No room for a “home studio”

No Room? No Problem!

I envy those of you who have large houses and can dedicate an entire room or garage as your studio.

My house is 1,200 sq ft. with 8 ft. ceilings…..not ideal for a home studio by any means. I do not have a garage I can retreat to either… “Man Cave” whatsoever. I have found, in my limited experience as a “camera” owner (I don’t say photographer because everyone who owns a camera would then be a “photographer”.), I have found that I don’t really need a LOT of space. Would it be nice to have? Absolutely…. Have I been able to make due? Of course 🙂

Take a look at these photos I took of my son when he turned one. (The entire set can be found on flickr by clicking an image). I wanted him to have some “trash the cake” pictures. No…the cake in these photos was not his actual cake (I’m not that cheap!). He had a nice “Dinosaur Train” themed cake. The cake he’s smashing is a crap cake we bought at our local grocery store.

First off, I don’t own any seamless background paper. I do eventually want to get some….but I know my son will see it as an endless roll of paper he can use to draw and color and share his artwork. I also don’t own studio strobes. I have owned a couple in the past, but as I mentioned, I’m in limited space, and plus, they can tend to get bulky. I have owned strobes in the past, Einstein 640, and Mettle 600AD to name a few. I stick to speedlites now. Yes, many of you will say they are too low in power, they are expensive, etc. The only expensive speedlite I own is a single Canon 580 EX II. the remaining 3 speedlites are Yongnuo 560’s (though I hear they are affectionally referred to as “Kung Pao 560’s”). Anyway, I’m rambling on about speedlites…

Quick recap….I have a small house, no dedicated room to setup, I use “puny” speedlites, and I don’t own seamless paper… How can I get shots like the ones above?

Just because you have limited space shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone. You just need to dig into that brain of yours and get creative 🙂

The whole smash the cake set with my son was shot in my living room.

Some foamcore boards from your local arts & craft store (I think I paid $5 each).

I had one flash for a background light (although looking back, I really wish I had used 2 flashes). I used a Rogue Flashbender to direct the light to the foamcore background so it wouldn’t hit my son directly. You can get away with a piece of black foamcore, or even black construction paper for the same effect.

One flash in my softbox and I was set.

Yongnuo 560 – background @ 1/4 power

580 EX II – 48″ softbox @ 1/2 power

Other specifications of the shoot:

ISO 100

This set was shot with my trusty 5D II. I had rented the coveted (by many) Canon 70-200 2.8 II IS lens. I could have done this shoot with similar results with my 50L, as most of my shots were within the 70-85mm range. It’s a nice lens, but heavy.

Anyway, that’s my “studio” for that particular shoot. In my previous post with my son asleep in the chair, you can see the setup shot and the limited space I had available there as well (also my living room/hallway).

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