How to set up a home studio on a budget

I don't have a studio or any kind of studio lighting - but I do have a garage, a cheap background stand, one roll of background paper, and that - coupled with some natural light - is all you need for a makeshift studio on a budget! 

Here's how: 

How to set up a photography studio in your home on a budget

The Location

One of the best places to set your makeshift home studio is in the garage.

Garages have the BEST natural light as the humble garage door is actually a huge soft light source - which can also be directional - so it acts very much like a studio soft box.  With it you can get great catchlights, and soft shadowing that will help define features. 

In the image below the garage door is to camera left:  I've basically done exactly the same thing as in this step by step guide to using window light, but with my garage door:) 

The Equipment

All you need is a backdrop stand, and a roll of paper! 

I originally used a 53" wide seamless, which is fine for one person, but is a bit tight for more than one. Although it is very easy to extend the canvas in processing and therefore perfectly useable for small groups, as I like to cut down on processing work as much as I can so I've ended up buying the larger 103" roll, and that's what I recommend you do too!

This is the "studio" equipment I used: 

Background Stand Backdrop Support System

Savage Seamless Background Paper in Thunder Gray

The PullBack

Of course I fully intended to take a pull back image of the set up - but completely forgot when the time came. (As our garage is heavily used, the set up doesn't remain intact, it has to be taken down so we can use it!)

However, I do have this picture that I inadvertently took as a pull back (taken as a test shot whilst I was changing my settings) and you can see our messy garage in the background, the stand and paper.   

 Example Images

Here's some more of the images from some "sessions" I've had in my makeshift studio…

 The cost for both was around $78, which let's face it, is pretty cheap for a home studio set up!  

Of course, if you want to make your own garage into a makeshift studio, you really don't need a paper roll OR a backdrop stand, you could simply get a sheet of fabric and pin that up, or simply use the black or white side of your Reflector as a small backdrop. The stand and paper just make life a lot easier (as I plan to do more I wanted something that was a bit easier to work with) It really depends on how often you want to use it, and how much money you want to spend!


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