Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Make-shift Photography Studio

I celebrated New Year's at our friends the Smiths' house
and was excited to photograph their
beautiful daughters and niece.

When I shared the portraits with others
they lamented that they didn't have a studio
with professional lights to take nice photos.

The truth is...I prefer natural light and
my favorite place to shoot portraits is
at the entrance to a garage
like this:

Yep, all the photos in this blog post
were taken in this make-shift "studio"
at the edge of the Smith's garage!
Shoot just beyond any direct, harsh rays.
This day, it was cloudy, so we could be at the very edge of the garage.
To make the white board background,
I bought a sheet of foam insulation board from Home Depot and
cut it in half...then covered it with white bulletin board
paper I bought from Michael's.  A roll is $8 and I use this
paper ALL THE TIME for white backgrounds.
I can easily transport this white board in my car.
Just roll out more white paper on the ground, or as seen here,
use a white blanket.
Later, you can add a background.
Here, I used one of the freebie papers from this week's newsletter!
I know this garage make-shift studio isn't very glamorous...

But, the portraits ARE glamorous!

You can also take the photos against a white wall or hang a white sheet
or blanket.  But the garage light is PERFECTION for these
high key, white background portraits!
To whiten the background even more in post processing...
simply adjust the opacity of your dodge tool and paint over the background.

I also like shooting on a wheeled seat
so I can move about freely and
 quickly adjust clothing and props
without ruining my knees.

Oh, did I mention it was January 1st
and just 28-degrees outside?

My hands were FREEZING!

But, it was WORTH IT:
The natural lighting right at the edge of the garage
is harsh shadows on the face
or behind the models.
I added the newsletter freebie paper to the background
of this next portrait:
You gotta love redheads in leopard print!

I bought the jacket at a thrift store for $3.

That's where I buy ALL my props and portrait

Many of my favorite portraits
are taken this way.

 So even if you don't have a professional studio,
you can still create some professional portraits
in a GARAGE!!!


  1. oh Jill these are just beautiful! What a great and simple set-up! Thanks for showing your pull back shots--I learn so much from seeing that! Your portraits are really beautiful! Thanks so much for linking up!

  2. Beautiful shots! Love the leopard print too! Great idea for simple shots.

  3. Beautiful pictures! Great job! I actually have done work with a top photographer in Los Angeles and her studio is her garage because she opens the door for natural light too. Thanks for the Great ideas!

  4. Love what you did!! Yes, the light right there is always perfect. I should try that sometime :) Thanks for the behind-the-scene!

  5. Oh my goodness! This is ingenious and affordable! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. AMAZING!! Stunningly beautiful portraits from your "luxurious studio" ;-) Thanks a lot for sharing your secret - I appreciate that a lot, because I have only a small house - no room for a studio - and I prefer natural light anyhow!
    Greetings from Austria!
    PS: Thanks a lot for your nice comment, too!

  7. Simply beautiful portraits! Love the idea of the form board, what size is it? You do a wonderful job!

  8. Deja Girl, the foam board is twice as tall as the board you see here. I cut it in half so I could transport it in my car. It's light weight and easy to move around. It's a board of foam insulation. You will find it at a store like Home Depot.

  9. Jill do you slant the foam board? Amazing pictures and a simple studio. Love it!!

  10. Traci, just prop up the foam board behind the need to slant. If it is slanting, that is will still appear white. Have fun!

  11. Papers are beautiful. Thanks so much. And the photography tips? Oh my gosh! So simple yet so ingenious. Off to Home Depot for my foam board.