How To Create A Home Photography Studio On A Budget

How To Create A Home Photography Studio On A Budget, creative photography tips ideas and props for business and lifestyle photoshoots, photography 101, #photography, simple DIY at home photography studio for baby and family photos
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As a blogger, photos are an important part of the job. I have slowly been upgrading my equipment and recently started getting a lot of questions about the changes. Today, I am going to walk you all through my at home photography studio that I put together over the last year on a budget. These are all the tools I use to bring the blog photos and Instagram photos to life!

The Camera:

I use a Nikon D5300 with built-in Wi-Fi. I can't stress the built in wifi piece enough. It's a total game-changer for a few reasons: it's easy to share and edit the photos since you can download them from your camera to your phone anywhere in seconds. Also, you can take photos by yourself by using a tripod and your phone as the “remote”:

the confused millennial

The reason I am holding my phone in so many photos lately is because I am actually using it to take photos of myself or me and E.

Some posts I've done using my DSLR on the tripod and my phone as the remote can be seen in this post on New Years Resolutions and this post on conversations to have before getting engaged.

The other camera I was looking at was the Canon Rebel T6i (also with Wi-Fi). I think the Nikon was cheaper when I got it, but the two are pretty similar so go with whatever your preference is.

I also recently upgraded my lens to the 50 mm f1.8. The “kit lens” (aka the lens that comes with the base of the camera if you buy them together – you can buy just the base) was only an f3.5, which doesn't allow as much light in or give you that “blown out” look as much in the background.


If your camera has wi-fi you 100% need a tripod so you can do photo shoots by yourself. Otherwise, it's not as necessary, but definitely still good to have since they are so cheap and easy to store.


The hubs bought me this lighting set which I absolutely love. It's pretty inexpensive too. I've also heard great reviews about this lighting set which is slightly more expensive. They are from the same makers and both sets are easy to use and fold up into a nice compact bag.

I also purchased these LED Daylight light bulbs for around my desk while doing sessions with clients. I always get compliments on how good the lighting is during those. I used to make the mistake of buying the “bright white” bulbs, which cast more of a yellow hue, rather than daylight which is the “white” I was really looking for. If I need a little extra light, I sometimes use these for photo shoots around the house too.


I purchased this backdrop support system but ultimately returned it since it's not something I wanted to leave up in my apartment 24/7. However, if I had a home office I would have totally kept it. The support system was easy to set up but it was huge for our apartment. I would recommend measuring out the area you plan to put it (or be prepared to take it down every time, which isn't hard but I am lazy). When I purchased this frame, I also purchase a

When I purchased this frame, I also purchase a white muslin backdrop (similar to a sheet but really thick and good quality). If you do go this route, you will also need clamps to hold the muslin sheet to the support system. Also if you go this route, you can play around with really fun backdrops like this “wood” one.

E had bought me this collapsible blue/green backdrop because I needed a green screen for something. I loved how easy they were to fold up and pop out so I ended up buying the white/black version as well. I just lean them up against a wall in our apartment, but if you prefer to have a stand to hold it up you can purchase there here.

*Before I bought the white/black version, I actually just threw the white muslin sheet over the green screen and used that as a white background. This was SO easy and the muslin sheet is so thick you couldn't even tell that it was on top of a fluorescent green.


While I haven't purchased these yet, next on my list is to get these reflectors to bounce the light around to where I want it. I want to do some more reading on how to use these before I jump in and overwhelm myself.

Flat lays & surfaces:

All of the counters in my apartment are actually black granite or wood, which doesn't really scream #bloggergoals as the trend is really all about light and airy. I fake my countertops by using foam boards or construction paper. I either use a solid color or I apply marble adhesive film to the foam board or construction paper. You can purchase adhesive film in different types of marble or woods to create the look you want.


Do you have any photography tips or hacks? I would love to hear them in the comments!

Or let me know if you have any questions!


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How To Create A Home Photography Studio On A Budget, creative photography tips ideas and props for business and lifestyle photoshoots, photography 101, #photography, simple DIY at home photography studio for baby and family photos

This post was originally published on 1/23/17

109 thoughts on “How To Create A Home Photography Studio On A Budget”

  1. These are all great ideas. Over the time that I have been blogging I found that you can take really great photos with things you have around the house. A piece of whiteboard and a window does wonders.

    1. Agreed! Unfortunately where I moved, we don’t get direct sunlight into our windows! So I had to get the lighting system! otherwise, I was all about the natural light!

  2. These are fantastic ideas! My makeshift studio is constantly changing, but usually consists of a piece of white poster board.

  3. Courtney Patterson

    One of my goals this year is to work on my photography so these ideas are fantastic. Thanks for the advice and inspiration!

  4. Do you know if Wifi is a purchaseable add-on??? I don’t remember if mine has that built in already (I doubt it does, or else I’d know LOL), but man oh man, it sounds like a LIFESAVER.

    Coming Up Roses

    1. Yup you can! I almost went that route, but I’ve read a lot of reviews about it being hit or miss and not very consistent… plus I would lose it probably haha

  5. I want the Canon Rebel T6i! Right now I’ve got the T5. I’m in need of an upgrade! And as far as backdrops and stuff, Pinterest has a backdrop stand DIY using PVC that I want to tackle soon!

  6. This is the perfect post for me b/c I want to expand on my photography! I’ll have to check if my camera has Wi-Fi, I hope it does b/c that’ll make editing much easier and more efficient! Definitely will be purchasing some of these items.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks Erin! I love the photos you do choose though! I think if you don’t have the time to invest in photography right now, then doing it how you do is the way to go! Nothing drives me crazier than a half assed photography attempt that ends up cheapening the look of a blog!

  7. Such a great post. As a photographer, I use most if not all of these pieces of equipment. I’ll have to look into your backdrop system as my current one sucks. lol!

    1. I’m pretty big on vflats. Basically they are giant black or white boards and a lot of the time, they are cheaper than a traditional reflector. I use vflats as backdrops and reflectors-it’s like a 2 for 1. 🙂

  8. This is an amazing blog post! I always think it’s so helpful to hear exactly what other bloggers use. I’m hoping to upgrade my camera soon, and I’m so thankful you mentioned the Canon option too – because I have a Canon currently all my extra lenses and stuff are for Canon so I’m gonna stick with that. My husband got me an amazing tripod for Christmas last year too. I’m going to look into all of the other things you mentioned as well!

  9. I’m totally blown away by the wifi camera! We have an older Nikon, and I’m finally making friends with it, but oh my! Wifi?!?!?! And I can use it with my iPhone?! Sold! Or really, put on the wishlist for now. 🙂 Thanks for the amazing info!

  10. This is awesome! Thanks for the great tips and product links. I always get home from my day job so late that I miss the natural lighting for photos. I am definitely going to purchase that lighting kit. Thanks!

  11. I definitely need those lightbulbs in my home – I’m always complaining that our lights are too yellow!

  12. nicole simonetti

    I’ve got a stack of fake ‘countertops’ collecting. my only issue w/ the marble adhesive is that I catch lighting reflections a lot. so, looks like the next step to my at home photo studio is improved lighting. loved that you shared this w/ all your readers! x, nicole //

    1. Same! (about the reflection on the adhesive) I think the reflectors will help with that! which is why I want them, but I still haven’t done enough research!

  13. I’m really glad you wrote this post and also shared the links for the products you use. I really like your idea about the natural light light-bulbs. I need to go get some of those ASAP!!!!!!!

  14. This is such a perfect post for me right now! I just bought a tripod which I’m super excited to use, but I still want to upgrade my DSLR to one with wi-fi and video capabilities.

  15. This is a really helpful post Rachel! I really want to upgrade my photography equipment since my DSLR was probably first owned by a t-rex (okay it’s not that old, but we’re talking at least 13 years old here), haha! Thanks for all the info!
    -Anna |

  16. Great ideas! We have a huge garage space, so that’s become a studio for our small business, and it’s working really well!

  17. Thank you for sharing, I’ve been trying to upgrade my equipment and build my “home office” for a bit now and it’s slowly but surely coming together 🙂

  18. I loved this post! I am creating a natural light studio in our garage thanks to a husband who understands my need for a consistent lighting area and workspace. I think I’m going to order that backdrop support system!

  19. I’m definitely going to be using these tips – I’m trying to improve my photography skills!

  20. Lighting is my number one most important photography tool! I can manage to get a great shot even with my smartphone if the lighting is good!

  21. I currently know zero about photography, but I’m really excited to learn more. I’m hoping to save up to buy a DSLR and then experiment. I think the lighting kit will be the most important thing for me – the lighting in my house is awful.

  22. I have all my soft box light set up for filming and they are great! I also love love love my reflector! So helpful! I am hoping to use my white vinyl backdrop more this year!

  23. Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    This is awesome! We’ve had a lot of fun with our DSLR and I’m still learning so much. I need to work on a flat lay, and I also think that it would be great to get some things down before baby comes so that I can take awesome photos!

    1. Haha i always think about that when i am taking photos (that being photos for future kids) – I always stalk Jillian Harris’ instagram and her baby photos are SO cute!

  24. I’ve just purchased a remote and it’s making me SO happy! My next set of needs are good lighting (my apartment is really yellow) and a backdrop.

    For food photography I purchased some white poster board for reflectors and a white canvas (all from the dollar store!) to lay items on. The canvas doesn’t reflect light that much so the focus is on the subject and I can get better angles/light

  25. Love this. I have been slowly adding things. I have a Canon Rebel T3i but I haven’t used it in forever. And I have a tripod and a wireless remote which is nice. I have been looking at a few different lighting sets as well.

  26. I’m actually surprised and impressed at how cheap all of this stuff is! I’m going to have to put it on my a wishlist for myself and set up a studio. I’ve found that I usually don’t do recipe posts in the winter because it can be so hard to find a good day that isn’t moody outside. This would be perfect!

    1. The lighting set up is honestly the most important IMO! When we moved and stopped getting natural light into our apartment I pretty much stopped taking pictures until the hubs got me it!

  27. I LOVE your tips! It’s so awesome to see how many options are out there to make the best of any lighting situation! I could not agree more that you *need* a good tripod/self timer! It makes such a huge difference!

  28. I’ve been using white foam boards for flat lays for years! Such a great tool. I really need to get a tripod. I’m taking a photography class this semester and I can already tell I’d put it to good use!

    Kayla |

  29. Are the lighting kits pretty self explanatory on how and where to set the lights up when using them? I am just trying to learn more about photography and I have an 8 month old so I have been using my DSLR to take more photos of him but I would love better lighting to eliminate weird shadows and poor lighting. Would I always use the lights once I have them? How do they hook up to everything? Are they always one or do they flash when you take a picture?

    1. Uhm I think they are! You can adjust the heads and umbrellas to get the right angles/shadows you want! To uplevel you would use reflectors! – and i always use my lights! they just plug into a wall and stay on like a lamp!

  30. These suggestions are great! I never thought about faking a marble counter with adhesives…that’s brilliant!!!!

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