Under the Bright Lights – Setting Up Your Own Photo Studio

The biggest problem with being a photographer is sometimes you just can’t control the conditions of your shot. This can be a bit of a problem for fashion photographers and glamour photographers. This is because when you need to bring out the best in a shot, you have to be a bit of a control freak. This means you have to control the lighting and the background which are the usual problems a professional photographer faces. These problems can all be solved by setting up your own professional photo studio.

It may sound outrageous but most photographers have access to a studio either on a rental or a permanent basis. However, this isn’t for everyone – you need to have skill in using professional photo studio equipment to make the shoot a success. If you don’t have the experience yet, it’s better to try to learn the ropes first before springing for a studio. Outdoor shots give you a chance to hone your skills on the requisite equipment; namely, the use of lights and backdrops to enhance your shots.

If you’re confident enough with your skill, setting up a photo studio is a piece of cake. First, choose between a ceiling-based or floor-based studio. Floor-based studios are cheaper because you just have to set up your light stands and you’re done – ceiling-based studios have overhead lights that you have to maintain. However, if you find such lights useful, it’s nothing much to add some extra money.

Next, you have to set up your lighting system. Having a good set of lights are important – your choice is between the standard hot lights – which are high-intensity bright lights that are always on, warm lights – the mid-range lights that aren’t as bright as hot lights, and cool lights – powerful flashes for your camera. Each of them has a different effect so choose carefully.

Finally, you have to choose a backdrop. Most clever photographers don’t have just one background sheet – they have several sheets or cloths they exchange to enhance the result of the picture. This strategy is probably advisable for you – just choose colors that fit with your style and you prefer to use. Including an all-white and an all-black backdrop is another thing I advise – basic black and basic white are probably the most useful colors.

There you go, a simple primer for setting up your own professional photo studio. If you find good bargains for your photo studio equipment, you’ll probably be able to create one for less than a thousand dollars. Better try it out!

Make Your Photo Studio Stand Out From the Crowd!

It seems that there is ever increasing competition these days among photographers and photo studios. To stay ahead of the game, you need to excel, to offer your clients what other studios can’t.

Let your competition pose their clients in front of dull muslin backgrounds; let them pray that it doesn’t rain as they plan a photo shoot in the park; let them buy expensive backgounds or lug heavy equipment to outdoor shoots – you, from the comfort of your own studio, can transport your clients to exotic places. You can offer them something truly different and all on a very small budget.

With only a green cloth, your computer and some inexpensive software, you can place your happy couple on a sunset beach in Hawaii, beside the pyramids in Egypt, outside the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

Using a green screen is surprisingly easy, with the software that is available now. You just shoot your subjects in front of a green screen. Then you load their photo and the photo of their chosen location onto your computer. Using the special green screen software, you replace the green background with their chosen scene. The software makes sure that your bride and groom blend naturally into the screen.

Now you have something to offer your clients that your competition hasn’t. Be sure to make the most of this advantage. Display it prominently in your advertising. Let everyone know that your studio can take them to exotic and romantic places without the expense and bother. Soon your studio will be the one to call for exciting wedding photographs, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, family Christmas photos and many other events that can be enhanced with a little green screen magic.

With this green screen technique you are limited only by your and your client’s imagination. The world is at your fingertips. Any location on earth or even in Space can be used as a background.

Build up a portfolio of portraits in exotic locations and soon your client list will grow, and your opportunities will be endless.

Photo Studio Business Plan – Three Choices to Make

Starting a photo studio entails the creation of a business plan to sell the idea to lenders, investors, and other types of partners. Three key choices that you must make within this plan are the design of your space, your equipment needs, and the division of labor.

Studio Design

Although the design of your space may be somewhat constrained by the specific rental spaces you find available, you do have a great deal of control over the finishing and renovation of your studio. A flexible studio with a neutral look will make it possible to serve a wider variety of clients. However, zeroing in on a look more attractive to corporate clients, for example, may make it easier to compete as a location for product shoots. To that end, the design must tie in with your marketing strategy which, in turn, relies on the opportunities you found in the market in your research and the expertise you and your team bring to the business.

Equipment Needs

The equipment you purchase should also be tailored specifically to the type of services you will offer, as well as to the capacity of your studio. If you will have only one photo team on assignment at a time, purchasing a first set of equipment (tripods, cameras, lighting, etc.) is probably a must. As soon as you have the potential for another photo team to be operating simultaneously, you must decide at what point it makes sense to purchase additional equipment. Remember that renting or leasing may be options rather than buying new equipment outright.

Division of Labor

If you will be the manager of your photo studio business as well as the lead photographer, there are certain tasks which will naturally fall to you at first. You will represent the company to clients, make decisions on capital investments, and lead each photo shoot. However, there are other tasks which you can successfully hand off to photo assistants or administrative assistants to insure that you are working to your highest skills as often as possible. Furthermore, you can use photo shops and framing shops to handle prints, creation of albums, and framing if these are not your own key strengths. By dividing labor between yourself, part-time and full-time assistants, and vendors, you can leverage your skills much further than otherwise possible.