Finally went in on a home photo studio

David and I recently purchased a studio setup - backdrops + stand, umbrellas + stand for flashes, and a few yards of different types of cloth for the floor. This is something I've been wanting to do for ages, but we were finally motivated due to the birth of the fifth grandchild on my side of the family - we're the unofficial photographers for the family and with this many kids, we were all spending too much money going to professional photo studios.

The results? Holy cow. It's amazing what a little light and a simple backdrop can do for a picture. Getting excellent photos was remarkably straightforward (with two light sources - we have two flashes that we mounted on stands and pointed at umbrellas).

A few examples (my apologies if they don't load/are slow):

 A:  B:  C:

A) My 2 week old niece, laying on a boppy underneath velvet, photographer standing on a chair
B) My son (15 years from now he's going to kill me)
C) My son and his cousin (now they're both going to kill me)

For any amateurs out there with a little cash to burn (not counting some of the other requirements such as one or more external flashes, plus a wireless flash controller), I highly recommend investing in a home studio. Now our main challenge is coming up with interesting and unique poses - when most of the photos turn out so well, they almost get boring. (I say “almost” because hey, he's my son, so he's never boring.)

Comments (6)
  1. christoc says:

    care to tell us roughly how much you spent on the home studio? I recently purchased a digital rebel and have been taking photos like crazy, but have yet to look into any external lighting or other materials.

  2. KC Lemson says:

    We got most of it for about $500, keeping in mind that we already owned two flashes (Canon 420 and 550):

    Canon ST-E2 transmitter: $180

    Lastolite Muslin "Florida" backdrop: $100

    Stand for backdrop: $100

    Flash stand: $25 each

    Umbrellas: $25 each

    Roll of white paper: $30

    We also went to Joann’s Fabrics and Crafts and bought 3 yards of the following for floor covering: black velvet, red crushed velvet, and fake white fur.

    You can also find a lot of the above on ebay (both new and used), but that wasn’t an option for us due to the timing, we purchased in december right before the holidays and didn’t have time to wait for auctions to complete/shipping.

    Really, the umbrella/stand/flash is what makes the pictures (and two of them makes it even better). You can get a decent backdrop by buying a sheet at walmart (solid black, or a non-distracting blue pattern for example) and throwing it over the railing of a stairway, hanging it up on a four-poster bed, tacking it to a wall, etc. I’d been shooting with a denim-patterned sheet for a few weeks thrown over our couch (photos taken from the back of the couch, my son sitting on the ground) and really enjoyed the results.

  3. lauraj says:

    Kase, the photos are fab! I, for one, really enjoy hearing about your life along with all your MS insights. Thanks! LauraJ

  4. KC Lemson says:

    Thanks 🙂

  5. sarchi says:

    KC go on! show us what you can really do?

  6. CameraCrazyGal says:

    Wow. KC.. This has been my dream too. I have been pricing all the Photo Studio equiptment that I need( with some help from other ppl who own Portrait Studios) and I find them quite expensive! I was about to spend $1,200 on all the items that you have listed.( light stands , umbrellas etc).. I read that you bought alot of it on e-bay. I have been searching there too. If possible ,,, can you tell me where you bought it and if ther are any more,, then I can purchase some too? you will have saved me tons,, of money. I would also like to, not only save my freinds and family money on portraits ,, but take it one step further and maybe make it a business. I have a few health problems that refrain me from working a 40 hr week job. and If I can do a few portraits a week,, I can make enough money to survive. Thanks ….

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