Are you thinking about starting your very own photography business? Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional with years of experience under your belt, building a home photo studio can be a turning point for your career. More often than not, the cost of setting up a photo studio can make photographers second-guess their decision. To be honest, setting up a home photography studio should be seen as an investment instead of an expenditure.
Building your own home photo studio will save you the time and money that you would’ve otherwise spent on transporting heavy photography equipment and props from one location to another. Moreover, having access to your own studio will enable you to showcase your talents and build an online portfolio without any restraints. A professional photography studio setup will also give you total control over your shooting environment, which can be an asset when it comes to creating and promoting your personal brand.
In case you are still concerned about the cost of setting up a home photo studio, bear in mind that most experts recommend starting out slow. That means you should first set up a low-cost photo studio at home before moving on to a bigger setup with expensive equipment.
Since we have already discussed the basics of how to set up a photo studio at home, this guide will focus on the photo studio setup cost.
However, before we move on to the cost of setting up a photo studio, let’s take a quick look at the photography equipment you will require for this project.
Checklist for Setting Up a Home Photo Studio
Here are the basic items you will require for setting up a photo studio in your home.
- Speed lights
- Base lights
- Photography umbrella
- Flash trigger
- Light stands
- Collapsible background
- Stools or chair
- Wire extension
- Step ladder
If you are starting with a small photography studio setup, you can consider buying a few second-hand items to cut down on your expenses.
Cost of Setting Up a Photo Studio at Home
Before you set up a low-cost photo studio, ask yourself which type of photography are you interested in.
If you want to try out food or product, for instance, you will probably require a small wooden table to place the subject and snap the perfect picture. Similarly, if you want to become a portrait photographer, you will need a stool or a chair. Camera requirements may also vary with the purpose of your photo studio. For product or food photography, a high-quality smartphone camera may work just as well as a compact digital one. On the other hand, you will probably need a DSLR or mirrorless camera for portrait and fashion photography.
As for props and other accessories such as flower vases and mirrors, you can add them as required. However, with minimalist photography being the latest trend, you don’t really have to worry about them.
In case you are new to photography and are still finding your way around things, it would be better to set up a home photo studio that is completely customizable. This will help you experiment with different types of light and effects as well.
Now let’s get started with our discussion on the cost of setting up a photo studio.
A camera is the most important item you require to set up your own home photography studio. If you are already working as a photographer or enjoy it as a hobby, you most likely already own a camera. If you don’t have a camera, then you can use a high-quality smartphone to snap pictures.
The reason why we haven’t included the minimum price of this essential equipment in the table above is because there are many types of cameras in the markets, ranging from relatively cheap digital cameras to costly DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Depending on the type of photography you want to pursue, you can start with a smartphone or digital camera. On the other hand, if your budget allows, invest in a second-hand DSLR to learn and understand the basics. Buying a brand new DSLR with 18-55mm lens will cost you upwards of 1 lakh on average, though you may also find a few cheaper models that can be easily upgraded with a new lens.
A smartphone with a good camera may cost you around 40,000 while a digital camera is going to cost you around 20,000 at the very least.
Buying refurbished equipment will automatically bring down the cost of setting up a photo studio.
There are several types of tripods available in the market. The ones meant to hold smartphones are relatively cheaper whereas the ones made for cameras are slightly expensive.
If you’re wondering why you need a tripod in your home photo studio, the answer is pretty simple: This piece of equipment holds your camera in a steady position for however long you want it to. This allows you to take multiple shots without a single worry. Moreover, along with helping you capture great images, tripods can also be used to hold flash units and reflectors.
The starting price of a camera tripod is around PKR 6,000.
Speed Lights and Base Lamps
It is recommended to set up your home photography studio in an area that receives the best natural light. You can use a spare room, corner of your living room or even a part of your drawing room for this purpose.
However, along with natural light, artificial lights are also essential for any small photography studio setup. Since strobe lights are rather expensive and bulky, you can start by using manual speed lights, which are cheap, durable and handheld. Ideally, three speed lights should be enough for a home studio.
The starting price of speed lights in Pakistan is around PKR 7,000.
Moreover, if you want to get a base light lamp to enhance your photos, it will cost you a minimum of about PKR 2,000. These lamps can be placed on the floor or installed on light stands to illuminate the room. They usually have five or more LED bulbs.
Umbrella lights are also a must-have item for any home photo studio. This photography equipment helps soften and diffuse the light. They are also relatively budget-friendly, easy to set up, and light enough to move around easily. If you already have strobe lights in your studio, you can only buy two photography umbrellas without light or stand for as low as PKR 1,000. However, if you don’t own strobe lights, consider investing in photography umbrellas with stands and lights, which will cost you approximately PKR 6,000.
You can also find umbrella lighting kits that contain two umbrellas, two stands and two light bases for the starting price of PKR 12,000.
It is also important to mention that there two main types of umbrella lights available in the market: shoot-through umbrellas and reflective umbrella lighting.
As the name suggests, shoot-through umbrellas help diffuse the light in a controlled manner. On the other hand, reflective umbrellas shoot the light onto a reflective surface, allowing it to bounce back in the required direction.
Flash triggers allow photographers to communicate with the flash of their cameras without making any physical contact with the equipment. These flash triggers are wireless and allow you to capture perfect photos with a small click on the remote.
Wireless flash triggers consist of a transmitter and a receiver. Though their prices vary with each brand, you can find a regular flash trigger for the minimum price of PKR 4,000.
A light reflector bounces the light in the direction of the subject. They are an extremely important resource as they use existing light to enhance the photograph, prevent a silhouette and help catch the lights in portraits. They are also used for adding fill light.
Reflectors are easily available in the market and are also pretty affordable. For instance, you can buy a large circle reflector for as low as PKR 2,000. However, if you want smaller reflectors, you can buy the 5-in-1 packs that include white, black, silver, gold and translucent reflective surfaces. These reflector kits cost around PKR 3,500.
The basic purpose of light stands is to hold heavy lighting equipment and direct light towards the subject. The height of these stands is adjustable.
You can purchase light stands for the starting price of PKR 1,500.
Your home photo studio won’t be complete without a proper backdrop. However, buying a collection of backdrops can significantly add to the cost of setting up a home photo studio. Therefore, if you are a beginner photographer, you can start by using a white backdrop for your images to create a clean and consistent look. Once your professional photography studio setup begins to grow, you can invest in different types of backdrops to fulfil the requirements.
Some of the popular types of photography backdrops include canvas, muslin, seamless paper and cloth.
It is suggested to buy a collapsible backdrop for a home photo studio, as it can be folded and easily moved to another spot, thus helping you save up space.
The starting price for collapsible backdrops stands with a cotton cloth is around PKR 13,000.
Stools or chairs
You will need a stool or chair for both food and product photography. Purchasing a regular plastic stool for your small photography studio setup will cost you PKR 500 minimum. Meanwhile, wooden and metal stools are relatively expensive.
The main purpose of wire extensions is to provide additional power sockets. It comprises long flexible electrical cable with a plug on one end and sockets on another.
You can buy a wire extension for as low as PKR 350 to set up a low-cost photo studio.
Unlike other equipment on the list, a step ladder is an optional item. Though if your budget allows, buying a regular step ladder for PKR 2,500 will allow you to get that extra height for the perfect overhead shots. You can also use these ladders as reflector holders while working solo.
To conclude, the photo studio setup cost varies significantly with the brand, size and type of equipment you plan on buying. However, since investing in new equipment can be costly, you can always look for used items that are completely functional or at least repairable.
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