Creating an In-Home Photography Studio

Have you ever wanted to show someone something but you kept thinking… ‘Once I can do this to it then I’ll share’ and you begin to realize that you may never get to show anyone? That’s how I feel about my very modest in-home studio for Leah Remillet Photography. When I look at the below image, I see lots and lots of things I’d love to upgrade – change – make cuter. For example those chairs… I found them at a garage sale, they were exactly what I wanted once they are recovered! Didn’t seem like it would be that difficult of a project, I mean they don’t even have arms for crying out loud (sigh) but apparently it is because both my mom and mom-in-law who are both very talented with a needle wouldn’t take on the project with me. So now they are  affectionately referred to as ‘the ugly chairs‘.

Despite the flaws I hope this will be helpful and you will be able to see the opportunity you might have in your home. I live in the Pacific Northwest where it’s dark a lot of the year and I wanted more control then natural light could give me. With my in-home studio I have that. And I have to remind myself that this one is very temporary, we will be moving away from our current home once Mr. Go4Pro finishes school and the plan is that when he sets up his practice we will purchase a building where the upstairs will become my studio and then I can have beautiful dark wood floors and huge open windows and lovely sitting areas, with shelves filled with vintage cameras and wall displays to my hearts content.

For now… here is my humble in-home studio.

Creating a Home Photography Studio

Hidden behind the backdrops are shelves and storage bins with props, backdrops and whatever else. Of course this isn’t a ton of space so I’ll admit that I also have my office closet filled to the brim but it is really nice to have what I’ll need for that particular session at my fingertips!

Show what you want to sell! Whether you have a studio space or not it’s so important to show what you want your clients to buy. I have a 30×40 framed print hanging in the studio. Everyone always comments and since it is my home it shows them how easily they can incorporate statement pieces in their home as well. I also display a gallery wrapped canvas and an image box as they are very popular and create a nice wow factor for my clients.

Tip: Before I had a studio or when it’s a location shoot I bring a samples of some favorite items just to show them before we get started and to help get ideas rolling! This may be an album and a canvas… It depends on what type of session it is.

Photography Wall Display

Supply Guide: To be more helpful, here is a list of everything technical that I have in my studio room:

LIGHTING SETUP:

I use a Larson 4×6 Softbox ($699.00) with a Photogenic PL1250/ 500ws Powerlight ($589.50) as my main light and a Larson 42″x72″ Silver Reflector ($330.00) that is not pictured as my second light source.

My light is on a quick release stand but I can’t remember where I got it from or how much I paid. (sorry!)

I also have a Northern Industrial 500 Watt Portable Halogen Tripod Light($38.24) that I use to bounce off the ceiling on really dark days or at night when I have no natural light in the room in order to keep my ISO down.

Total Lighting Setup (including stand): $1808.00

BACKDROP:

I have the Savage Background Port-a-Stand System w/ Free White Paper Roll ($109.95)

Savage 107″x12yds Seamless Paper in Thunder Grey ($39.99)

Savage 107″ x 12yrds Seamless Paper in Super White ($39.95)

Drop it Modern Backdrop in Mustard Seed 9×12 ($377.00) {shown in image}

Drop it Modern Backdrop in Vintage 9×12 ($377.00)

Super Cheap Fleece Black Fabric from Walmart -15 yds

Total Backdrop Setup: $958.95

PRODUCT ART:

Simply Canvas 16×20 Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Simply Color Lab 30×40 Framed Print in Charcoal Bead Enviro Frame

WHCC 5×7 Image Box

UPGRADES: I shared with you everything I have but I thought it would also be helpful to let you know what I would change, upgrade or add to in the future.

When I move into my store front studio I will switch to a 4 Roller Background System($494) or even an 8 roller background system($899) for all those Drop it Modern Backdrops I dream of having. It can be very inconvenient to swap out backdrops during a shoot, my hubby and I did fashion a second drop attachment out of a curtain rod but it would be so nice to have what I want and need easily at my fingertips!

I’d also like to add a 14″x48″ Soft Strip from Larson

Now that you have the supply list, how about if I actually show you some of my studio images? These images were created using my ONE LIGHT STUDIO SETUP in my home.

Senior Photography

One Light Studio Setup

The Softbox is always Camera Right (shown left in above images). If you would like, I could create a video and show you how I do it — Let me know if you think that would be helpful or interesting.

Comments

  1. Kristin says

    SO SO helpful! I’d love a video as well, but really, thank you so much for such a detailed post. It’s great to see what other artists are using, and as someone without a seperate studio, this is great.

    • Leah Remillet says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I think sometimes I forget that what is really helpful is getting to see the details not just the pretty stuff!

  2. says

    Yes, please!!! A video would be soooooo cool! I adore taking on-location outdoor photos but since our part of Texas experienced some of the Blizzard of 2011, I have been thinking that having an indoor option would be really nice. But, I didn’t know where to begin. Thank you for sharing your set up. LOVE the large family print you have on your wall. What a capture!

  3. says

    That doesn’t look humble at all! It looks fantastic! And wowzers–you can really spend a LOT of money. This post has been incredibly helpful as I am figuring out how to light a session indoors at this very moment. And video? YES PLEASE! Again, I can’t believe how truly giving you are in your blog. I love it!

    • Leah Remillet says

      As always – thank you for all your encouragement. I swear you have to be my oldest reader (besides my mom). :)

  4. says

    Leah – thank you so much for sharing your set up. I find this so useful, especially as I start to dream and research the possibilities for setting up a small in-home studio. I, for one, would love to see a video of how you photograph in your set up. Thanks!!

  5. says

    YES! please do share how you approach studio lighting! i have spent the last week scouring the internet for tutorials but i’d love to hear it from you. maybe also you could chat about how to make studio portraits look modern and NOT 90’s. :) your studio photos look great!

    • Leah Remillet says

      Ha! I love that. So maybe I could do a video on using the studio and snap a few images and then do the next video and show you how I edit them in photoshop!

  6. says

    I vote a big “thumbs up” for anything showing behind-the-scenes! It sparks so many ideas to see how other photographers make their homes work as their studio…I would definitely watch a video.

    • Leah Remillet says

      Awesome!! I agree, I love seeing other people behinds the scenes but then I question if mine are worthy. Silly me!

  7. says

    What an awesome and informative post, Leah!! I don’t have any type of in-home studio yet, but would love to one day. It’s really nice to see your set-up and all the information and pricing on your gear. THANKS for taking the time to do that!! A video of “how you do it”would be amazing too :) You rock!

  8. says

    Thank you so much for all of the totally useful info! I would also be so interested in seeing any behind the scenes information you would be willing to share about your process – behind the camera or computer!

  9. says

    Dooo iiiit! I’d love more videos. Can never get enough of you, Woman!! The large family print turned out beautiful! I love it. Can you tell us more about the shadow boxes? Maybe give us a better view of it? I would appreciate it!

  10. says

    OOOOOHHHHH Thank You for showing your home studio. It provides a feeling that a home studio is not out of the question and very doable and the end product is beautiful. I really did not know what people would think to come to my home to have their pictures taken in a “makeshift” home studio. Seeing this makes it REAL and creates a feeling of, I can do this! My dreams have just expanded!

    Your supply guide helps to know where to start and what to buy. Thanks for the boost of confidence in this area Leah. How to Videos and more pullbacks would be awesome.

  11. says

    Thanks for posting this! Would love to see a video, too! So, is this a dedicated room in your new place? Do you also have your office in here, too, or is that another room? At this point, David and I share an office, so there’s no room in there for the studio stuff. So my studio is in the living room and I have to move the furniture and set everything up whenever someone comes over. That is also the room where we do viewing and ordering sessions, with slideshows viewed on the big screen tv.

    Have fun in Vegas! Are you going to the PPO convention next week?

  12. says

    BEYOND helpful! I would LOVE to see a video of your work process for in-home studio! FABULOUS!
    The black fleece…is that what you used for the baaby image AND the maternity images? I’ve had very little succcess with making the black paper backdrops ‘black enough’.

  13. brooke vanausdal says

    i wwould love to see a video. I have a continuous light but I can’t figure out the settings. I am always all over the place.

  14. says

    Thank you for sharing! I think your studio is wonderful! I am slowly working on mine as well, but it looks no where as great as yours. =) And a video would be GREAT! Thanks for sharing, Leah!

  15. Christine says

    thanks so much Leah. Great post. A video would be awesome. I have two soft boxes in my basement but I have no idea how to use them.

  16. says

    Thank you so much for the post! It’s so helpful to see how others are doing it. I did my first shoot in my home. I don’t have lighting yet, but have large windows. I would love to see a video, thank you so much for posting this!

  17. Michelle Moncure says

    Thanks for this!!! It makes me want to make the plunge into a home studio!!! How did you make the curtain rod backdrop holder?

  18. says

    Thank you so much for this information! I realize I don’t know you very well, but I still think you’re an awesome woman! I’m toying with setting up my boudoir studio in my home, so this is super helpful. Thank you!

    • Leah Remillet says

      Wow Thank you so much Brooke! You just brought a huge smile to my face!! We should all here that someone thinks were awesome every day!

  19. says

    Hi, I am looking at creating a studio in my house too! I have a question though, have you ever thought of getting a faux wood floor to go over your carpet?

    • says

      I thought of it and I think it’s a great idea. I’ve used retail space and home and will eventually build something off my home just for my studio but that wont be for a few years. This is temporary, I really don’t use it very often.

  20. Belle says

    Thank you for sharing your studio space. I love what you’ve done & truly appreciate your honesty. I found your post inspiring!!! I also struggle with studio space, as I often rent from another location & hope to one day soon have my own space. Keep up the great work your images are beautiful!

    • says

      Thanks Belle! It feels good to hear the feedback and know that it has inspired…. It’s not nearly what so many studios are so it’s easy to feel like it’s not worth sharing but the story (I’d hoped) might help someone. :)

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