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How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation

Lesson 5 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation

Lesson 5 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

5. How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation

What do you need when you get started capturing baby photos? Probably not as much as you think. Kelly walks through the "musts" and the foundation for a great home studio space.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


Flow Posing


Kelly's Home Studio


Day 2


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Planning


Day 3


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation


Lesson Info

How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation

another thing to look at is is those foundations you know weighty star on dh this will come into that week of setting it up for me doing it in a week meant that I didn't have too much time off from shooting and I could transition over really quickly into that new studio space so this is my very first first space that I was telling you about um here you can see it's like four walls a window and you can see my curtains that hanging it was such a simple easy place and that was just a set of shelves that I had um I don't even know what was on them before I stole them took them for myself but everything that was in there was basically what I used to take clients homes and I would lug it all into my car and I drive off obviously you know I wouldn't take change table with me but having the change table from my own children was great because then it created a comfortable place for people to use but I had my beanbag I have my backdrop stand we set it up beautifully and you know even after your ...

comment about having things that you didn't really like all went really you you know thiss gorgeous lines outfit but it didn't have the heart to get rid of it because my grandmother sister had made it for me because when she found out I was photographing babies she's like oh I've got to make us something but that wasn't me that's not something that I do but I did hang it in my studio and then after a while when people you know made quite a few comments and I started to notice that you know I was actually feeling uncomfortable about it being because it wasn't it wasn't what I did I'm very proud of it and I love it to pieces but as far as my business goes it didn't quite fit so it was pointless having it in there you can see that you know you don't need much when you're starting out like I remember when I first decided that I was gonna photograph babies full time I had like two or three different color blanket it's um actually had a normal home vain bag the teardrop shape and I had tied a knot in the top part the teardrop patent and I would turn it upside down and use it and that's how I started photographing babies I had a bucket um can't see it that somewhere in there but I picked it up on curbside pickup which is like when people throw their their unwanted items onto the street and you can pick them up I was very very cheap photographer in the beginning I wasn't charging a lot so therefore I didn't have a lot of money to spend on my props and items and it wasn't until I learned a little bit more about the business side of things that I started to make money and invest more in the items for my studio so yeah that's that's it six by four maters really really small like a third I have this incredibly talented husband he's gonna love me saying that so when it comes to having any type of maintenance or um d I y renovations hays office to put his hand up and say I'll do it and I was a little bit hesitant because he was kind of in the middle of doing a few other things and I thought oh it's just going to take forever but I gave him a deadline and having a deadline is really important when you want things done so for me to hire labour it wasn't an option and we could save money by having my husband doing any is very handy so that's great um but yeah if you don't have someone that can do it for you you know hiring labor can cost a fair bit of money so it can really put that budget up a bit but any of you hire labour to create your studio space would do anything like that no we had to convert out garage so we we had a lot to do where is when you're just using a normal room you you know you just have to hang a few curtains and things like that which is quite easy but we had to pull down garage doors and have big doors inserted so you know if we'd hired someone to do all of that it would have put out our costs really really high so doing it ourselves saved a lot of money but also you know making sure that they're done properly and and within council permits and regulations so yeah and then sourcing the materials this is the fun part when you get to go shopping and it did take me a really long time actually were not a really long time I say long because I'm impatient but it took me a couple of days to find the right flooring I think I went to about ten different flooring companies just to find the right white floors to go into my studio so I am I knew that I wanted the certain look based on my inspiration board but I also knew what type of flooring I wanted for my photographs so I could use it as a backdrop as well as as the flooring in the studio and then it was just a matter of finding you know the right paint sample teo to paint the walls and we had to find the timber doors I think we went through about five or six different companies for that which was you know again like a little time consuming and a lot of the quotes really varied I found from different places so it was again staying with inside that budget and and you're finding the best solution for everything what about you guys in terms of of going shopping or that hunt for sourcing materials do you have any recommendations for people who are just creating my home studio I think it's over here firstly I don't need to really go anywhere to buy props I just see props everywhere wherever I go on like on my husband already looks on me is like he just saw prop didn't you yeah and we're wherever we are I just see other blankets or baskets or whatever I just and I'm like put my arm in like does it fared maybe a baby fit so yeah I don't know if it happens to us we'll let you see props everywhere definitely and when I was looking for all the different materials from teo to create this beautiful space I would find props everywhere and I would be quickly reminded by my husband that we weren't there for props way with their curtains or something else oh yeah and you know I wanted to create this beautiful living area space with lounges and I did look at some lounge is brand new lounge is to buy and I love that sort of ten level look and the price tags were really high so to save money it just so happened that my mother was trying to get rid off a black leather lounge but she had that they no longer went with their decor so I got to buy it and ridiculously cheap price from them so I got to save a fair bit of money but yet keep that beautiful clean shop look that's in there which is really good so another thing to be really careful off is your life force you don't have to shoot naturalized to be a baby photographer lotte baby photographers do shit natural light and a lot of use studio lighting so for may I'm now travelling with some some lighting systems I've got a new jin bae lighting system which is an incredible light um we sourced from from a local supplier in brisbane and then we've got another wide over there and it's going to change everywhere around the world because of the different lighting you know environment especially in the uk with sunsets really early in the afternoon so it doesn't matter whether they have beautiful windows they're gonna lose light at that specific time so finding that lighting source and deciding whether you are going to use natural life you're determined to use natural light so your space has tohave beautiful natural light like mine or I'm happy to shoot the studio lights or continuous lights and doing it that way but yeah how many of you shoot with studio lots well most of you yeah so how do you find that in your space like you are you firing flash or using continuous lives I had to change from the bedroom upstairs to danced to the dining room downstairs and I had beautiful lighting common in every afternoon upstairs but since moving downstairs there's no light at all so I had to get studio lights my one is with the flash so if flashes every time you take a picture bombs do still learning to make it look as natural as possible I think they're yet still working on it but I felt that natural light it was a lot easier to work around maybe because I don't for over a year then stood your light it's a lot more harsh and you know there is a big difference like when you are learning studio lot on dh even learning you know natural lot principles is still very similar in you know the actual lighting of the subject but definitely learning learning new lighting systems can take some time and lots of practice I strobes I actually used alien bees and I just recently was working with a mentor who's fabulous in the area live near seattle so we don't really get the light that leased in my home that we need to be able to do naturally in my studio so I recently discovered that I tried to get the best I got the b eight hundred tried to get the best lighting but then it's too powerful I can't open my apertura white enough to be able to do the newborn shots that I dream of and so I had actually ended up just switching over to using my secondary light as my primary light because I could turn it down a lot more and that was a big eye opening thing for me like why did I use this first I had both of them their widened I just switch earlier so I could open up and get get those really dreaming newborn shots and that was a huge milestone from you which it's sort of embarrassing to admit that it took me so long to figure that out but once I did it opened up so much with my studio lights and the flash doesn't seem to bother the newborns at all I get beautiful lighting but it took that that realizing what is it that I want to get and making sure that my equipment even though it was technically a better light it's not the light for what I needed to do so I mean as newborn photographers we want our babies to look soft and dreamy like he said you know we want that light to be beautiful and soft and we want those shadows teo really curve around the baby's face and show all those details and if you're your lights are too powerful you've got the position drunk you're gonna blow out all those details and not see them so it is really important to understand your lighting system if you are going to use artificial light as well you know another thing to consider is it might not have an effect on the baby but when it's constantly firing and you've got a couple sitting there who are tired it can be quite startling and things like that to consider a cz well as you know the stands I s stands secure so if those toddlers running around inside the studio you know if they bump into them are those lights able to topple like a using sandbags to secure them things like that you know power leads hanging off um taking all of those things in consideration part of why I went away from natural light was I was having to move things around so much and I found that extended the length of the session up the baby was woken up a lot easier and then you had to spend more time getting them settled whereas if you could you know have like you're being back area and then like a wood backdrop or whatever else you decided to use you could have there's spaces separate and it's sped up my work flow a lot so that was the reason why the I switched away from natural light because I didn't have enough natural light to do both locations yeah and in my original studio images I had the beanbag set up on one side and then I had my timber paneling set up on the other side so I would pose on my beanbag with the baby facing to the lift and then I would tend around and I'm using my props I would have to pose the baby to the right so it became slightly an edict that word and then I noticed this morning well I know to see you know like previously photographing here sorry that the lights are on on the left hand side my I mean the windows my windows are on my right hand side so you know it's opposing towards the light as well and how you use your hands to position the baby and everything so all of those things uh you know such a yeah yeah I mean what are what are some other considerations with regard to the direction of light and the window so south facing northeast teo say that like when when we did decide that we would convert our garage into my new studio space you know they're north east facing and the sun rises right there so first thing in the in the morning and we've got these four big glass doors and the sun is just pouring in there and you know I live in queens science that's hot and it would get too I would get up to about thirty five degrees celsius in there like it's seven o'clock in the morning and that's really really hot so I had to come in come up with ways on how to keep that area cool but by ten a m that direct light that's coming through those windows is gone which is fantastic because then I still have all of that beautiful natural light just flowing in through those windows and and my sessions started to name so that I've got no issues with direct light whatsoever but yeah the original studio space it was actually on the opposite side of the house so it was quite dark and there was a light coming through you saw in the image those beautiful big windows but then I diffused tthe um and I defuse them just to make it softer it's like you know shooting outside on a cloudy day even though it's soft like coming through I did notice a massive difference in the contrast of my images when I defused it even more and I would just move my bag a little bit closer to curtains to the shoe curtains and shoot there but it meant that I had to start my sessions earlier and and if I was shooting after sort of three four o'clock in the afternoon for any reason someone couldn't come early it would just be so dark in there and us having to bump up my eyes so toe like sixteen hundred on overcast days and he would really see that grain and your image is so finding a room that's got beautiful light it doesn't have to face a specific way but if it's facing the opposite way to the sun if you know you're gonna get the sun setting in the afternoon that's going to cause some problems then but if it's if it's in the morning that you shooting and and you've got no light whatsoever it's going to be like my room so yeah depending on whatever part of the world you are if you perhaps would you recommend testing throughout the day different times of day and then different times of year too I mean there's so many different things to consider yeah with regard to that yet from summer to winter you know the light changes drastically wherever you are but you know I've noticed here in seattle like it it's beautiful and soft it's not you get a lot of overcast days here so it's not great light but then when you say done in l a you've got sonny whether all the time and the sun's pouring down its calm believe that twenty two hours on a plane and it's so different but it is so drastic and then you go to the u k and you've got you know really low light for shorter hours of the day so yeah I would definitely recommend going into that space that you considering and having a look at the light at the different times of day and working out what would be the best time of day to have your sessions for that line so to that regard what are your hours of operation what did you determine works for you so my hours of operation always fit in with my children and my family which is school hours so nine a m is pretty much when the bell goes at school and then they go home by three some musicians start between nine thirty and ten always say like come between nine thirty and ten know why we're ready to shoot for ten on dh that way people have gone by lunch time because that's when they're starting to get hungry as well but here that that direct light is gone by ten am so if they get there and it's still a little bit of scattered direct line on the floor at least I know you know we're going to take that time to talk about the session and things like that but yeah finding out what is the best time in your space to shoot and running your positions around that but they also have to fit with you in your life style as well e wanted for your studio did you think about it being like bouncing the light or what was your decision based on basically yeah so I always wanted beautiful a beautiful white studio because you know every surface is reflective I've been into a couple of studios with flooring was really dark timber and they would get these color casts because the light went even when they were using studio light would bounce off the floor and throw this sort of magenta color into the images depending well it would depend on the type of flooring but yeah I wanted it dreamy in their eye one of the white wolves the white ceiling the white floors and that way everything just you know the light and there was just bouncing off everything that was really beautiful can you talk a little bit about what we'll talk about once we get to the essentials of building that home studio so when you you've got your space and you start to create that beautiful space you need to fill it and what do you need to fill it with obviously I said before when I first started out I only had a few different blankets and I had a beanbag and things like that and then when I progressed into that original space I had to have change table and things like that so we're going to go over all the things that you know you need to consider and you should have like when you are starting out with a home studio and keeping and keeping in mind you know that we want to make it as professional as proper possible

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Home Studio Checklist
What To Expect At Home
What To Expect In Studio
Preshoot Prep for Mothers
Marketing Plan
Pricing Guide
Posing Guide
Prop Guide
Resource Guide
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


What an awesome class! I actually started watching this, not because I was interested in newborn photography, but because I thought I could pick up some good ideas for photography in general. Kelly is such an inspiring person and so professional and such a good communicator that she has a lot to offer any photographer. I actually have been inspired to try newborn photography and can't wait to implement the multiple ideas Kelly has so generously given. I think it is wonderful for the profession of photography that she has the spirit to freely share what she knows to help those who are seeking advice and knowledge. Thank you!

Jennifer Traylor

I cannot say enough to relay the feeling of gratitude and appreciation for this class. I was very fortunate to be chosen as a studio audience member for this course and what I have taken away from this class will never be forgotten. Kelly pours herself into this class both on the head knowledge of photography and the heart knowledge of building a business and making it work in your life. She is such an amazing soul and I will treasure this experience always. This class is so thorough and works amazingly both all on its own or as a supplement to her other classes. You will not be disappointed. Her knowledge, her demeanor, her care, is brilliant. She pulls you right in, and even as an online viewer/purchaser for the previous two classes, I was able to feel her connection with the audience. She is an amazing teacher!!!! Kelly rocks, Kelly amazes, Kelly loves! Buy it today!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!! And don't forget, purchases get TONS of amazing bonus materials including extra videos and PDF's and manuals. This class is a bargain!!!!!


I really have been so happy & blessed Kelly to learn from you! You are gentle and I love your spirit in which you share your "Art". I am a Nurse and worked Hospice for many years. Many of my co-workers and I recently lost our nursing positions due to department integration and have decided that my passion and love for taking photos of children and babies is something I would like to pursue. I am learning so much Kelly from the way you take the time to gently get the baby in position, follow the baby's lead and enjoy the parents and each moment of the creative process. I am not at all a professional and am just really learning, but am enjoying practicing on my friends children and babies and of course my 4 month and 4 year old grandchildren. Thank you for providing free classes as I would not be able to afford any classes at this time in my life. You have a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing so eloquently! You have made a difference in my life. Patty from AZ

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