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5 Ways to Keep Costs Down When Creating a New Photography Studio

By Becky Wilcox on May 22nd 2012

Overview

When starting a new freelance photography business, it is a good idea to do your best in creating a professional studio without spending a lot of money up front. The less you spend on equipment, the more you can pay yourself in the first several months of operating. Even if you have money saved for initial expenses, using a credit card with very low interest rates can help you purchase what you need and keep cash saved for unexpected expenses. In this article, I will write about 5 tips to help keep costs down where possible.

[See our SLR Lounge Gear Guides for more Equipment Ideas]

Backdrops

remnants-cloth
Rather than purchasing expensive canvas or muslin backdrops, you can make your own backdrops using wallpaper or fabric. You can find fabric by the yard at a local craft store or online. Hem the edges with a simple stitch or use iron-on tape to fold over the edges. If you want the fabric to pool at the bottom for a seamless background, be sure to measure your floor space and the backdrop prior to cutting and purchasing the fabric. To use wallpaper, cut plywood to size and attach wallpaper. You can also use paint and stencils to create one of a kind backdrops. While this is all rather time consuming, it is very inexpensive.

Floordrops

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For inexpensive flooring, use vinyl rather than wood or premade floors. Cut plywood to size and install the vinyl flooring yourself. You can make them any size you need, and they store nicely against the wall. Look for vinyl remnants to save even more money or floors.

Buy Used Photography Equipment

Photography equipment is very expensive, but you can save money if you are willing to take the time to shop around for used equipment. Look on local classifieds and online auction sites for used equipment. Good things to buy used are flashes, lights and backdrops. If you can find lenses with clean front and rear elements with good original owners, those are also great used purchases. However, be careful as often times lenses can be dropped with little to no cosmetic damage. Always test a lens thoroughly when purchasing used.

Props

Props are always great to add additional life and personality to your photos. Look for props that are versatile and can be used in several types of situations and styles. If you photograph infants, look for green, beige or white props that can be used by boys and girls. Search thrift stores and garage sales for chairs and other large furniture style props.

Lighting

studio-lighting
Lighting is the most important part of a studio and your images, in fact is even more important than the camera. A well lit scene will look great virtually on any camera, while a poorly lit scene will look terrible regardless of the camera. You should invest as much as you can into proper lighting. If you can’t afford more than one photography light, use a $30 light reflector to bounce available light back onto the subject.

Before investing in equipment and supplies if you plan to make your purchases with a credit card, look for the best credit card offers for your situation (I use Nerd Wallet whenever looking for new credit cards to apply for). Look for credit cards with low interest rates so your monthly payments will pay off principal rather than interest. As always, when starting your new venture, think outside the box. Often times with a little time and elbow grease you can create an item that you need without having to purchase expensive alternatives.

Guest Post by Rebecca Wilcox

About

Becky Wilcox is a photographer, writer and traveler with a passion for life, food, family, and of course photography!

4 Comments

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  1. Ed Rhodes

    those are some great tips!

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    […] [REWIND: 5 WAYS TO KEEP COSTS DOWN WHEN CREATING A NEW PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO] […]

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  3. Stephanie Elie

    While its not as portable as the vinyl floor I actually use a sheet of wood wall paneling for my floor. Purchased at Home Depot for about $20. 

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  4. Raffaella De Amicis

    Great idea with the vinyl flooring!

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