Photo Studios; How to build one for less Photo Studios; How to build one for less | East Lansing Photographer-Todd L Church-Wedding and Senior photography Specialist

Photo Studios; How to build one for less

Hey guys,

How are things with you?

I haven’t been blogging enough. Seems like lately I’ve been experiencing the winter blahs. Do you ever get that?  Photographers have a difficult time during the winter months. Especially if you live in the Midwest.

I go between East Lansing, Lansing and Interlochen, Michigan where the winter temperatures reach down into the sub-zero levels.

Interlochen, while it is beautiful, is known for its long harsh winters. I have shot outdoors in sub-freezing, painfully windy conditions. It’s not the ideal conditions for shooting portraits, which is the bulk of my winter business.

Photo Studios are the best for shooting in winter. You can have everything set up inside and never have to get cold. In fact, you can turn the heat up if you need to.

This winter I decided to build my studio in my living room. My space and my budget isn’t too large so that meant cutting corners and pulling all the furniture out of the living room. I didn’t have a huge wall space so I created a wall using 4×8 sheets of Styrofoam panels that I bought at Lowe’s. I actually bought three of those. The total for three wasn’t more than $20. I also purchased a white/gloss hardboard wall panel for about $14. I used this panel to create my floor. My total cost of materials was $34. I also painted the back side of two of the Styrofoam boards to give me color options in the studio and bought some fabrics to hang on the Styrofoam to add color and interest if needed.

photo studios

This is what I ended up with.

It’s not fancy, I know. But it was useful. It also paid for itself in the shoots I was able to book over the winter months.

I shot mostly boudoir this winter as this space doesn’t lend itself to big family shoots. It’s basically a one or two subject space. I imagine that you could use it for shooting children or pets also.

The main drawback to this studio is that you can see the texture of the Styrofoam in your background. I liked this in some of my shots but not all of them. One way you could get around that is to light the background to the point where you blow out the exposure. Then it just becomes a pure white.

You could also hang fabric on it as I mentioned earlier. That gives you more possibilities. You can see in this photo that I am testing to see how aluminum foil would look hanging on the backdrop.

Why didn’t I buy backdrop stands and seamless paper?

Good question. Actually the reason I didn’t do that is because of cost. Money was tight when I set this up so I didn’t want to invest in the seamless, which cost $50 on up, and the background stand, which would add more to the cost. This was cheap and simple and the materials are readily available in Northern Michigan. Plus the added bonus is that the images are different from the norm. Photography is an art. And different is good. Anything you can do that is different from what has already been done is a bonus in my opinion.

Enough talking. How about seeing some results.

Here are some of the images that I have taken over the winter in my studio.

Leslie StudioRenee Studio

Whitney Studioboudoir fabric

These are just some of the effects you can get using home build photo studios. These are just a few examples. I am sure you can come up with many more. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear your ideas.

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