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How Can I SetUp a Photography Studio in Nigeria?

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If you think professional photography is your thing, then at some point you must have asked yourself: how can you set up your own photography studio? In this post we will tell you everything you need to know about it.

A photographic studio completely changes the final product of a job. Taking a selfie is not the same as taking a photo under conditions prepared exclusively to reproduce an image, so you should consider the option of creating your own photographic environment.



What is a photo studio?


If you are interested in photography and at some point you have considered exercising this profession professionally, you must be thinking about having your own photographic studio. But do you know what it is?

A photography studio (no, it’s not studying a lot about photos) is a workspace in which various activities related to photography are carried out. For this, it is conditioned with all the necessary implements to carry out photographic tasks, such as printing or duplicating photographs. 

How does a photo studio work?


You should know that the photography studio works in a similar way to an art studio, with the exception that in the first one you can carry out activities such as the following:

  • Taking pictures.
  • Printing and photographic duplication.
  • photographic training.
  • The exhibit.

To encompass these activities, the photography studio is usually divided into the following environments:

  • dark room
  • storage space
  • The studio as such (in which the photographs are taken)
  • The showroom
  • Environment for activities associated with photography


Now, if you have enough materials to prepare an environment and unleash your ability, check out the elements of a photography studio below.


Source: Unsplash


Elements that a photography studio needs


A photo studio has the essence of the photographer, so you can incorporate elements if you consider that they add (never subtract) to your work.

But there are a number of components that can never be missing in a photography studio. From tangible objects to ideas about space and lighting.

If you are going to set up your own photographic environment, you have to consider these aspects:

The space


Obviously, the first thing you need for your photography studio is physical space. Before covering specific photographic objects, you must make sure that the place you chose is the ideal one for the plan you want to put together.

The space chosen to set up your photographic studio will be your work center, so it must be large and comfortable, ideal for taking any kind of photo and that you can incorporate the entire set of lights and others. implements.

You should also make sure that your photography studio location has a raised ceiling, where tripods, lights, and umbrellas can be placed . And of course the color of the walls matters. Choose a white tone (either all or just one wall) and, if possible, have a curved finish.

A studio flash on your camera


If you want your photos to come out well lit, you need the best studio flash, built into your camera.

Although it is not enough for the photos to come out well inside a closed space, so you need good lighting. We will see this aspect well in the point related to the lights.


A photo studio flash kit


In addition to the studio flash, it would be useful to purchase the professional flash kit, since they have a much higher power than other types of flash. They even work in completely dark environments.

You can even use additional elements such as rings, filters, diffusers, among others.


Good lights


A lamp that you have borrowed from your grandmother or the flash of your smartphone does not work. You need to have the best photographic lighting possible, and for this, lights are essential.

You can choose from several types of lighting , so keep this in mind when setting up your photography studio. Whilst doing that, here are some things to consider:


a. Continuous light illumination


This source of photographic lighting gives you the means to illuminate your subject constantly if you shoot your camera or not, enabling to see how light affects the model and the shapes created.

Fluorescent lamps, an LED reflector or tungsten lamps, among others, are used for this purpose. However, so many computers consume a lot of energy, in addition to giving off a lot of heat. 

b. Flash lighting


Provides a powerful shine, as well as being very versatile, thanks to its compact and practical size. These features allow easy mobility for this lighting.

And if you work with an external flash (or several), you can illuminate the scene without the need for an electrical network. although the brightness will not be as powerful as with other options.

c. Studio flash lighting


With this lighting mode, you will have greater power in the photos. Although they are more powerful than an external flash, they are also larger and heavier.

Although they are difficult to move, they are widely used for their versatility. And you can use diffusers to shape the brightness that affects your subject, so they are usually very reliable investments if you dare.

d. Modeling lighting


This type of lighting will help you control the brightness and you will be able to manage the result of the shots you take.

However, although the lamp emits a continuous light , it is not powerful , since it does not emit the same sparkle as a flash. Despite this, it will help you save time and will be useful while you work.


Tripod and photometer


The tripod is an element that cannot be missing in a photographic studio, since it helps to support objects such as the camera, lights and flashes.

However, you should find out which tripod is best for your photography studio, as there are some that support more weight than others.

In addition, a light meter would come in handy , as it will help you get the correct lighting, as well as control the exposure of the photos.

Reflective screens and umbrella


Related to the topic of lighting, reflective screens also contribute to light control and reflections .

There are several types:

  • White, to disperse light
  • Golden or warm
  • Plated

Also, you should get an umbrella for photo studio, with which you can bounce the light of the flash. In this way the softest light arrives, depending on the distance in which it is located.


Source: Unsplash


With these materials, you are ready to create your workplace. And let’s go to what we came: how can you set up your photography studio?

How to set up a photography studio?

We already have the materials, now let’s go with the ABC of how to set up your photo studio:


Get a good space


We clarified it before, we corroborate it now. A large space is essential to set up your photography studio.

If you have a big budget, you can rent, buy or build your own space. Although if you have a limited budget, you also have opportunities to use an extra room that you do not use, your own room or even share expenses with another photographer.

And if you’re going to work with models, you have to have a dressing room . It is very important that you always look for the comfort of your model, so a dressing room (a small and simple space is enough) will do a great job in your photography studio.


Install the background


Your photographic studio must have a background, we make that clear. A neutral color works well (blue, gray or black are good options), but white has the most versatility , since you can turn it into gray and even black, just by lowering the exposure on it.

Low budget? A white sheet or a black cloth serve to fulfill the function. Now, if you have the capital to invest, we recommend a cyclorama, since it frees you from the problem of folds and wrinkles in sheets and fabrics. Although you have the option of using backgrounds with texture patterns , which are usually very attractive.

To hang the background, you can use a cyclorama holder or simply do it yourself. Acquiring some pipes (galvanized or PVC) is enough and more than enough.

Natural light: yes or no?

Natural light may or may not serve you. That will depend entirely on your needs as a photographer, the question is what it can bring you:

  • In favor of natural light is the fact that a photographic environment with windows can be covered whenever you want.
  • On the other hand, in a photographic space without windows you have the limitation that you can only use artificial light.

As for the type of lighting, you can choose any of the options that we presented above. It all depends on the kind of photography you have in mind. You can choose between continuous or flash light.

Install reflectors and modifiers

Softboxes or umbrellas are key to softening the raw lights of your flashes or studio lamps, which produce harsh light.

If your shot doesn’t have enough natural light, or your new flash sucks , these photographic tools will help.

Also the reflectors will be key for lighting. If you’re on a budget, white card, a cut box or a sheet is enough… you can’t complain about the lack of options .

Check the latest details


We have already seen the most important elements that you need, now we are going with the complementary objects that you might need in your photography studio.

  • Clamps : clamps with which you can hold your background cloth or fix your continuous light to a tripod.
  • Remote release : whether cable or remote, it is used to minimize the movement of the camera or for shots in which you are going to capture action.
  • Bench and/or table : they can be useful to seat your models or as decorative objects in your photography studio.



Tips for setting up your own ‘low budget’ photo studio in Nigeria


1. Try to choose the best place and location while reducing costs


When it comes to knowing how to set up a photo studio, the choice of location is key. However, costs can be an inhibiting factor.

You may want to set up your photography studio in a large area, with good parking and open views, but it could be out of your budget. You can find good options, for less money, in the center of your city, for example.

But if you think that being in the center of the city is not a good option, you could enable a space at home. If you’re on a budget, consider turning your living room into a photo studio. Also, you could save money to invest in photographic equipment.

In any case, it is advisable to reconnoiter the places and find out the price of the rentals for your possible photography studio. Be sure to factor in transportation and expansion costs as well.

In addition, you must calculate the potential income that you can obtain with a professional photography studio. Analyze the rates that other photographers in your sector charge and try to calculate the value that a photography studio would add to your work.

Be very honest in your self-assessment and don’t be afraid to ask your peers for feedback. If you feel that your work lacks quality, you should first work on filling the gaps in your skills.


Choosing a place for the photo studioImage: Pixabay

2. Pay attention to interior layout and design

When we think about what is needed for a photo studio, we must not neglect how to use the space you have. To do this efficiently, you need to separate zones for certain jobs.

Portrait photographers, for example, need space for the background, a work table, a file cabinet for prints, furniture, magazines, and any accessories such as toys.


Magazines and vase on the table setting the photo studioImage: Pixabay


In addition, the color of the walls must be compatible with the type of photographic effects that you prefer for your camera. Soft colors, like white, are a great choice if you want more light to reflect and you want shadows to disappear.

Keep in mind that matte finishes are better than gloss if you want to keep reflections under control. It’s preferable to use floors that are smooth wooden or marble as it’ll enable you move your furniture easily.  In addition, this type of flooring will give an elegant look to the photo studio of your dreams.

Leaving empty spaces and bare walls where your customers will sit is a high mistake. Fill up your waiting area with previous prints of your best work.


3. Choose a good professional studio camera


When preparing a budget for a photo studio, choosing the best professional camera will depend on the type of photography you do.


It is not the same to be a sports or news photographer, where you need to capture all the action, as it is to be a fashion and commercial photographer, where you will want to orient yourself more towards cameras with many megapixels so that you can crop the images and print them on a large scale in your photography studio.

One of the main characteristics of studio photography is that photographers must control all aspects of the environment: lighting, backgrounds and any other type of support. Taking photos in a studio can give you a lot of creative freedom as a photographer, but you need to have the right equipment for it.

While it’s true that studio space, settings, and lighting can change, the one constant is the camera. This means that resolution and quality are critical.

For example, full frame cameras offer higher image quality than crop sensor cameras, but are often more expensive and therefore out of reach for some.

The camera you use in your photo studio is essential to get the perfect photograph. So it is the basis of what is needed for a photo studio. To do this, I recommend you read our article on the best professional cameras.


Type of camera for photography studioImage: Pixabay

4. Buy a lighting kit instead of doing it piece by piece

Another fundamental aspect that you must include in the budget of a photographic studio, as important as the camera that you use in your photography studio, is the way of lighting the scene. But, you already know that and we have repeated it! Yes, only now we’re going to give you a “hack” to do it with a small budget.

When you’re setting up a photography studio, a complete lighting setup consists of many components. If you buy it piece by piece, you have to spend time researching and selecting the individual components you’re going to buy, and it’s likely to be quite expensive. The alternative to save time and money is to buy a lighting kit.

The kit you buy will depend on what you intend to photograph: portraits, products, still life, etc. Therefore, we leave you with a wide and varied range of the best lighting kits that will allow you to capture impressive photos and videos in your photography studio.

5. Use different types of filters for camera lenses

When you ask yourself, “what do I need for a photo studio?” , the filters can not miss. They can correct the lack of color from natural light, exposure and add effects to an otherwise sober photo shoot.

For example, you can use neutral density filters or ND (Neutral density) in your photography studio. They are like dark glasses that limit the amount of light that can enter the camera without changing color.

At slow shutter speeds, wide apertures allow less light to enter the camera, causing moving objects in a photo to appear blurry.

By using this effect in your studio photos, you help the viewer to distinguish moving water (in case they want to experiment), smoke, etc. of the fixed parts of your image.

Polarizing filters, on the other hand, help reduce the reflections that appear in our photography. Much of the light we see in certain photos is bounced light. Therefore, these filters are used to reduce reflections from shiny surfaces, water or glass.

On the other hand, color filters are often used to change the warming or cooling effects of natural colors in the environment. There are specific filters that replace a zoom lens, introducing visual effects and other special effects in your photography studio.


Image: Pixabay

6. Keep different accessories in your photography studio


Having special supplies for portrait photography, newborn photography, still life and product photography helps a lot when doing a photo studio.

Perhaps a stuffed animal or two can be incredibly helpful when you’re trying to get a newborn into position for a photo shoot in the photography studio.

Soft hair ties, sheets, and pillows are also very helpful for newborn photography.

Portrait photographers, for example, find that a simple wooden stool works well to capture many attractive angles of a subject. Additionally, it forces the model to remain absolutely still while experimenting with lighting and colors.

Still life photographers often need accessories to introduce an element of artistic contrast to their image. Product photographers need similar imaginative methods to bring a brand message to the fore.

Therefore, within what is needed for a photo studio, do not forget to fill your wardrobe with the most used photographic accessories, as they can help you take magnificent photographs.

Having this kind of space brings numerous benefits to your profession. Do you want to know what the advantages of a photo studio are?

Benefits of having a photography studio


When you take a photo in a photo studio, the difference is noticeable. In this space, all the conditions are generated so that the quality of the photos increases exponentially.

If you still do not see the need to set up a photography studio, we will make you change your mind with these advantages:

  • You avoid environmental inconveniences. For example, the wind ruining your dream photo or unwanted elements getting in the way.
  • Outdoors, people being photographed tend to close their eyes in the heat and sunlight (if any), which often ruins photos.
  • The photographer has better lighting control . In addition, you can capture the shots at any time of the day and even extend the photo session to different days.
  • You can choose the background that best suits you in a photography studio. And even more so with the advancement of technology.

We assure you that you will have a great journey in your work as a photographer setting up your photography studio. The rest is up to you. More than a budget, creativity is needed when setting up your own photo studio.

You must be creative, think outside the box, and put together your photographic environment with ingenuity. Regardless of the budget you have.

A photography studio will give a superior quality to your work as a photographer. The more you invest in setting up a space where you can unleash your talent, the better photos you will create. So give it the importance it deserves!

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