Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Setting Up Your Lighting Studio

Setting up a home studio can be extremely beneficial to any photographer. Whether you’re a professional portrait photographer or an amateur just starting to get into studio lighting, a home studio gives you a place to work and learn new things without putting the added dint into your bank account.

Over the week I am going to give you some things you should consider while you are creating your home studio set-up.  Then we will get into individual lighting techniques for a few days...

The Home Studio Space


The first thing to consider is creating a space. You do not need a large space, a 12 x 12 space would work. It would be tight, but doable… maybe empty out 1/2 of the garage and make your spouse park in the driveway or convert a spare bedroom into a make shift studio. (good luck with that conversation...LOL)

Ideally, you’ll want something with plenty of room to move around after it gets filled with studio or makeshift lights, your camera, a backdrop and other equipment. If your home is anything like mine it is probably full enough without a studio, so you will have to work with what you have until such time as you want, or can afford to rent some space.

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 from affecting your shots… You can use thick vertical or horizontal blinds or thick fabric you can pick up at any fabric store in bulk.

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. Where I live the typical garage can stay well below the freezing point in the winter and exceed 100 degrees with the humidity in the summer… definitely not the ideal place to store thousands of dollars in photography equipment. But not only your gear can be affected, but your model will be under the hot lights while you are shooting… add humidity to that, and they will be standing in a puddle of water in no time… so consider the ambient temperatures and prepare for the change in weather!

The color of the space will also have an effect on your photos. Stay away from colored walls. Light bounces and colored walls will cast a colored hue on your images. You should try and stick to white or beige colored walls for your space… one other thing to remember about color… white reflects and black eliminates flash light… and the height of the room will impact the light. It’s a balance in your space that you will need to figure out through test shots to achieve the best lighting…

One final consideration is ambient noise. If you just shoot still photos than you’ll be fine with any room but if you’re ever going to shoot video you’ll want to choose a room far away from appliances or screaming kids.

Come on back to my blog tomorrow when we will be discussing “backdrops”