I wish I had a real studio!

This was my big goal at the end of 2019. Right before the world went crazy. I mean it has always been my dream! But 2020 was the year it was going to happen.

Flash forward to 2021, and that goal is still a dream — just tweaked a little. I want a studio outside of my home.

I can see it so clearly in my head. Gorgeous wooden floors, tall ceilings, huge windows with loads of light. A front entry with massive prints of my favorite images. Maybe something with an industrial vibe.

However, the reality is I still don’t have one. Yet. Yet being the keyword here.

Getting creative

So until my dream comes true I have learned to be creative and work with what I have — my living room.

I often share behind the scene images on Instagram and I get numerous people saying, “you created that in that space?” I have to admit that at first, I was embarrassed to show the space. Let alone invite clients to it. It’s not a ‘professional’ looking space in my mind. I don’t have a proper makeup and hair station. My walls are not covered in my beautiful work and I don’t have a place to set up a desk.

But as the year progressed and two studios within my city closed down, I became increasingly grateful for the space I do have.

What I do have

My makeshift studio is where we have the best light in the house. The size of the room is big enough to have a C-stand boomed over my model’s head. The room is wide enough that I can run a backdrop stand across the room with my seamless paper on it. I have a fake hardwood floor in my kitchen that looks nice in photos. I also have Wi-Fi, a bathroom, heat and air conditioning.

Since I am a beauty photographer, I am only shooting from my model’s shoulders and up. This allows me to work in smaller spaces than most.

I have, however, learned three helpful techniques for running an in-home studio.

1. Budget for a housekeeper

Someone who can come in before or even after your shoot and clean will save you so much time and stress. Clients enjoy walking into a clean space.

2. Have food and drink available

A bottled water and candy bowl never fail. There is something about food that always brings people together.

3. Have all of your gear set up before your client and model arrives

Transforming your space into looking like a studio beforehand doesn’t allow them the time to process it’s your living room. I have even gone as far as setting up a giant umbrella that I wasn’t going to use for the shoot … all to distract my client.

Conclusion

I have never had a client say they will never come back here or that they won’t work with me again because we shot in my living room. In fact, I have had more than one client say thank you for opening my home up to them, and that they felt welcomed.

Clients don’t care how or where you get the image. They just care that you get the image.