My home studio makeover

Take a look at my home studio makeover and how I turned my garage into a photographic studio.
My Home Studio

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The last year has been surreal, by anyone’s standards and although it was scary and confusing, the artist in me really did enjoy the ability to take some time and concentrate on creating.

I decided to convert my double garage into my very own space specifically geared to photography, but it was a simple getup and the more I used it, the more I realised what I needed and what was superfluous.

 

Now that the world seems to be returning to something similar semi-normal, I thought I would take the opportunity to really draw some plans and create my ideal home studio dedicated to what I need when I’m shooting.

With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful for some other folks if I documented my progress and gave everyone a few tips on what and did and how.

So if you have ever considered designing your own space to photograph whatever you would like, read on.

floor plan
Floor plan for my home studio renovation

So I started with a double garage, it’s about 5 meters squared with reasonably high ceilings and a giant wooden door on an electronic pulley. About 2 years ago I already put down melamine wood flooring in a light colour. Looking back now and I regret not just using screed on the garage floor. The wood has chipped quite a bit and really think that screed would have been a far hardier option. Whichever option you choose to use, do not paint it white – I’ve heard horror stories about the reflection that white floor throws up.

 

Melamine cupboard for my food photography props
Melamine cupboard for my food photography props

Along one wall I built an open plan cupboard from white melamine chipboard. Big enough to store any baskets full of material or backdrops. I collected a couple of old baskets I had lying around the house and spray-painted them all white to look cohesive.

Bookshelf for my props
Bookshelf for my props

 

Old wooden workbench
Old wooden workbench which I put some wheel castors on.

 

Aside for the built in cupboard, I have about 3 pieces of furniture in the room, which I searched around online and second hand shops for.

  • 1 x sturdy bookshelf for my food props
  • 1 x pine workbench with 2 shelves for my canvases
  • 1 x old bar with storage shelves on one side and 3 bar stools on the other for my gear
  • 1 x high small round table for tethering
Old wooden bar
Old wooden bar so my clients have somewhere to sit and watch the shoot

The most important thing I can tell you is to put anything you can on hardy castor wheels. It has made such a difference in an already small space because I can pull things around and redesign while I’m shooting without much effort.

Along the adjacent wall I put up two silver hooks, which I got from builders warehouse for R87 each, for my large 11m paper backdrop. A huge difference in price from the backdrop holders I’ve seen for over R2000…. You just have to be a little careful when pulling it down.

I also picked up 3 beautiful antique chairs, which I fell in love with from a second hand store just down the road from me.

Three antique chairs
Three antique chairs I bought for posing portraits

My favourite piece was a framed print of one of my images. I hunted around for pricing and after being quoted as much as R3500 for an A1, I found a gorgeous white frame and matt board at Mr P Home for R500…

Frame from Mr Price
Frame from Mr Price

I think whatever you choose to do with the space, it should be dedicated to whatever style of photography you would like to pursue. So you may not need so much space for props or dresses or jewellery  you may be pursuing product photography, in which case you will need a different setup. But the premise remains the same. Think about your design, think about what you need to have close and what you will likely need.

Sample image of my daughter
Sample image of my daughter

This was just a small shoot of my daughter to test the space and I adore the result.

So best of luck to everyone! I hope this helped with a few ideas about creating your own amazing space to shoot in. If anyone has any questions, please hit me up on facebook and I will try and assist in answering any questions.

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