What equipment will I need to get started for a home studio?


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Dec 30, 2011
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Suggestions please...I will hopefully be moving into a new home soon and I WILL set up a studio in it even though it will be small. I am thinking of creating a room inside of a huge open room that will be about 15x15 feet. The rest will be my son's playroom. Anyway, an exterior wall with a nice big window will be one of the studio walls so there will be lots of natural light. Do I paint the walls and ceiling white? What lighting equipment will work in such a small space? Basically, what do I need for a basic setup? Any ideas would be terrific. Thanks :D
More space! really! My livingroom is 14x21 and it's too small! LOL!
You can definitely do it in your space. You'll just need wide angle lenses and to work with it.
Your walls don't necessarily have to be white, but you don't want them to be a STRONG color because of color casts. Especially if you are wanting to try to use a lot of natural light.

HOW would I do it if I had to use the space as double duty? Curtain tracks-one across the whole wall you are going to use as your background wall. On the back one I'd include my backdrops (black, white and whatever else you want). That way they are hanging and you aren't battling wrinkles every time you pull them out. You just slide them out along the track. In front of the curtain track I'd hang a curtain rod on each side. Wide one. With a curtain, drape or fabric that accents the decor of the room. Then you just slide your backdrops back behind the decorative drape and they're gone.
Now with lighting I'd love to have them on tracks from the ceiling, but we are now talking some big bucks here...

For your lights it depends upon what you want to do. If you're just doing your own family portraits and maybe one or two people I'd probably go with a few speedlights with stands and modifiers for size and portability. If you are wanting to have MORE I'd go ahead with probably a 3 light setup.

For furniture-make your room furniture do double duty! Props and posing as well as the room furniture.

Now I need a budget to work with for your lights and if you want to go the speedlight route or the full strobe setup?
Ideally, the room should be a neutral tone. Black/white or a neutral shade of gray would work.

Black typically doesn't look or feel good for a multi purpose room. White could be good, but it reflects a lot of light, which may make it hard to control your lighting is a smaller space.

A 'natural light' studio can be great, but it's hard to rely on natural light and it can tend to get pretty monotonous. But if you start using your own artificial lighting, you may want to cut out the natural light, so if your studio has windows, I'd suggest that you have a good solution for blinds/drapes etc. that will allow you to block the natural light when needed.

15 feet by 15 feet isn't huge, but might be OK for smaller shoots. Ceiling height is usually an issue with a home studio. You want as much height as you can get.

As for lighting equipment...well, just about anything will work...but can you tell us more? What will you be shooting? What is your budget?
I guess I should rethink the size. The room is now a 30x30 with four huge windows. But, my wild child needs a playroom so I can keep the house clean LOL I need to just think this out more I guess.
You can do it in there... Really! Your child won't be in the play room when you are shooting, so you can back your camera up into the play area, etc! It's just a double duty room. there's no way you could leave lights out with a child arnound anyway, so if you think about it... you can almost use the full 30x30 when you are shooting. You'll need storage for your lights, etc no matter what you do. The 30x30 space you can possibly work in is great!
Unless you are going to be shooting large groups, length is much more useful that width for a photography studio. 15' wide by 30' long would be very useful.

MLeek has some good points. It may not be too much trouble to use the whole space for both photography and a kids playroom...just make sure you have have storage for each so that you can switch between the two easily.

I operated like that for a while. But I eventually had to turn my studio space in a spare bedroom. I actually use my backdrop stands and backdrop as a wall for the 'bedroom', so if I can clear the toys away, I can still shoot down there...I just don't have as much room.


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