograph a person full length using a normal lens, and hopefully roomier if you've got the space. While the studio can be as complex as your space (or budget) will allow, it doesn't have to be for the creation of beautiful pictures, especially basic headshots. "Sometimes, all it taks is a single light, properly positioned, to create the appropriate mood for a fabulous picture." One of my favorite instructors told me that no one would ever be able to tell that a great portrait was taken at the bay windows inside your kitchen, in a corner in your living room or in a cleaned up section of your garage. My sitting room fit the bill and also had a large window for natural light. The room's high ceilings give me plenty of space to set up my backdrops and adequate space to separate my subject from the background.

This picture is a shot of the set I used to take beautiful and sexy boudoir shots of Teri seen in this gallery.

I've also added some of my own framed photos on the white walls to create an overall gallery-type feel. Oddly enough, I think it lends a great air of mystery and expectation for visitors to my home. As soon as people walk in, they can't wait to get in front of the lights or lounge in the chairs I use for props. And then the questions begin: "You take photos? How much do you charge? My family could use some portraits." This could be the cheapest advertising campaign yet for my business!

Need more ideas for setting up your own studio?
Use these tips from, taking special note these warnings:

1) Color finishes on walls and ceiling will create an unwanted cast in color photographs.
2) Make sure the lighting you'll be using will not overload the circuit. To figure out the number of amps drawn by your equipment, divide the lamp wattage by the supply voltage.


Lee said...

Knowing that studio rental here in Raleigh is very reasonable, I did a search for Denver and came up with . Have you looked into this? The flyer lists $25/hour for studio space. Just a suggestion.

Sheba Wheeler said...

Thanks for the tip! Yes, I know about that group and I have worked with some of their photographers as well. I met another photographer in town who offered studio space for rent in a more centralized location that I think will suit my needs better once my budget allows it.

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