When we started photographing women, we imagined our photo studio as a place with beautiful, and of course expensive, flash, a huge white space with an infinity cove and many light modifiers. Years from that day, reality cannot be more different, and for the better. Today we will dig into the idea of having a photo studio in a residential environment for shooting boudoir.
There are advantages and disadvantages in using a residential place as a photo studio. In many cases I would advise against it; however, when shooting boudoir, I think there are fewer better alternatives than a residential photo studio.
Let us show inside our thought process in using a residential environment as a boudoir photo studio.
The disadvantages of having a residential photo studio
Let’s briefly take into consideration all the disadvantages why you should not have a residential photo studio. These are factual elements that play against having your own photo studio in a house or flat.
- Mixing Life and Work It may not seem as important in the beginning, but having a residential photo studio is going to glue together your personal life and your work. Despite loving my job, I feel that having everything together does not give me the possibility to “unplug“. Moreover, work dramas will become life dramas and vice versa, with the risk of pressurising your life.
- Cosy or Professional? Similarly to the point above, a residential photo studio will make you live in a professional environment, or to welcome your customers in an excessively cosy photo studio. The truth is that while having a “homely feeling” is going to be one of the main advantages of having a residential photo studio, you have to understand that some of the routine you might be used to at home, will have to be changed: you will have to be very tidy. I tend to be a tidy person in the office, but quite messy at home: alas, this cannot happen any longer, as the two places are the same.
- Good light and good space means sacrificing the best environment The brightest and largest room is certainly not going to be reserved for your bed, that’s for sure. That room, with so much light, is going to be your studio and nothing else. If this is something you are comfortable with, then a residential photo studio might be a satisfactory solution, otherwise it might be better for you to find other solutions.
- Natural Light VS Flash I like my flash to have breathing space, when we use them. Give me a 3m (9ft) ceiling and I won’t be a happy bunny, as there won’t be enough room to create the right type of light. Yes, of course you can live with it; however, that is not going to be the best solution. A residential photo studio is a good solution if you use natural light, or if the photography that you do does not require breathing space for large soft boxes.
I am sure there are other drawbacks, but I feel these are the most important ones to keep into account while understanding if a residential photo studio is a good solution for you.
The advantages of having a residential photo studio
We spoke about disadvantages, but if having an in-home photo studio was all bad, why would we be so supportive of it? In fact, there are just two main reasons why we have a residential photo studio. These reasons, for us, are sufficient to cancel all the disadvantages mentioned so far.
- A natural environment A residential photo studio offers a natural environment to photograph in. Photographing boudoir, our main goal is to give that realising, yet beautiful, feeling to our images. A white backdrop is not what we are looking for, therefore windows and other house elements are essential. A residential photo studio offers the flexibility of using a natural source of light, furnishing and everything you expect to find in a house as part of your story telling technique.
- Home Sweet Home When we teach how to photograph women, the main thing we focus on has nothing to do with technical things. The main focus with each and every of our customer is to make them feel at ease. A residential photo studio, with its being a real, loved environment, is something easy to adapt to. There are no big, beefy flash lying around, no “professional looking” backdrops, no infinity coves. For women, relaxing in a real residential environment is much simpler, and this is vital to capture them at their best!
Now, you may think that focusing so much on relaxing your customers might not be as important as your technique or as your posing strategy. Let me dissent: people won’t remember you for your face, or even for the product you have sold them; people will remember you for how you made them feel. Making them feel at ease and relaxed, being themselves, is the first step in capturing who they are, more than a staged version of themselves.
Why doesn’t pouting work? Because it is not us, we don’t go around town with our lips pressed in an unnatural gesture. In the same way, if your customers will see a relaxed, true self in their photos, taken from someone who made them feel at ease, then you will be remembered, and a residential studio will help you in achieving that!
The key to using a residential photo studio
Be yourself and explore your space. Try to understand if the advantages overcome the disadvantages, and don’t trust us: make sure to try for yourself. You have to understand if you are able to balance your life and your work while sharing the same space for both. Test if your ideal customer is more at ease in a “home sweet home” or in a cold photo studio. There is no definitive answer to this, it is personal.
Of course, we already gave an answer to this question!