One of the things I love most about running my photography business is my fully equipped studio in Ottawa. I love the high ceilings, the brightness of the space, and the ability I have to photograph my clients from the comfort of my own home. The creation of my studio didn’t just happen over night; when my family and business outgrew our last home we had to find a space that could meet both personal and professional needs and as anyone with young kids knows, moving is an incredibly stressful endeavor.   Having this amazing space to work in took several years of acquiring props and backdrops, investing in equipment, choosing a lighting set-up, a handy husband, and a lot of hard work but it was worth it because I have a gorgeous studio for clients that meets all of our needs.

From the beginning of my business, I felt it was important to offer clients a safe, comfortable space where I could host their newborn, baby, family or maternity sessions.  While I do often shoot outdoors, or at a client’s home, having the studio means my clients can choose which environment is best for their family.

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How to set up a Photography Studio

There are a few key elements to creating a beautiful space that is both professional and functional.

1) Natural Light or Studio Light  

Whether your choose natural light or studio light will depend on your style and the light that is available.  While there is a large window in my studio I close the blinds and photograph my sessions with studio light.  Mixed lighting (studio and natural light) can make it difficult to achieve a consistent look across your images and to find the correct white balance.  Because I schedule sessions throughout the day (9 am to 7 pm), studio light was the best choice for my schedule and my ability to meet with clients at times that work best in their schedule.  In my last studio I had beautiful natural light but was only able to schedule sessions between 10 and 2 if I wanted to take advantage of the best light.

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2) Storage

Props have to go somewhere, and if you don’t have enough storage, you run the risk of tripping over the items you need for your session or not being able to find the props your clients want to use. Bins and containers can be helpful for sorting and storing props but consider open shelves, hooks, and hangers so that everything is easy to find and accessible.  Ensuring that everything in your studio has a place to be stored will help you stay organized during sessions but also create a calming, and professional environment for your clients.

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3) Build what you need

There is no list of ‘must have’ props and backdrops because each style and type of photography (e.g., maternity newborn, family) is different.  Irrespective of the types of backdrops you use make sure that the system you have installed makes it easy to change your backdrops and that your backdrops can be stored in your studio so you can change them easily during the session.  Even if you don’t have a large space, you can find creative ways to hang and store your backdrops, especially by taking advantage of vertical space to store your backdrops.

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Offering a studio in Ottawa for my clients was always a priority and I am proud of how it has turned out. What do you think?