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

Lesson 4 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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

Lesson 4 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

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

Kelly set up her own studio in just one week. Gain insight into the planning necessary to launch a home studio, from obtaining the necessary permits to finding an appropriate 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: Planning

right now we're going to talk about setting up your harm studio in a week it's something that I did and it was fairly ambitious but it kind of had to be done and I'm that type of that type of person I'm really impulsive but if you're putting enough planning and enough thought into the process you know it's so easy to do and you know making that decision toe work from home for me was the best decision I ever made um you know this this there's a lot involved with it but you know when you take the right steps you can set up a beautiful home studio that's comfortable feed clients and and make your life a dream as opposed to having to pack everything up in the car like I did for four years and drive halfway across the city to somebody's house and be stuck in a situation with low light and that the you know the lack of heat in some circumstances so yeah when it comes to like the planning of things it's it could take quite a while to do it so for me even though I sent my studio up in in a wee...

k actually had spent quite a bit of time planning that process out you know not just on paper but in my mind as well you know what did I want my studio to look like there was so many questions that I had to answer and you know my finding my dream studio and and all of those sort of things and and then obviously like um having the room to do it so for us we built a new house about four and a half years ago and when we moved in we didn't exactly have the most suitable area from ada shoot clients in but I had decided that no I was sick of sick of driving to people's houses and taking all my stuff in and out that we just made one of the rooms in our house into a into a space for me to shooting and it was a really small space it was like six by four meters and it had white tiled floors it had white walls and it didn't even have doors actually had to find curtains to close the room off to keep the heat in so it was really not suitable but it did have a large window which is what I what I enjoyed working with um you know so having that space wasn't perfect but I made it work and from there I started to think right where am I gonna you know where am I going to put my real studio in my house do we have to build another building which was something that I always wanted to do but unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way and that was because we needed a particular permit and when we applied for it way actually got no back from count out council a local council because of where we live and we had some certain trees planted near a house that they said my new building would impact upon so anyway that really caused a few problems and slowed the process down for me but you know for you if you're setting up a home studio and whether you already have one and you want to create another one you know you're just moving into that stage of your business your career for the first time you have to know if you're allowed to do it or not um for us we would live we actually back onto a semi rural estate even though we're quite close to the city we we've got acreage around us which means that which you don't need a permit teo work to run a business from home but I would strongly recommend to anybody that is wanting to set up a home studio you know contact your local councils you're you know your local governments the state council's and I think in the states it's called us permits things like that for small business and finding out whether or not you actually allowed to run a business from home and it's got a lot to do with you know how many cars could be parked at your your place of residence at one time things like that so permits are really important because if you don't have one they can actually shut you down and then you could be stopped from working or running your business for a certain period of time I'm not exactly sure of the rules in the states but in australia we could be shut down for like up to twelve months which is not something that I want to do doing it right getting it right in the first place I highly recommend how what we learn from our studio audience sort of where they are get a sense of how many people have home studios and maybe what some of those challenges were when they were getting started you had definitely how many of you work from home at the moment all of you but too and we're about to be working from the moment you just grab the mike johnny's my health thank you uh sharing a studio with someone currently so we're half and half yeah I used to be home studio in a friend's house and you enjoying the studio's face I am it's just a matter of getting all of our props in the same space and organized that's the main bro I've got right now yeah yeah and if you don't have that space in your house like all you can't work from home sharing a studio paid space is a really good idea and everything extra has to go in our garage oh I could imagine how about yourself uh I have a studio it's about twenty minutes from my house and uh has challenges that you have to pay the rent where is the fear that you know you don't have an extra payment um it's also a twenty minute draft so that's still twenty minutes that you have to get there in twenty minutes that you have to come home um so you know if you have limited time that you can shoot you know that cuts into your shooting thymus well um so there's definitely challenges either way yeah there are pros and cons with with all of them you know working from home for me like you know a con is that I could never leave my actual place of business and as much as I try teo and I have that great work life balance I still have to walk past my office and I could see if females come through and I have to try really hard not to actually check them and yet another another con for working from home not that we're focusing on those but there are challenges with every single circumstance is having people in your home so that sort of goes back tio you know like do you have the right space in your house like is it a the front of your house or is it the back of your house because when clients coming into your house you know do you want um having to walk all the way through your personal space your home or is there an area at the front where they can just come in and not really sort of be in your living room where you live and especially if you've got all the family members that are at home during during the day as well so so many factors to consider but yeah you've got on an external studio you've got your rent and there are so many other things to consider like your your parking and your location and yeah it can get quite expensive as well and like you said that drive time definitely and if you forget something and then it's another forty fifty minute round trip as well so yeah another thing that we really have to consider when we're setting up a studio is your insurances and if any type of insurance I mean it's very any type of studio whether it's an in home one or it's at a location in a commercial premises you have to have insurance is because you know if you don't have those liability insurance is covered you you know full risk to losing absolutely everything if something happens to either you know a child or a fan or another family member the baby yourself or your your equipment if that gets damaged as well so insurances they're different companies out there you've got your you know your home and contents insurance companies and some of those do off a business insurance and liability insurance but it definitely recommend shopping around and getting the right one in australia we use a company that is specific for photographers so it's really great because they've really got everything covered and you can call them and get great advice over the phone chicken since we've got people who both in germany a cz well as the u s what are some of the things that you guys have have you figured out with regard to what you need for insurance you're home and gravel mike yeah in germany I definitely have insurance for everything it is together with home car like we have a big package that coverage everything on do you really need to be careful especially germany it's very strict with pretty much everything on dh but I was also able to find insurance that is photographers and for its worldwide because I often travel I have family in different parts of the world and I often often travel and I shoot as well um so it's good to have insurance covered for like different parts of the world where ago yeah definitely yeah that's great yeah does anybody else like not have insurances or um had trouble finding the right insurance cover yeah that's really great it's so good to hear that everybody's doing that you know when I first started I didn't I didn't have a home studio but I didn't get insurance and I can remember one of our creative I've instructor's coming and her saying if there is anything that you take away from this class getting insurance is the number one thing like do not continue teo cozy a client until you have that so you know it seems like that's a definite must I have insurance and its business insurance and I don't have any trouble finding it but I was actually surprised how affordable it is I think my husband is an engineer and very by the book and I don't know that I would have search that out in the very beginning had it not been for him but he pushed me to do it and I think it was it was a relief to find out oh it it's affordable it's not gonna it's not it's not going to make it so I can't do this and so it's peace of mind for me uh different and for him of course to because he's um not in control but then also could lose everything as well being married to me and having it be in our home so that I think was the biggest thing the biggest takeaway for me is that it's affordable and it's and there you know companies out there that are four photographers for insurance photographers and really helpful so yeah and I think that's what does scare a lot of people off getting that insurance is that they think that it's going to cost them an arm and a leg and it doesn't you would rather spend that little bit of money and recovered not lose your home and you know your life savings or anything else you just it's it's something that cannot be emphasised enough definitely and little things like somebody a client only has to arrive at your house and walk through your front gate and trip on a toy or a hose or you know or the gutter I don't know the footpath were coming up the front step all of those little things you know your insurance has cover you for those a cz well as a multitude of other things as well so yeah um other things that you need to consider when you're setting up your studio is um you know are you we'll remove the next slide before I forget you know is it easy access for your clients is it in a location where clients confined you do they have to drive an hour out of town or you know are you centrally located things like that and also you know like your driveway I have a really steep driveway and that really scared me in the beginning of having a home studio so we actually had stairs installed next to our driveway so clients can actually use the stairs and I have to walk up a really straight to steep driveway but little things like that because when you think about our parents how moms you know there often in a little bit of discomfort after giving birth well they've had surgery from a cesarean so factors like that you know taking everything into consideration will just make it a much more enjoyable experience for your clients and easier for you to gain that access um yeah can question about that what are some of the things that if like you built steps but what are some of the things that if your clients couldn't access for some certain reasons like that you would say probably not a good idea to try to have a home studio deaf or are there is there anything that stops some of you from from making a decision I live on a military base like she had a client that could even come to my house because of something she did seven years ago she can't get a pass on base to be sponsored so I had to cancel the session so for me that's something every person that comes on hospital to be sponsored so depending on even something did they did a long time ago it may I may not be able tio be accessible for them wow wow I didn't actually know that like obviously I think yeah that's really great to know for a lot of people out there that live in military bases is one way we do have a lot of a lot of students that aren't military basis cool and go ahead where I live is it's a very old town and with old buildings and it's extremely common not to have elevators and my husband and I were trying to move to have a bigger place and actually have a bigger studio on dh there have been apartments that were absolutely perfect with the most perfect light and then it was like five stories without an elevator and I'm like okay if you come with a prem or you know even if you're just holding the baby's just not comfortable or even for a maternity photo shoot eh so we had to say no to many of those because there's no l beer yeah so that's one of the are definitely yes oh there are so many factors teo saying you know yes I'm going to build a home studio or we're going to convert part of their house into a home studio you know if you don't have that access like kennison it's just not going to work for you another thing that I was curious about was was do you ever or did you when planning to do a walk through as the for your client's eyes like what if I was approaching this place for the first time what would it look like oh yeah and it's such a great exercise for everybody out there to do you know grab your iphone or or any type of video camera device and and walk from the road not your not where you would park your car but walk into your property on glen watch it back from from a client's perspective and what it is actually like tio tio turn up and get out of the car and have that first impression as well so not only are we talking about easy access but you know we're also talking about what is the first impression going to be for our clients when they step out of the car and first impressions have such an impact on you know how the session is going to go the very first thoughts of you and it's and it's something that everybody does everywhere we go and every time we meet somebody or do something it is in our nature to have a first impression so we want that first impression to be incredible you know where you live might not necessarily be the ideal place to have a home studio and for us like we built our house four years ago just over four years ago so prior to that we lived in a not very nice area um we had bought our house like quite some time ago and rented it out but when we moved back to that city we lived in there and there was no way that I was ever going to have clients come there because the people across the road they have their front lawn look like a rubbish tip and the people next door you know had terrible barking dogs so for me when I first you know we went back there I said to my husband I can't have clients come here because like look up what they have to look at before they walk in my front door and I just wasn't prepared I wanted my business to be you know to be incredible from start to finish I never wanted anybody to have an opinion of me or you know like they say judge a book by its cover and I just wasn't prepared teo to do that so yes such a such a good point thank you does anybody else have any any questions or anything they want to add about that their place before we move on yeah girlfriend would I leave and when the clients come in my house because ofthis least has everywhere and sometimes they don't read that I I have a home studio and they walk my front door and they're like oh you do have a nice set up in here when I got in your front and was unsure because the house so when they look and everything is nice and set it up and they're like happy especially the husbands they are like okay I'm in someone's house with my kids this is just not right then they go and and you're like ok this is a studio and that's in my house is to look like a professional studio that they would find in a shop yeah so there was there in doors they're happy with it yeah yeah that is great that is really great it's it's so true though having that professionalism um inside when people do come in because people do hesitate when they go into somebody else's house for the first time and they feel a bit awkward or like we're in here for photos and they're already kind of a little bit tense about being in front of the camera sometimes so having that environment where they can walk in and it is professionally set up and it has that welcoming feeling is really say it would you kelly ever have clients come to your home before the actual shoot do you do you have pre consultations before the baby is born or we could talk about that later but yeah and have you ever had people come before no I don't actually unless they've done a drive by and I don't know about it but no I don't have pre consult in the house everything is done over the phone or by email and one of the main reasons is because people drive a fair distance to come and have a session so I can have clients from you no one to two hours drive away come come to the shoot because where we live we have like three sort of major cities around us that air about an hour t two hours away and I mean I've even had people drive like six seven hours for a photo shoot which is incredible because nobody in there in the area um offered what at what we do so that was really amazing experience but yet no because I think sometimes it's so hot and you know obviously being heavily pregnant you're not really driving around the streets and things like that hopefully so I'm wondering if you recommend that people have an entrance just based upon that conversation directly into the studio if possible versus like through the front door yeah if you can have a separate entrance perfect absolutely perfect eso when we built because it just keeps that privacy as well and you know people then can identify that it is actually a photography studio when we built office our house sorry not at you we was effort staff we built it any way you could walk in our front door and there would be my office on the left and then my studio space was the next room up and then there was a set of stairs that went upstairs and that was kind of it so all they were seeing was my office and then walking into the studio space and the next door on from there was a bathroom so it did work well it wasn't the ideal space which I talked about before but the fact that it was at the front of my home meant that the rest of my home was my home so I didn't have clients coming in there and you know what it's like when you work from home you spend you know a ll these hours running around like crazy trying to clean your house and make sure the floors have done and and all of that so it just meant that you know having an area where I could have like my washing that I hadn't quite finished shining put to the side that they can't see it just left me with my space and that I'm not having to give that up every time I have a client come so yeah that's really really important but I have been to a lot of photographers homes where you actually have to walk through their entire house just to get to that shooting room and you know unfortunately I've seen so you know um yeah really unorganized homes and it gave me a first impression off their house as well when I walked into the studio space that was fine but it was having to walk through the home and there was toys everywhere in a mess and all of those things so yeah that level of professionalism that we talked about you know it has to start from from the front from the minute they step out of their door I mean the car door and they walk through that studio space so yeah um might move on to the next day I'd like to talk about that all day um and then you know what is your budget everybody's got a budget and we all start some way when we first build our house we put all of her money into building a house and we didn't have anything left over for anything so for me I basically had everything that I put in my car in a room that was it and I bought curtains that was all I could afford to start with so for planning my new studio I had to figure out what is my budget how much am I going to spend on this and you know what can I afford and I also put that into my planning so you know for the for the next year I need to be able to cover the expenses of the studio space so it goes goes further down the line into you know my business planning and my marketing planning and and everything for the following year in salary and so many things that you've got to take into consideration when you're doing something like that um and just saying again like everyone's budgets going to different based on where we're at with in our business right so considerations if you're totally just starting out versus established already exactly it differently is there some kind of formula or guidelines that you could use for people so you're just starting out in terms of how much to invest like how do you determine how much to invest and maybe even if folks could share much how they determined how much you invest yeah it's funny because the materials out there that you need to build a studio they can cost you know such a big difference from different places so when it comes to finding that budget you know if I'm only earning a certain amount of money in that year then obviously like I'm not gonna have a lot left over toe to spend on that so you gotta factor it into your cost of doing business for the following year things like that but when I first started out obviously way had this house so I just had this room and all I had to do was buy a curtain rod on dh cem they called rubber back curtains I'm not sure if they called that here but they were thin nice and thick so they keep the heat in and then I had to buy she curtains to put over my window so they were pretty much the only major expense that I had for sitting up like when I very first started out um things like a panel off vinyl flooring costing about one hundred twenty dollars so if you are setting up for the very first time in just a room you don't need a lot we're going to talk about that in a little bit but when you are planning your big studio and something that you know you've been dreaming off like for may off I've dreamt about it for so long so my budget's gonna be quite high bac has had this expectation of what it was going to look like so if you're just making do then obviously khun do it really affordably but if you're planning a beautiful studio like I did then obviously my budget was going to be be higher but I still shopped around and you know like I don't wanna waste money on materials but I wanted to work and I wanted to look professional so yeah I'm not gonna like go out and buy the most expensive flooring or anything like that I had teo to save and and you make money in the process of doing it in spending money but yet sorry did you found yourself changing lots of things on your studio before you actually hit to the sport that you actually want it because I find that quite often like last year teaching to the caller a couple times and the floor you start from houses because he's I had working on anything I need you know and now the thing for my backdrops I just had a new ideas so he's working on that for me and I don't know what's going to be six months value but are you know did you continue changing fleeing yeah yeah continually because we change as the business grows we grow and you know we always want to do more so for me it was definitely adding in new things and putting in new backdrop systems and all of that type of thing so yeah it's in the very very very beginning its basic and then you grow from there and it's it's really important to grow but you do eventually outgrowth of space for me I am I remember my husband coming into my studio one day and he set down while I was cleaning up and I said I just need a couple of shelves up there and he said no you just need to stop buying props I said well I need a new studio and he's like no you don't because he could see that my space worked for me but for me personally you know I had this dream off creating a beautiful space for my clients to come so I I always had it there and when I was ready to do it I put all the plans and all the cars in motion and I just took off from there but yeah you will continue to grow and outgrow your space eventually I'm sorry three to your husband but when you're doing that as well you know you've got to find your inspiration so for me you know I I loved I wanted I love dwight and I mean photography studios in white they're just an incredible space to shoot in with natural light even with you know artificial light the light just bounces around the beauty of the room and it's beautiful and soft so I wanted you know that beautiful white look and I love black wear a little black so I wanted to introduce that but I also love a ll those natural colors and times so when I was creating my inspiration board whether I did it on pinterest or I did it somewhere else in magazine cutouts things like that I am I cut out anything I was attracted to anything I said oh that looks nice and then when I was going through what I wanted I picked what actually resembled my style of photography and then it's creating that brand and finding that style from you know my images right through tio that first look that first impression when clients walk in they can see that it's my space so yeah I started to put boards together with you know like door systems for people to enter flooring different types of panel flooring you know textures and all of that kind of stuff and shelving what's the shelving did I want because I wanted people to be able to come in and see the props see what I'm going to be using and have it on display for them as well because you know I love shopping for props I love being able to to go out and buy things and I often go home where stars and think all that'll look nice in my house and then ends up in my studio so you know I want those things on display and I want my client still to come in and go wow and have that you know that wonderful impact that it does so yeah that's pretty much it for may for inspiration like how how do you guys find your inspiration so for me when I started out it was really trial and error I would uh start with basic necessity just what did I need to get the job done and then I would start to accumulate things and realize that in the end I didn't like them and then from there it was growing into more of what do I want and having to discipline yourself on spending so I was I had a separate account set up and I was very much I'm a frugal person by nature so until I have twice the amount of money that I want that whatever this is staying costs going to make sure I have twice the amount of money and time would go by and then I would realize once I had the money I didn't really want that anymore so it's just really disciplining myself and finding the things that spoke to me and getting rid of all of the extra stuff so that's what it was for me yeah I can't agree more when it comes to filling of studio with things you love not things that somebody else has and you think you've got have them because somebody else has them it's finding what you love and then that way when your clients come in and you're using them or um you know you just using everything that you love like when my clients come in and we start going through the process of selecting colors and props and and items I love everything in my studio so I'm never gonna have an issue with what we use but yeah I used to actually have items in my studio that I didn't like like like you're saying you know I I stick it a little bit embarrassed when people would comment on them because I didn't really like them on and then it was like why actually in here why am I not getting rid of those because they're not may that's not may so yeah once actually removed those and I really sort of looked at you know my photography and what I loved my space is so comfortable I'm so proud to walk in and go this is my studio because there is nothing in there I don't love or doesn't represent my my style and my brand so you're really really important when you're starting to look through those things so who how long have you had your studio for anybody anybody wantto tell me a little bit more about this studio space study my studio now this's a lot of great information for me I'm just finding also that I've got a puppy at home so that makes it hard when pickman clients come over to pop him the copper away and you're just having pets inside when you have clients and babies come in way have pits so I understand you and we have a nine month old oh boxer puppy at the moment but he is an outside dog so he comes inside after bath but that's about it for a quick cuddle but he's an outside dog but yes a lot of people do have inside pits and we have an inside cat and it's really important that I keep the cat out of the studio because he likes to go in there if the door gets left open he's like that's that's like freedom for him because it's away from the kids but I've had clients come in out of head allergies and and I thought wow like you know my cats in there like it's not even in here but that was so sensitive to that that this poor person had to take a body call it and and histamine and yeah I felt really terrible for them but just that the cat coming in you know randomly can cause such a reaction like that and you know when it comes to tio two dogs some people actually have a genuine fear of off dogs I did go into another photography studio once and they had like a little stephanie she and terry a dog and it was lovely it was had a great personality but I'm still scared because I have a natural fear of dogs other people's dogs that I don't know and it was inside and dogs have a particular smell so if they're not kept clain and things like that they can come across because the first thing I noticed when I walked into that property was I could smell a dog um so um ask somebody like if you do have a dog and you ask ask him because you've become very familiar with certain smells and you don't notice them after a while ask someone that hasn't been to your property for a long time to give you an honest answer and say when you walk in can you actually smell that I have a dog because they do have a distinct smell unless they're obviously bast every day kasas well and that's one thing when I first started this was like I tell people that because of allergies I didn't want to come across like oh my cats you know are on the props and everything like that I try to present in a way that they know that the cats won't be president but that leased disclosing it because I have them in case of allergies for liability and stuff is that something that you do I don't but we really you know I probably could and if you feel comfortable doing that I would recommend that you do that but yeah like for me my cat he's an all grumpy cat he really tries to stay away from people but yeah if people want to use my bathroom and they have to come out of the studio I was warned them and I say you know I have a cat is you know do you have any problems with that like any issues and they're always quick to say yes or no but I always say if they've got little kids to just be careful if he is out there he's never really out in about he's goody's own space but he's not a big fan of kids so I do have to warn them with that don't let your child garp pat him because he's not nice sorry charlie brown

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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