Simple Improvised Studio Setup Anyone Can Use

Improv studio setup

As an outdoor nature and landscape photographer I don’t own a lot of studio equipment, and I don’t think a lot about studio setup. I don’t own any lights, backdrops, light tables, or other equipment you might find in a studio. Heck, I don’t even know what I would need.

But I don’t let any of that stop me when I want to shoot something requiring a studio setup. I simply improvise.

You don’t need an expensive high end camera to get great results. This is something I tell people all the time. It applies to expensive studio equipment as well. Great to have, but you don’t need it. Good photography comes from the heart and the head, not from the tools. Properly placed lamps and neutral colored tablecloths can work very well in an improvised dinning room studio.

That is not to say you can get the same results with any camera and any studio setup. You won’t. And that’s okay, as long as you get the results you are looking for. The results I’m looking for, though I have my own high standards, don’t have to be to their standards. As long as I can get results that make me and the client happy, the equipment I use really isn’t that important.

Good results are more a matter of having thoughtful creativity than having the best tools.

A Simple Studio Setup

Improvised studio setup

For this product shoot I used my dinning room table and…

  • One white table cloth hung from a hutch.
  • A second white table cloth bunched up on the table.
  • Boxes, as needed, under the table cloth to give height to some items.
  • A lamp with bare bulb (soft white LED) on the floor between the table and hutch for back-lighting.

The main lighting was provided by a chandelier over the table and sunlight coming in through the window. The lamp was place on the floor on the opposite side of the subject from the window. There were also three LED pod lights pointed at the ceiling on top of the hutch. I don’t really think they made a difference.

The final image is at the top center of the image above.

This simple setup provided the result I was looking for and I didn’t have to change it significantly for the different items I was shooting. There was very little need for post processing beyond adjustments to white balance and some cropping.

Camera Settings

If you are interested in the camera settings, here they are:
Canon: EOS 60D
Lens: EF50mm f/1.8 STM
Focal Length: 50.0 mm (100.5 mm in 35mm)
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure Time: 0.005s (1/200)
ISO: 200
Handheld.

Final Words

That’s my simple improvised studio setup, for this set of images anyway. I hope you found the tip helpful. More photography tips will be coming soon and will be posted in my Photography Tips category.

What about you? Do you have some helpful photography tip to share? Perhaps something about your own experience with an improvised studio, or another idea on how to get the shot. Let everyone know in the comments.