How our social media photographer set up an at-home studio

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, our social media photographer, Kat, has been shooting our client photography from home since March. With these few tools and tips, let us guide you through the process of how we create scroll-stopping content from home. 

Firstly, we recommend that you purchase photography equipment that packs away in a space-efficient manner. Or alternatively, invest in some storage boxes, so you can pack your gear and props away at the end of each shoot. Working and living in the same space can present some challenges, so keeping things tidy and organized will certainly help you work productively.  

The basic equipment needed for a home studio setup

    • Camera. Your camera doesn’t have to be a professional camera, you can still create beautiful content with your phone camera.
    • Tripod. If you are working with a professional camera, then consider using a tripod to steady it. We also recommend getting a tripod with an arm extension for shooting flat lays. 
    • Lighting. You can rely solely on natural light if that’s all you have, but we recommend setting up near a window with the most available light even if you’re using studio lighting as well. Amazon has some great start-up kits available for under a hundred bucks, such as this one
    • Light reflector. One of Kat’s most used items, great for bouncing light back into shadow areas or softening harsh light. 
  • Backdrops. We use paper backdrops from BD backgrounds or Savage. We also use fabric from Dressew and marble slabs from Home Depot. If you’re on a budget, use a plain bed sheet or your natural wall colour. 
  • Backdrop stands. Some budget-friendly options are available on Amazon if you want to properly hang/drape your backdrops.
  • Props. Flowers, plants and decorative household items will certainly bring your products to life. 

Find the best light

We adore natural light! Try to find a space in your home that has the best natural light for your setup. If you’re shooting in the middle of the day, avoid harsh midday sunlight by using a diffuser. If your home doesn’t get much natural light, consider purchasing some budget-friendly lights. If you’re just starting out with photography, then these continuous lights will definitely do the trick! 

Our social media photographer, Kat, generally uses flash whilst working from home as her apartment is south-facing and gets very little natural light. Here, you can see her at-home setup taken on an iPhone vs her professional image using flash photography. 

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Create your studio setup

Once you have figured out where in your home you’re shooting, it’s time to set up your studio. Set up your backdrop stands, backdrop and table. We often shoot flat lays, so by shooting off the ground slightly, we’re saving ourselves from bending over too much. Once you have this setup, you can easily interchange your backdrop with fabrics and textures. Swap out the plain white backdrop for a marble tile to add some variety. 

We recommend setting up a tripod as it allows you to:

  1. Steady the camera
  2. Slow your shutter speed if you need to allow more light into the camera
  3. Take the weight off your back and shoulders
  4. Allows you to set the camera down while you style your shot or move products in and out of the shot
  5. Allows you to change the angle of your shot

Let your creativity flow

Get creative! The more unique, original and creative your content is on social media, the more engagement it will receive from your audience. 

Here are four tips to help you get creative: 

  1. Vary the angles of your shots! Try shooting overhead flat lays, eye-level shots, close-ups and wide shots. 
  2. Depth of field. Even if you’re using your phone, most phone cameras now give you the ability to change your depth of field. 
  3. Experiment with lighting. Play around with shadows or even add a gel to your light source.
  4. Props! We recommend laying out all your props on a tray so you can clearly see what you have to work with, making it easier to visualize your shots. You can read more tips on props here

If you’re working with people, then props can give them something to interact with. Check out this recent shoot we did for Le Hibou Kids. Here below, you can see our studio setup (including the props) and then how the kids interacted with them. So cute!  

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Final thoughts

Good luck with your home-studio setup! Play around with it and have fun– why not take your audience on the journey with you and show them some #BTS of your home studio setup. And just remember that you don’t need to invest in expensive photography gear when you’re just starting out. 

If you’re shooting food, then check out our tips for better food & beverage photography. We hope you found our tips from our social media photographer helpful! 

Erin is the owner and founder of Legendary Social Media. She's trying, and failing, to be vegan. Directionally challenged. Cripplingly addicted to coffee and chocolate. Swears she'll travel the world (again) ... someday. Mommy to Zylo.