• Ailsa Clare

How I Set Up My Small Photography Studio

Many photographers dream of having their own studio to practice their craft. Now you must be wondering, how can I make a photography studio at home?

Well, what if I told you it’s easy to get started? Here are some tips on how to set up a low-cost photo studio at home!


You don’t need to have access to a 100 square metre venue to take studio portraits. You can convert a spare room or even a shed into a home photography studio.

Working in smaller spaces can be quite challenging. It demands a good deal of flexibility, the ability to make compromises, and a lot of creativity.

But then again, you are not going to need a lot of equipment for your home studio. In most cases, even a 100 square-foot room is enough to fit all of your photography gear. Place your background stand against one of the walls, set up the light stands in front, and that’s it!


Be aware that the size of your home studio may affect the light in your photos.

It’s easier to control artificial light in large photography studios. In very small places with a low ceiling, light can be more of a problem.

So if your space is small, it would be best to stick to window lighting. It never fails to create pleasing light no matter the size of your studio.

TIP! Have a table on wheels so you can manoeuvre it to where the lighting is best on that day, I got mine from amazon!


What AreThe Basics?

So what equipment do you need for a photography studio?

It’s quite surprising how little equipment you need for most photoshoots.

Here is a handy list of basic gear setup for a small home studio:

  • Lights  One light and a reflector are more than enough to start. But two or three lights will give you the best flexibility. I went for something like this to start me off!

  • Lighting modifiers Neewer and Godox produce cheap umbrellas, softboxes, and octaboxes. These are quite good and fold into small, easy-to-store packages.

  • Background – A collapsible background is a good way to start. That is if you cannot install a permanent background. Impact and other brands are not too expensive. For smaller items and product photography I invested in some reversible, wipe clean backdrops from Tabletopflex. I also have many mount boards in various colours from The Range or Hobby Craft


Other Optional Gear

Photography gear aren’t the only pieces of equipment you need for your home photography studio. You should also consider these everyday accessories you’ll need for your shoots:

  • Step ladders  Ladders are useful to change your point of view. But also to change the orientation and settings of your lights.

  • Wet wipes and cleaning products, make sure you give the area you're using a clean before getting started, dust does not hide!

  • Props – Consider having some props around. I have a probs box where I keep everything to hand.

  • Extension leads- Your home photography studio setup should have a few power sockets around. You’ll likely have to plug in gear all the time when taking pictures. These could be lights, laptop (if you shoot tethered), and chargers.


How Much Does It Cost To Build A Photography Studio?

You want to ensure your equipment meets your needs. Don't go spending loads of money on a light that you’ll never use.

The good news is you can find plenty of home studio kits online for cheap. This set can be bought for £135 on Amazon.

Most kits include two light stands two modifiers, background stand, and muslin backgrounds.

If, like me, you're specifying in product photography, then all of that equipment might not be necessary and the purchase of a few lights and some backdrops will be suffice.


Light Modifiers

  • Reflectors – They bounce light back into the scene. 5-in-1 reflectors provide various types of reflective surfaces. In one package, you get silver, gold, white, black, and translucent.

  • Umbrellas  The cheapest light modifiers you can buy. They soften light from the flash.

  • Softboxes/Octaboxes  more expensive than umbrellas, they allow you to have better control over your light. They also produce a softer glow in general.


How Do You Start a Home Photography Business?

Having a small studio is enough to start a business. Once you’re comfortable with your lighting set-up, ask your friends if they need professional photos taken.

There are also tons of brands out there that need pictures of their products. You can ask local businesses if they need e-commerce photos and photograph their items for sale. Use the money you earn to buy more equipment and if you wish, rent a real studio for your business.


Don't get too stuck on the idea of the perfect, ideal photography studio and equipment. What more important is your creativity and your willingness to squeeze the most out from what you have to work with.

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