Home photography studio
Your home photography studio is the perfect destination to explore the finer points of lighting techniques. If you are lucky enough to possess a spare bedroom, an unused garage or a converted attic, then you’re well on the way. Even if none of them are an option for a permanent photo studio, you might still cover the cost of part-time use of another room at home.
How much space will be needed and what photography studio equipment you will need depends upon what you would like to shoot. For example, should your main interest be small natural history subjects and still-lifes, then a room of approximately 9 to 10 square metres (100 to 110 square feet) will provide plenty of space. If you may be taking full-length portraits, your space requirements will be much greater – perhaps around 18 to twenty square metres (200 to 220sqft).
A flexible studio must be squarish in shape, instead of long and thin. Working in a comfortable rectangle or square shape, it is possible to set lighting units and other photography studio equipment on the sides of one’s subject rather than just within a limited arc at the front or the rear.
Also, to increase flexibility, a higher ceiling is desirable – something taller than 2.75m (9ft). This will allow lights or reflector boards to be placed well above the subject, and also will enable the utilization of tall backdrops.
Although you would normally use artificial lighting equipment such as flash or tungsten, in the home studio natural daylight through a large window area is a worthwhile bonus. If daylight-balanced color film and flash are widely-used, they may be combined with light from the windows, since all have similar color temperature. However, when the exclusive use of artificial light is necessary, shutters or lightproof blinds are indispensable.
Although flash units include the lighting of choice for the film photographer, for digital camera users tungsten lighting is a viable alternative – as a result of excellent built-in color correction settings found on good cameras.
Storage You generally need more space than you think for small accessories, props, etc. – so include numerous shelves and cupboards as is possible.
Make-up area This is certainly not crucial in a home studio, but if space and finances allow then models will find it extremely useful.
Photography studio lighting
The color from the walls and ceiling is very important for your photography studio lighting.
White-toned surfaces reflect most light and are the best choice for general illumination. Moreover, with white walls and ceiling you will possess the freedom to bounce light to your subject without
worrying about unwanted color casts. Never use a gloss finish paint, however, as this will produce harsh glare spots.
Other general points you should think of are:
More photography studio equipment
Several floodlights have highly variable general lighting options. Soft boxes will diffuse the light; spots will intensify it.
Have a wide range of different-colored background papers and materials available.
Windows allow natural daylight in your studio, but fit shutters and/or blinds so that they can be closed when artificial lighting alone is wanted.
There’s a good choice of comparatively cheap amateur studio flash units available. They are often operated using their own battery packs or from the mains supply, and have the same color temperature as everyday flash.
Different sizes and shapes of lighting reflectors might be fitted to floodlights to produce different effects.
A solidly made table is essential for small natural subjects and still-lifes.
These may be simple sheets of matt finish cardboard, or board covered with kitchen foil fo a brighter, sharper reflected light.
A great, non-slip floor ensures a reliable surface to your tripod-mounted camera and floor-standing lights.
This connects to the mains energy and splits it to your high-powered studio lighting. Make sure this is set up by a professional. It should provide adequate sockets for all your expected lighting needs and photography studio equipment.