One reason that I hear people give for why they do not do more photography is that they do not have the time to travel to locations in order to shoot. This is understandable, if you happen to work in a full time job and have kids etc. Yet there is a simple solution that would enable you to shoot more pictures – build a compact home photo studio.
This brings us neatly to the next obstacle that people put in the way of taking more pictures – a lack of space.
Is This Compact Photo Studio Small Enough?
We currently own two four bedroom houses, but are effectively living in two rooms in one house. The reason for this is that everything is being stored in the house we are living in, while the other house is being
destroyed refurbished by builders. This hopefully temporary, but presently very frustrating, situation is the back drop to writing this blog. (Have pity.) Space in our house is at an all time premium, yet we are having record storms and high winds in the UK at the moment and frankly outdoor photography is not very appealing. Making a compact home studio seems like the sensible (and warmer) option.
We have an upstairs bedroom that is currently being used to store furniture. In this room is a glass dining table and so it occurred to me that this might make an excellent photographic light table if it was press-ganged into service. As it doesn’t take up much more space erected than folded down I thought doing so might not upset our domestic bliss. (My girlfriend might be reading this…Shhh!)
The table is no more than 4 foot by 8 foot, perhaps less. Many people have tables of a similar size to this and so if it works for me then it can work for you.
This is the setup that many of the previous tabletop pictures have been made with. This picture was taken shortly after one of those sessions in fact. (Taken with on camera flash – don’t hurt me. I just wanted a quick pic!)
Yes, I realise it looks like a bomb site, but us err
messy artistic types work like this.
When we move into the new house and I have a room to dedicate into making a full size studio I will post that picture too. It is looking unlikely that this will happen before New Year though.
Lighting is usually done by the Pringles can lights you can see in the picture. More recently I have been branching out into wireless flash as the Yongnuo flash triggers recently arrived, but at present only one flash is here.
The red box on the table is where I store all my paper, reflectors and smaller backgrounds. The plastic box underneath the table is where everything else you see in the picture stores down into. That box also has a number of small photographic props and useful items in it like food dye, glue, clamps etc. as well as some larger backgrounds (A3 size).
The large reflector in the background is only used during bright days for available light photography and it thankfully folds down to about 15″ diameter. It is an EX-Pro model that does 5 in 1 or something. It is really handy as it has white, black, silver, gold and so on. Amazon sells them for about £15 ($25).
Somewhat nearer to the camera (and mercifully out of shot) is the rest of the temporary storage for our household goods.
Now Go Make Some Room!
Surely anyone that is motivated enough can clear an area 4 foot or so square?
The great thing about tabletop photography is that it takes up so little space to do, but you can still learn lighting and other techniques that directly transfer to larger projects. While this compact home “studio” might not win any prizes for design it does enable me to keep taking pictures when I otherwise would not. Surely taking pictures is why we all got into photography in the first place, right?