Having your own studio is a money-saver, whether you need to snap a few shots of your products or shoot a promotional video for TV, the web, or an upcoming conference. Setting up a studio isn’t difficult, and you can accomplish it with just a few changes and additions to any room. As you go forward, you can even expand your studio to accommodate more complex shoots. But you need to crawl before you walk, so here are a few easy ways to set up your studio for shoots!
Camera and Tripod
You’re not going to get anywhere with your photo or video shoot without a camera! But you can’t pick just any camera. While you can make do with a smartphone for your first few projects, professionalism demands investment in better equipment. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable cameras out there, and you can pick up a professional quality one for around $500. Make sure it has stabilizers to keep the image steady, can smoothly zoom in and out, and can take video in low light. Pick up a tripod as well to keep the camera steady and in place while you adjust the set or direct your talent. You want something strong and sturdy so that it can handle the camera’s weight; it’s difficult to pick a bad tripod.
Build a Backdrop
Ultimately, you’ll want to purchase and install a modular cyclorama or infinity wall as your studio’s backdrop. With their coloring and curved walls, a cyclorama creates the illusion of a larger space and eliminates visual interference. Until then, you can make do with a painted white wall or hanging drape without wrinkles. If your camera has chroma-key capability, pick up a few gallons of chroma-key paint to create a green screen so you can insert any background color, image, or footage you prefer.
You can light most shoots simply and effectively: purchase a light kit with three standing lights. You can use two to flood the background evenly while the third faces the subject or talent. If you’re shooting by day and have windows, make good use of the natural sunlight. If you need to soften the impact of a light source, pick up some diffusion sheets—though you can also make do with wax paper. Before you start shooting, calibrate your camera by holding a white sheet of paper in front of the lens and activating the white balance function. This will help eliminate blue or orange tones in your shot.
Here’s the last of our easy ways to set up your studio for shoots: pick up an affordable boom mic you can hold close to your subject but out of frame. Additionally, you can install sound-canceling materials, like green glue or mass-loaded vinyl, on the walls to eliminate excess noise. Again, you can always upgrade, but these are two cheaper yet still effective alternatives.