For many, a home photo studio is the first step in establishing ourselves as a professional photographer. It represents the first controlled space where we can better understand light and gain an appreciation for how it can affect an image and how it can be employed to create a certain mood or optical effect.
A home studio can be a safe space where we are free to experiment with the relationship between lighting, the camera, and the subject. It’s an oasis where we can play with creating an image without the constraints of a creative brief, client budget or deadlines. Its where our photographic style can be defined, refined and perfected.
Sounds great right? So what kind of gear do you need to set one up on a budget? Here are our studio essentials:
|Blink and you'll miss it!
Of course, the most important bit of gear you will need is a flash to properly illuminate your subject. Some factors to consider when choosing a flash are power, TTL metering and portability. These will determine the versatility and convenience of your setup.
A more powerful flash will allow you to shoot larger objects or scenes, or overpower the sun if you're shooting outdoors. TTL Metering can add convenience to your shooting by automatically analysing your camera settings then determining the exact flash power required for a perfect exposure.
Portability is important if you think you will want to use flash in an outdoor or on-location context. Think fashion photo shoots, wedding photography, portrait photography etc.
Speedlights run on batteries and are portable and lightweight. Studio strobes are generally for more professional indoor only shooters and can require plug-in AC power.
|The flash doesn't always have to be attached to your camera!
The next bit of gear we'd suggest is a wireless flash trigger. You can achieve some great things with the flash mounted on your camera, but where you can really flex your creative muscle is when you're able to position your lighting independent to where your camera is shooting.
A flash trigger also opens up the possibility of using multiple lights to further control which parts of your subject you want to highlight, or use multiple lights to illuminate a larger surface area or multiple subjects.
|Light stands are just simple tripods for your lighting equipment.
The third piece of the puzzle is a light stand. Think of light stands as tripods for your lighting equipment. They enable you to precisely position your lights where you need quickly and easily.
Light stands may also be a requirement for the final piece to the puzzle:
|Creating interesting effects with 2 different coloured gels.
Light modifiers. This is where you can really get carried away. There is a huge selection of modifiers to choose from and experimenting with what each one does and how it impacts your final image is part of the fun.
Speedlight modifiers attach directly to your flash while studio modifiers are generally larger and will require a light-stand to hold and position them.
Reflectors, soft boxes, coloured gels, bounce cards, snoots, grids, beauty dishes and more can be added to your shooting kit broaden your studio capabilities.
You will be amazed what you can achieve with these 4 additions to your photography kit
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