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Creating Your Home Photography Studio | Pittsburgh Photographer

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  • Post last modified:January 18, 2023

Creating a home studio is easier than you think! Perhaps for me the most difficult aspect was buying too much of the wrong stuff! I aim to keep a studio functional, comfortable, and simple. Other than your actual camera and lenses, you need five essentials to create a photography studio. Since styles and preferences change, I don’t like anything permanent or bulky, but rather I like to stick to these essentials. Since my studio is small, I have made the space totally transformable depending on the needs for each specific photoshoot. For example, the studio could have a sofa and a separate shooting space for high school senior yearbook portraits or it may have a bed for newborn portraits with chairs and stools nearby for parents to watch and assist during newborn baby sessions.

house plants, business cards and dried flowers on the sideboard in the bohemian studio

1. Space

You need more space than you may originally think. You’ll need enough space to get distance between you and your subject and also between your subject and the background. Also, the higher the ceiling, the better the space. If I could change one thing about my own home studio, I would love to have high ceilings. In addition to shooting space, you’ll also need an area for your clients to sit, lay down their belongings, change outfits, and look in the mirror. Plus, you need a restroom. Don’t forget to have a space for refreshments; consider having water, coffee, or chocolates available.

natural light streaming through a large window in the boho studio

2. Backdrops

You will want to avoid color casts form your walls, so white, black, or gray walls are best. Consider what types of backdrops you want. Popular backdrops include seamless paper, canvas backdrops, and fabrics. You will likely also want a backdrop stand and v flats for bouncing light or for simple self standing background.

house plants, natural light and a checkered floor
Seamless rolls of paper hung on the wall

3. Lighting

Ideally you will find a space that offers beautiful natural light. However, with the many cloudy days in Pittsburgh, it’s necessary to also invest in studio lights. Consider purchasing one or two strobes, modifiers (I use both umbrellas and soft boxes), and heavy duty light stands. You would never want a light stand to fall over!

strobes, checkered floor, storage in bohemian studio

4. Props + Storage

Find a place to store yet still easily access blankets and apple boxes. Scatter your studio with chairs and stools that can double for allowing your client to either rest or pose! Perhaps the most important piece of furniture in my studio is the daybed. I don’t like to waste any space, and have found a daybed to be perfect for use as a bed or sofa, depending on our needs for the photo shoot.

home studio prop storage

5. Product Samples

Your studio is the perfect place to showcase your work and display samples of the products. You can find samples of different types and sized of albums, canvases, wooden blocks, and prints on display in my studio.

wooden block samples in home studio
8×10 art prints displayed in home photography studio

I hope you create the best home studio for your specific needs featuring these five home studio must haves.


Hi, I'm Laura Mares! I'm thankful to be a wife, mother and Pittsburgh lifestyle photographer. I photograph because I believe that life is simply beautiful and every person has a story worth telling. I'd love to tell yours.

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