In Part One of this series, we discussed reasons for creating a home-based photography studio. In Part Two, we shared the Studio Self-Inventory, a list of questions that identified your priorities before getting started on your own studio project. Now, I have our finished studio to share with you, along with specific solutions we are using to maximize our space.
My first home-based photography studio was a converted spare bedroom. That 10’x12’ room felt VERY tiny, but it got the job done for baby and toddler sessions. It was also a great way to fine-tune my wish list for a bigger space. If you are itching for a studio but don’t have the budget for a renovation or addition, consider using space you already have while saving money for your dream studio. After having a small studio you will be that much more prepared to identify your priorities when you’re ready for your BIG project!
After several years of shooting in my small space, I knew that the two main functions for my new studio needed to be:
- Shooting Space
- Client Meeting and Sales Space
I also knew that the majority of my studio work would be photographing babies and toddlers, but I would need the studio to work for maternity sessions, as well as family portraits.
My budget and current home dictated an addition of 20‘x23.’ To maximize shooting and client meeting spaces, we didn’t include an additional bathroom (clients can use our existing spare bathroom). My office also remained in the main house, freeing up more space in the studio for clients and shooting.
The round table you see above is used for chatting with prospective brides & grooms and for holding client ordering sessions. Clients view pictures on the big screen TV; the dresser stores frame and mat corners for custom framing, along with samples like albums, acrylic blocks, and boutique cards. Canvases, framed and matted prints hang thoughout the studio.
The picture below shows our shooting areas. We designed this space to be big enough for two separate systems. The 9’ seamless white backdrop is hung with a wall-mounted system (which holds up to 3 rolls/backdrops at a time). The smaller backdrops are used with a portable system and can be switched out easily (you can see some other backdrop options leaning in the corner). I’ve also painted 8’ lengths of trim (from a local big box store) fun colors so we can mix and match backgrounds & trim.
We designed this space so that it can also accommodate a large group or extended family session. We made the wall behind the backdrops blank – no windows or outlets – so we can use the entire wall as a backdrop.
Here you can see the separate studio entrance and the opening that connects the studio to the rest of our home. We wanted the studio to feel like an extension of our living space, so connecting it to the house this way was the perfect solution. We plan to build a large barn wood door (which will be hung with sliding hardware), so we can easily close the studio off from the rest of the house. The barn wood will also double as a backdrop!
This corner was designed with our littlest clients in mind. We have a rocking chair for nursing and soothing babies, magazines for waiting parents, plus lots of specific storage solutions for baby needs and props. The entry table doubles as a changing table (a changing pad is stored below the table). Extras for babies – wipes, diapers and onesies – are stored in bins below the table.
We use this small hanging rod for clothes clients bring with them for babies and toddlers. We organize outfits into the order we’re going to use them, which makes transitions nice & smooth during sessions!
So there’s the quick tour of our studio! It’s not a gigantic space, but every inch was carefully planned to meet the specific needs of our business, while maintaining a look and feel that’s consistent with our brand.
Looking back on the work we’ve put in over the past few years, I can say without hesitation that it was 100 percent worth it. We’re able to provide our clients with a wonderful photography experience and gorgeous studio images, all from the comfort of our home.
If you’ve created your own home-based studio, I would love to see pictures and hear about specific solutions you use to maximize your space. Link to pictures of your studio in the comments below. I’m happy to answer any specific questions you might have regarding our space!
About the Author
Megan Lane owns and operates Megan Lane Photography with the help of her husband Scott and their daughter Claire (who’s four – and already her mommy’s very best assistant) in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains of Montana. With a degree in Biology she never imagined that one day she would be a small business owner, but her love of people and her *slightly* Type A personality make owning a photography business a perfect fit. She loves that her job involves lots of baby giggles, running around after mischievous toddlers, and hanging out with couples who are fabulously in love. She also loves playing grown-up girl dress up with her Sugar & Sass Photography clients (the boudoir division of her business).
When she’s not behind a camera or in front of a computer she loves reading, bargain shopping, drinking wine with girlfriends, and designing massive house projects. Connect with her on Facebook and view more of her work on her Website and Blog.