You don’t need studio strobes to get the portrait studio look.  In fact, you can get the studio portrait look with nothing but natural light. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essentials of setting up a natural light photography studio that maximizes the use of available light, giving you a budget friendly option for studio-like portraits.

Video: Garage Natural light Photography Studio

In the video below, learn one of the easiest garage studio setups for capturing beautiful natural light photography studio portraits.

Natural light Photography Studio Tips

Let’s review the concepts covered in the video and introduce some other tips for beautiful natural light photography studio portraits.

Choosing the Right Location

The first step in creating your natural light studio is finding the perfect location. The ideal space is one with a large natural light source such as a garage or windows facing north or south to ensure consistent, diffused light throughout the day, minimizing harsh shadows.

Find Natural Reflectors

In the video above, the photographer was shooting at around mid-day and the sun was coming in just on the right to provide a hair light. This gives a good light direction and a perfect spot to place the model. You’ll also notice a secondary source of light that is occurring naturally because of the sun’s position and the white walls of the garage. Walls can act as natural reflectors, permitting they are neutral-toned, or preferably white.

Controlling the Light

Having abundant natural light is wonderful, but controlling it is key to achieving the desired effect in your photographs. Sheer curtains or adjustable blinds can help manage the intensity and direction of incoming light. Reflectors and white boards are essential tools for bouncing light, allowing you to illuminate shadows gently and create even, flattering lighting on your subjects.

Look for Clean Backgrounds

When shooting in a space like a garage, you aren’t going to have a prime selection or options so your best bet is to invest in a backdrop. You can get them for so cheap nowadays that regardless if this make-shift studio remains permanent or not, it’ll be a sound investment. The one I am using here is by Backdrops by Ethan Alex over on Instagram.

Working with the Weather and Time of Day

Natural light is ever-changing, influenced by the weather and the time of day. Learn to adapt your shooting schedule to the type of light available. Overcast days provide soft, diffused light, perfect for portraits, while the golden hours of early morning and late afternoon offer warm, directional light ideal for dramatic shadows and textures.

Natural light Photography Studio Examples

And with that, you are ready to shoot! Here are some of the final images from the session:



Creating a natural light photography studio is an exciting journey that opens up endless possibilities for creativity and expression. By choosing the right location, designing your space with light in mind, and learning to control and complement natural light, you can capture images that are truly extraordinary. Embrace the challenges and variability of working with natural light, and let it inspire you to new heights in your photographic endeavors.