Photography Studio – Setting Up Home Photography Studio

Setting up home photography studio is a great way to learn and practice taking photos under artificial light, which is considered a hard topic to learn. And if you are planning to be a professional photographer, it is essential to learn flash photography and be good at it. In this post, I will state the various aspects of setting up a home photography studio.

Basic Equipment Requirements

The basic equipment required is a camera, lighting system, accessories, and space for a studio.

  • Camera and lenses

The camera must be able to synchronize the shutter with the external off-camera lighting source (strobes) used for lighting the subject. Almost any modern DSLR will sync with an external off-camera flash.  DSLR’s are by far the most popular type of camera for studio photography.

In general, you should avoid using lenses with focal lengths less than 50mm (or its equivalent) for portraiture. Shooting from a distance 4.5 meter away from your subject will give the subject a nice perspective and will keep the subject/photographer distance sufficient to keep the subject comfortable.  You can shoot from closer or further than 4.5 m, but it is a good idea to think of 4.5m as your base distance.

Here is a table of subject sizes that roughly fill the frame for various focal lengths at a subject/photographer distance of 4.5 m.

An important consideration in picking out a lens for portraiture is aperture.  The maximum aperture size of your lens affects both the shallowness of the depth-of-field you can achieve with a given lens and the focusing ability of the lens. Lenses are generally at their best sharpness between 2 stops less than their widest aperture until diffraction starts to dominate.

A pair of high-quality zoom lenses can cover the entire range from 24-28mm to 200mm, reducing your need for switching between multiple prime lenses.  Zoom lenses also reduce the need for the photographer to move closer and further from the subject as much as with prime lenses.

  • Lighting system

In photography, there are two types of light; hard or harsh light, and soft or diffused light. Hard light casts sharp shadows with well-defined edges. Soft light casts softer shadows with edges less defined. Because the light is bounced and diffused in different directions and is spilling into the shadows, so the size of the light becomes much larger. The effective size of the light depends on two factors:

  • The actual physical size of the light.
  • The position of the light sources relative to the subject.

The closer the light is to the subject, the larger the effective size and the softer it is. The further the light is from the subject, the smaller the effective size and the harder it is. So you can easily change the quality of light by changing the effective size.

The lighting system equipment is divided into three different types: Holders and supporting tools, light modifiers, and light sources.

Holders and supporting tools expand to encompass all the stuff we use to support and hold our gear. Like tripod for your camera, or stands and clamps to support lighting equipment.

Light modifiers are anything we attach to (or hold in front of) our flash or light source, to control the light pattern it normally emits. These would include umbrellas, softboxes, and reflectors.

Light sources are any number of things that emit light onto our scene. It could be tungsten or fluorescent bulbs, or flash units and strobes.