Can’t shoot in a studio or don’t feel comfortable about heading out in the streets to shoot portraits? If you have a backyard shed or a garage, you can set up a makeshift studio there instead and take advantage of the gorgeous natural light. To give you some ideas and inspiration, check out the behind the scenes video above by Canada-based portrait photographer Irene Rudnyk!

Rudnyk specializes in shooting outdoors for gorgeous natural light portraits. However, she is also no stranger to experimenting and improvising like this, she does a lot of home studio budget and DIY props. Her setup for this shoot in particular is very simple and compact, so we’re sure it’s worth giving a go!

Why a shed or garage is perfect for a portrait shoot

As Rudnyk mentioned, her shed had this beautiful and soft directional light with a lot of shade on the sides in the background. You get more or less the same effect with the garage. Whichever you have, it’s convenient and perfect for natural light portraits — for a cost next nothing! This set up is also great for shooting close-up portraits, so portrait lenses like 85mm would be ideal if you want to give this a go.

Use collapsible backdrops and reflectors

While the background will be mostly dark and blurred in your photos, you’ll want to keep it polished and tidy with a nice backdrop. A collapsible and compact backdrop like the one used by Rudnyk will be perfect. You’ll also want to use a reflector to bounce off some of the light falling on your model and create a catch light to your model’s eyes.

Get creative with the wardrobe and props

Since you’re limited to shooting close-up shots, you’ll need to be extra creative with the wardrobe and props for your model. Rudnyk was particular about including off shoulder dresses to capture the neck, collarbones and shoulders nicely. But of course, feel free to use different looks and costumes to tell your own story through portraits! You may want to think of a theme or put together a mood board before the shoot as a guide for putting together a bunch of different looks.

As for props, choose a bunch that your model can interact with or can even emphasize their features in different poses.

Since the video above shows behind the scenes of Rudnyk at work, I’m sure you can also pick up some great tips for posing and directing models through different poses.

If you liked these tips, don’t forget to also check out Irene Rudnyk’s YouTube channel for more of her fun portrait photography tips and tricks.

Screenshot images from the video