Important Studio Photography Tips

studio_photography_tips Are you thinking about opening or adding a photography studio to your business? Before you do, there’s a few things you should consider and I’ll cover in this detailed post.

First lets talk about studio photography and a few benefits that it will allow you to utilize. One of the biggest advantages is you don’t have to fight with the time of day. If you are use to shooting outside, than you know that it’s usually best to photograph your subjects in the early morning or  evening hours.

The reason is because the sun will be at it’s lowest and you will receive the best lighting conditions. If you have a photography studio, you can shoot anytime of the day or night. You will have full control of the conditions and lighting and you will usually develop a nice workflow that you will learn to follow over time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting rained out either :-)

Ok, so let’s get into the important details you should consider when getting a studio set up.

Studio Room Size

Now, depending on what you will primarily photographing will depend on how large you will need it to be. If you will be photographing families of 4 or more, you may need a larger space. If you are primarily only shooting one or two subjects, like in Senior Photography, you won’t need as much of an area to shoot.

I always suggest to students to create a space that will allow you to grow as your business grows. But, if you only have a small space in your basement or garage, than use it. I often see photographers make excuses as to why they can’t offer studio portraits, due to no space available. I’ve seen students use their living room as a make shift studio for the time being.

Do me a favor….Don’t Make Excuses!

Here’s the dimensions I would recommend if you are just starting. For the studio itself, you want this room to be 12 to 15 ft wide. This will allow you to use 10 ft wide backgrounds and fit a family comfortably. The length should be at least 18 to 25 ft long. This will give you enough space to take the shot without being in their face.

The Wall Color

I recently wrote and recorded a video talking about “What Color Should My Studio Walls Be? But, I’ll give you the short version here.

The color you choose will serve a purpose, or at least it should. The color of your walls will act as a reflector, depending on how light you go. Think about your walls like a giant reflector that will help fill in shadows and bounce your light onto your subjects.

If you want to get the most out of your walls for reflecting purposes, use bright white. I would also paint the ceiling the same color, so that works for you as well. If you want to soften this effect, you could use an off white or a light beige color.

If you don’t want your walls to act as reflectors, paint them a dark grey or black. I wouldn’t suggest this, because even if you paint your walls white, you can always control your lighting with barn doors or by hanging a black backdrop over your side walls to cut down on the bounce. If you paint them white you will have more advantages in my opinion.

Backdrop Sizes and Colors

Choosing the right size will also depend on the size of your studio. I would suggest a minimum width to be 10 ft and the length to be 12 ft to 15 ft long. This will give you enough area to fit a family for a full length shot, if you need to. This will give you the flexibility for all different types of clients and you won’t be limited on size. Once again, if you are limited on space you should use the largest the room will allow.

When first starting out I always suggest having a white, black and grey or beige color in your collection. I also suggest having a Green Screen one as well, if you choose to add Digital Backgrounds to your portfolio. I won’t get into this topic now, but I do think every photography studio owner should offer this as an option. If you want to know more about this…Click Here.

It’s important to create a variety in your portfolio, so you can appeal to a variety of clients.  An easy way to do this is by using a variety of colors and different styles of backdrops. But, at first I would start with the basic ones I mentioned first.

You will need backdrops in your studio and you may only have the budget to start with a few. But, once you start buying more to build your collection, you will soon run out of space to store and hang them.

If your budget allows, you can install a ceiling hanging system that allows you to roll or hang your backdrops for easy storage and access for clients. They make these that are manual and motorized so you can access them in minutes. This also keeps a backdrop stand off the floor, which will make it safer so no one trips over the base of the stands.

Maybe you don’t have the budget  for the ceiling style, you can always get a traditional backdrop stand that sets up in minutes. If you do decide to  buy one, I would recommend making sure it is well built and sturdy. Again, safety is our number one concern and don’t want something that is flimsy and could fall down.

The other benefit of using the backdrop stands are that they are portable. You can usually break one down and set up  in minutes for when you go on location. They usually come with a nice travel bag that you can carry with one hand.

Final Thoughts

When first deciding to get into Studio Photography it can be a bit overwhelming, but if you follow these few tips, you’ll have a good start. The one thing I will stress is to take it slow, but don’t make excuses. If you’re only offering outside portraits to clients now, you will want to offer them studio portraits as soon as possible. This can help grow your business and reach a larger audience.

I hope you enjoyed this post and take these suggestions and put them to use.

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