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I never thought I would have to hack a DIY Photohoot Studio inside my tiny New York City apartment, but here we are! As a new fashion blogger, I planned on shooting looks at my favorite cafés and city streets, but the onset of this quarantine had me questioning if I should change my niche or wait until everything was over. After some intense brainstorming, I found new ways to adapt and I’m all the better for it!
With some trial and error, I was able to DIY an at-home photo studio where I could take photos of my outfits and design flat lays. I live in a small New York City apartment, so there isn’t much room, but with some ingenuity and determination, anything is possible.
- Two Softboxes from Amazon
- Photography Backdrop Stand
- 5x7ft Photography Backdrop – White Brick Wall
- 2 White Foam Board
- Nikon D3200 + Nikkor 35mm DX AF-S Lens
- Amazon Tripod
- Amazon Basics Remote Shutter
DIY Photoshoot Set-Up
The dimensions of my space are about 8×10 sq/ft with a huge black TV screen sandwiched between two west-facing windows directly in front of my set.
I arranged my photography backdrop stand facing the windows to make use of the natural light. To minimize the dark reflection of the TV screen, I placed two white foam boards in front of the screen to help reflect light back on my set.
The photography backdrop is set about 10 feet from my camera tripod to capture a full-length outfit photo in both portrait and landscape. Since I’m short, I don’t need the full 7ft height, so I let about a foot of the backdrop fold under the stand and out of the way.
Depending on your available space and access to natural light, you’ll probably have to adjust your DIY photoshoot setup differently than me.
I used two soft boxes positioned diagonally toward my set to supplement the natural light and even out any dark shadows. I prefer the soft boxes to a ring light because they provide more even light over a larger area, and having two of them makes adjusting for shadows so much easier.
Camera & Lens
The camera I use is 8 years old, but it still works really well for my needs. I set up my 35mm lens on a Nikon D3200 camera body on my tripod as close to my TV as possible to get the right framing.
I always shoot in manual mode, so I adjusted my settings with the camera on the tripod to make sure I would be in focus.
Making it work
I took a bunch of test shots to get the right exposure and composition. It probably took me about 10 minutes to get everything exactly the way I wanted. The beauty of DIY is in finding what work best for you. Whether you’re setting your camera on a stack of books and posing in front of a flat sheet draped over chairs, or adjusting a tripod and lighting umbrellas, don’t be afraid to experiment to find the best DIY photoshoot set-up for you.
Self-Timer vs. Remote Shutter
I’ve used both the self timer and remote shutter for self portraits and solo photoshoots. I personally love my remote shutter for DIY photoshoots. The one I got from Amazon is cheap and does the job perfectly. It paired with my Nikon in a cinch and it’s so easy to use. You can set it to release immediately or with a 2 second delay, but I prefer the 2 second delay so I can ditch the remote or hide it in my pocket.
Tip: Just make sure that the indicator light next to the handle of your camera is clear of any obstructions. The remote needs to connect to the camera’s indicator to signal the shutter to go off.
All in all, I’m really happy with how my DIY photoshoot studio turned out. I did edit the photos a bit in Lightroom, but I always edit photos for my blog. The most import part for me was having the ability to shoot fashion-related content in my apartment in a way that matched my aesthetic. This just goes to prove that where there’s a will, there’s always a way!
Hope you guys enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peak at how I’ve adapted to create content for my blog. If you like my outfit, you can shop similar items on my Shop My Instagram page here. Never miss a post, by subscribing to my weekly newsletter and following me on Instagram and Pinterest! Hope you have an amazing week!