So you want to set up a small home studio, but are not sure where to start? Some of it boils down to what type of Photography you wish to create and how much room you have. Julie is lucky and has converted her Garage into a studio, but has terrible natural light. Desley has a much smaller apartment, but with amazing natural light, but not a lot of room…you may fit somewhere in the middle.
Lighting is the key, whether it is a table in front of a window for awesome natural light or studio lighting. Natural light is free, but not always around when you need it, so continuous is probably the way to go to start with, it is cheaper and can be packed up when not required.
- Twin Soft Box -Approx AUD$50
- Backdrop stand and Umbrella Light kit – Approx AUD$100
- Twin Softbox, Backdrop stand and boom kit – approx AUD$160.00
- LED Studio Light – approx AUD$50.00
- Fluorescent Ring lamp – approx AUD$100.00
These are not pro quality, but if you are just starting out, they are all excellent, Julie started out with the Backdrop Stand and Umbrella kit. These are just some examples, there are lots of others on offer.
Props and Drops – Conceptual and Standard Portraits
This is unlimited, however, a few key pieces can really be all you need to get started. Go to the local Op Shop or Thrift Store or even $2 shop and have a look, a really good look.
- Bed Sheets, We suggest you start with a black and a white one. If you find something like bright red or a nice blue grab them too, excellent as dresses! on average Julie pays about $1 – $5 for a sheet (Curtains can work too, but are often more expensive).
- Cape or cloak; a good black or dark colored cape is fantastic and can be used over and over, Julie uses velvet (as it looks so good in photos) AUD $10 – $20 on Ebay or costume stores.
- An old chair, this can be one you already have, or bought at a garage sale, endless possibilities, personally, we like something a little more beaten up.
- Other things Julie has added over the years are different colored wigs, different dresses (Op Shop) and props like knives, swords, guns, bird cages etc, etc, etc. Costume shop sales after Halloween are wonderful too.
Props and Drops – Still Life and Products
Beware this can become a bottomless pit, so make sure you just get a few things to start with, check your own house first (or friends, Nans etc), you can be amazed at what you can find, but Op Shops are a perfect place to start;
- A nice teacup and saucer, a plate, a bowl, Grandma’s silverware are awesome!
- A tray or cutting board, some simple cutlery, Desley has some awesome trays
- Some simple linen or tea towels, some twine or string
- Something to use as a backdrop, white/black perspex are terrific but a little expensive (from your hardware store about AUD$50 per sheet), also a mirror (AUD$20), wallpaper samples (faux Marble or timber look great), Contact adhesive, chipboard painted with blackboard (or any other) paint, I have even used wrapping paper! Tin foil can even be used. Using Flat Lay style a simple timber deck or concrete floor can look amazing, and are free.
- Vinyl Backdrops, these are amazing but can be more on the expensive side
- A nice simple vase can be good, or elegant glasses; Julie uses Martini glasses a lot
- Julie loves a simple crate for dark and moody; Op Shops, junk and antique stores
- Scraps of material, old fence palings……..if you can find it (and store it!) you can make use of it. I have often seen something and thought “Oh that would be heaven”…….but stopped and thought where on earth would I store it, nowhere was the answer, so I walked away.
- There are also small pop-up mini studio for smaller objects which are brilliant, Desley often uses one, from the smaller ones $25- $35 to 80cm size about $60.00
- Ask to borrow items in exchange for free photos, terrifying prospect I know, but it can and does work; Pixel Sisters Studio works with Desflora for floral arrangements and floral crowns for workshops
- And don’t think it all has to be brand new and perfect, chippy China is all the rage right now, as are busted up window panes and scratched up furniture. Especially if you like that wonderful Country feel, timber and natural materials are brilliant. Another option is dying your own cheesecloth. It is quite cheap and easy to do at home, and you can make so many different colors.
P.S. Featured image courtesy Suzanne Balding from our Floral Fantasy Workshop
P.P.S. The above links are only possibly suggestions of what to buy and where to look, Pixel Sisters Studio has no affiliation, nor promotes any e-commerce pages associated.