“MY TIPS ON HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS AT HOME WITHOUT A STUDIO, BECAUSE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE!
Backdrops are probably the thing I use most and something that makes the biggest difference, whether it’s for product images, beauty flatlays, outfit photos or portraits. There are SO MANY different things you can do to create different backdrops with various textures, colours and to create different moods/aesthetics. Get creative and figure out what you’ll use them for, what colours you want to try and then research where to get them from. There are so many different things available to try for different budgets, so below I’ll share what I use for smaller crop images such as close up makeup shots, portraits, product imagery and flatlays, as well as how to take outfit photos from your living room!
- For Flatlays, close up portraits, product imagery and makeup photos – I simply use coloured card. All of these images above were used with card as a background. Why? It’s simple, effective, really affordable and means you can easily stock up on a few different colours. It hasn’t failed me yet and is cost effective about £2 for a big bit of card! I personally get mine from The Range or The Works (UK), as they do big enough sizes to fit my head and shoulders in for portrait photography, like this lovely pink one opposite or the beige one above. Simply blu tack and tape the wall to add a real punch to your photos. Lay them over your bed or the floor and layer on top various props and products for flatlays, you can even have half and half of different colours in one photo and it’s a really good way to especially let the products or items on display do the talking, whilst subtly enhancing them with the right colour! Enjoy the creative process and try lots of different things!
BIGGER BACKDROPS; BEDSHEETS, STANDS AND POP UPS.
So many options! So alongside my thrifty cardboard solution, I needed something bigger for outfit photos and portraits I had in my mind.
- Bed sheet: A great and affordable solution will always be a classic bedsheet taped up to the wall! You could even collect a few in vintage prints that you can pick up for a few £’s in a charity shop or eBay! As you can see this option isn’t always seamless, but I think that adds to it’s charm! Embrace the curves and crevices of the material and let the light bounce from the folds to create a beautiful Depth. Don’t try to hide the folds but use them to your advantage – it creates a beautiful, rich, textured vibe.
- Backdrops with stands: A quick google search will bring up a plethora of affordable and really cheap backdrops with stands as a set to purchase on Ebay or Amazon. Admittedly, the stands are quite delicate with the more affordable options, and I personally think the material would be worth investing in (Note the creases in the photos from the first time we used it). I ordered some extra colours which were SO BAD it was hugely comical – so perhaps do your research if you go with this option and buy reputable backdrop materials. It will be worth it, as this has given me a lot of freedom with shooting!
- Pop ups: Lastly; my newest addition! For my acting work, I often have to audition from home and the colours grey and dark blue are the more favourable. I used to use my card backdrop, but it’s been so used heavily, so for this purpose, it was worth investing in a double sided, pop up backdrop from Interfit. It zips away into a compact bag, pops up in a matter of seconds with no creasing. It’s massive, so gives me a lot of freedom with framing and packs down really quickly too. It’s personally saved me a lot of effort having to tape the old one up; a life saver!
MASTERING THE FLATLAY & INVESTING IN PROPS
One things that’s made my life a lot easier when it comes to shooting products, flatlays or even with portraits, is gathering and investing in a few props (my favourite to date is still my old phone!) When I take product images, the room is a mess covered with candles, books, jewellery, an old phone, glasses, scarves and mirrors that I’ve gathered together, so I can tactfully place things which really creates depth and aesthetics to an image. Experiment, take your time and play around with compositions. You can even use blazers and dresses for backdrops (the velvet image above was a blazer I moved into position!) If you’re lacking inspiration, trawl through Pinterest and saved folders of things that inspire you and have a similar aesthetic to what you’re trying to achieve. What do they have in common? Colours, particular props, an editing style?
My mega tip – use blue tac to secure things down! There’s nothing more annoying than a lipstick rolling around when you’re meticulously balancing things for the perfect composition. Decide if you want a busy photo, a photo of yourself with a key prop such as flowers or a phone, or something really simple like products on a complimenting backdrop and go from there! Remember you don’t need to invest in expensive lights; shoot near a window or a strong house lamp will do if you need to gather more light. I invested in a cheap, Newer Ring light eventually which is great too!
I really hope you found my tips on how to take photos at home without a studio helpful, do let me know if you have your own tip, or what your favourite one was! Pop a comment below or my Insta DM’s are always open for a chat!