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$0 Beauty Photography Studio Setup

By Anita Sadowska on September 12th 2018

When I started my photography career back in 2013, the studio absolutely terrified me. It just never came naturally to me. I didn’t “just know” how to set up my lights as seems to be the case with some people.

I always found myself complaining about the camera I was using, the lights and equipment I didn’t have, and so on. Eventually, I slowly started realizing that it’s not the studio and my equipment that I have an issue with, but the fact that I didn’t properly understand the light, my equipment, and how it all works together. The more photoshoots I did and the further I progressed in my career, I started to understand the basics more and more with constant practice. I learned that there are different ways to imitate certain light scenarios and that it’s really not always about fancy expensive equipment.


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It’s so easy to get wrapped up in this state of mind where you never feel good enough because you don’t own a bunch of expensive gear. And I get it, I’ve been there. I started my career as a teenager, from nothing, and I’ve never been in a position to splash out on gear, even if I badly needed it.

But you know what? That made me resourceful. I’ve always loved the look of the studio, but I am, and always will be a sucker for natural light. So when an opportunity arose recently I decided to just go for it and shoot some studio-like natural light beauty.

No lights. No reflector. Just me and the model.

lighting setup


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My set up was very simple. I set up my model in front of an entrance door, in the shade, with the sun peeking through behind her. There was sun shining on the concrete ground around half a meter I front of her, and it acted as my fill-in light.

I went ahead and set up my camera as I’d usually do for beauty. I stuck with my favorite 100mm macro lens.
Keeping my Aperture high was key to give the shoot that “studio” look. Because I was in the shade I had to push my ISO slightly higher to around 400 to make sure I wasn’t too underexposed. Still, I was happy to keep the images on the darker side and compensate in Lightroom afterward, instead of using a higher ISO and risking a really grainy photo.


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Finally, makeup! We made sure to really make the model beautiful and glossy. I wanted to get that beautiful high shine on her skin and by applying loads of highlighters and oils my Makeup Artist Nicki Buglewicz provided the flawless finish.

I know that some will ask “Why don’t you just shoot at the studio then?” and I guess I just want people to realize that what stands between them doing work they are happy with is usually themselves, not the gear they are using. If you’re passionate and resourceful enough, I believe you can make anything happen. But you need to put in extra work and you need to want it bad enough. The rest is just a matter of time. You can see the full video here:

Equipment: Canon 5D MK IV + Canon 100mm Macro
Model: Bimpe –  Premier Models
MUA: Nicki Buglewicz

See more of my work on my Instagram.

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I’m a Photographer and a YouTube Educator. I love photographing all things beauty, fashion and swimwear. I love working with Natural light, especially direct sunlight. I’ve become known for excessively oiling up my models- all about that glow, baby :)

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Juan Bearce

    she is charming
    – roll the ball 

      Impossible game

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