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How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Essentials

Lesson 6 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Essentials

Lesson 6 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

6. How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Essentials

Learn how Kelly created a space that allows both parents and newborns to feel comfortable during a session. Kelly walks through setting up her lounge area, organizing props, the camera equipment and other essentials in this lesson.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


Flow Posing


Kelly's Home Studio


Day 2


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Planning


Day 3


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation


Lesson Info

How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Essentials

this segment we're going to talk about studio essentials so setting up my home studio this is probably the funnest part of it you know filling it with all the great stuff and we had such a great time going outsourcing all the new products and I like to shop when I need to buy something so yeah it was really fun going around and I would go to all these different home where stores and I take lots of pictures on my phone I send them to my husband and what do you think of these what do you think of that and then when it all started to tie together it it was pretty incredible because we actually was sitting up in my old studio I wasn't shooting for this particular week that we were starting to fill it we were setting up you know all the different colors and tones the cushions that I'd bought and all the lampshades and stuff like that it was really fun to see it start to come together the very first thing that I actually bought for my studio was my cow hide I put that actually like two years...

ago so I had it sitting in a cupboard rolled up for over a year because I loved it so much and I knew that that was something that I wanted in my studio it was um it wasn't terribly expensive but I kind of started with that and then spread out from there if you know what I mean so you're finding all the different pieces to go with it was was lots of fun and sort of got me away from you know the work side of things took me into a bit of a bit of fun so sitting up the furniture I needed ahead of my husband so yeah we started to tie it all together and you know buying and you lounge like I've mentioned is something that's really expensive but I wanted it to look beautiful and it just so happened that my mom was selling this lounge so I could purchase it from her I'm like please don't sell it to anybody else I'm going to buy it so it had to sit in her garage until I was ready for for quite some time but I bought that for probably a fifth of the price of what it would have cost me to buy something brand new and you can buy reasonably priced furniture that is second hand online you know in the different web sites like ebay and stuff like that because some people are changing and you can save money in that way it still haven't looking nice like it looks worn but it's still incredible condition and we polish it with lead the polish and make it really beautiful because I wanted to look homely even though it's got very sort of you know a lot of straight lines and clean lines in there and it's very white still wanted to be inviting and homely I don't want them to think like they can't sit on my land because it looks new war or what have you I love the feel that it has when you walk into the room and my mother were probably killing because he's got his feet on the table but yeah he'd been working hard all day putting all of that furniture in there and he bought the whole studio himself with a couple of friends you can see all the colors are starting to tie together and this is the area that I want my clients to relax in and feel at home and really enjoy decision and I've looked over sometimes and seen deads fast asleep on the cushions I might lay down you know you won't be the first person so and even right through to one of the canvases at the back that hangs above the change table in the studio and then it was filling my studio with props so all of these things it is a mess in there but I bet this one thing in there that you can't say like have a good look if there's something in there that looks a little bit out of place little moon no problem no no keep getting my daughter was hiding in there from may and my mom is in the back she's hanging blankets yeah she was having a great old time in there but here these were all the props that I had and the moon toy was given to me by a lovely lady in australia so you know that's that sits in my studio very probably because it's something that she gave to me but yeah I was emptying everything from my old studio and I even bought a few things back in from my my shed where stores in the wild stuff but get this gave me a really good opportunity to go back through my props because sometimes when they're stepped on the shelf we're not really paying attention to them so it got me really inspired to go wow I haven't actually seen that for a bit I haven't used it so it was a great exercise actually teo teo get everything organized pull it'll out and then start again and if you even you don't even need to have a new studio to do this if you've got a day to sell for a day in your house on a weekend or a week day and you're just so over your space pull everything out everything got it and start fresh take it back in get rid of what you don't use what you don't want and fill it with all the stuff that you love fill it with new new pictures things like that philip with um I don't know a different color scheme it's all in the just it's just the way you arrange it in place it so then it comes to my equipment and uh this a picture of me with my camera I was going to take a picture of my camera bag and share it with everyone but it's it's not exactly neat and tidy sum people have beautifully clean and tidy camera bags I don't it's full of blades and bits and pieces because I'm traveling all the time you never know what you're going to need and yeah but I shoot with my cannon five day mark three with my twenty four to seventy lens I don't change my lens it's an incredible lends its a three thousand dollar lens it should be an incredible ends it's also the mark two version and I need that versatility in a shoot I need to be able to shoot with a wide angle at some time at some point and I need to be able to zoom in and get beautiful close ups and details well so I could do that and you know I've got heat is blowing in there and fluff off every proper bit of fabric and stuff like that so this dust if I'm changing my lens all the time I'm gonna have issue with sense of dust which I used to when I was changing and you know what that lens doesn't come off that body I've never had an issue with sense of dust or anything so I don't have to worry about that when I'm retouching so they can say I've got a camera strap on there actually I think I'm shooting with my five day mark to because that's during a video footage and when garrett comes to shoot he actually films the footage with my five day mark three because of the video quality is so good so way swap cameras but tim yeah you know I'm feeling my studio with all this great stuff and using you know the equipment that I love I don't like if other people use the fifteen merlin's that's fine that's fine user fifty millions if you use a thirty five mil lens user thirty five mil lens this's what I use this is what I enjoy using and I just find it incredibly versatile and easy throughout my entire session so this is one of my backdrops and it's made by my friend connie who has a business called sideshow backdrops and she hand painted these canvases and this tin layers off paint on their they're incredibly beautiful and she does them in a range of colors and then I've got my light stand so I do have my big windows full of full of beautiful natural light but sometimes when I'm working in the evening or if I'm working late in the afternoon on something or if it's just really overcast and horrible you know I'm gonna throw some fill light in there and this light's beautiful this's the fifty centimeter ball and I've been using the thirty centimeter ball here it just spreads that light diffuses it so beautifully and it's also got like her it's almost like it's the cloudiness is stronger to the it's it's not a see through it this mobile that's what it feels like a year that's my jin bae light and I got that from my supplier tony a proton dot com so he sells lots of different lights and we're currently working on a new light as well a flat panel lights so that for people that are traveling to client homes and don't often have a lot of space they need beautiful light and especially in places like the uk when the sun sets early or when you're travelling in asian countries you know they have they most of most people that live in china and korea our own apartments or small houses so they really struggle with space and light and we were designing this flat panel light that'll be able tio you know create beautiful soft daylight balance line and it's um it's six thousand five hundred calvin it khun turn it up turn it down it's beautiful soft light and diffused so that's going to be something we're gonna release soon you know about that and it's going to be really reasonably priced because people don't have you know all that money to spend on those things also um you know my gym by light it's got this this beautiful stand on it I do worry in the studio when I've got toddlers in there running around so I always make sure that I've got either a sandbag or a weight on there as well to stop her from toppling over just like we've done here and this one of my n'est ce from alan vine designs then we were talking a little bit soft because I took it from some video footage just so I could show you a little bit more of my space so I've got you know somewhere a hang all my raps or my things that I use regularly and I've got a white basket down in the corner there and it's full of all my smaller wraps because I just want to be able to grab them when I'm sitting on my stool in front of my bane bag I just want to be able to grab them out if I need them without having to get up and leave the baby unattended on the bag so once I'm sitting there pretend I'm sitting I've got the cloth nappies I've got my wife basket and I've I've brought over my my basket from from underneath one of the shelves that's got either my boy hats and pants or my girl hats and pants depending on the session so I've got it all readily available you know to me with without having to actually get up and down as well so I can focus on that baby without having to leave it as well my backdrop stand it's also a gym bay stand and it's got two connecting poles and it's low enough so that I can bring my my blankets up to the top of it to make it really nice and smooth and then this is the little stool I sit on and this in foam shading at the back at that I use is a reflector but now that I've got my life I don't tend to use the reflector because if I just pop that on really soft it just fills that back line in that I get this still get those beautiful soft shadows but I've got beautiful fila's well and then over here you can just say after the side I've got my timber flooring section with my little what you call it my little ply ply board and then there's my beautiful backdrop again and I have been shooting with smaller backdrops made by the same lady and they're in different colors as well so they come in different sizes and it just means that I can roll them up and put him away but I can add a bit of variety to my mom to my chute with those in storage so that's one of my twins mckinsey and the green and it's garrett and there's rob painting my shelves so rob made those shelves in a day how cool is that but what we did with those shelves is we measured our large props so on this one here in underneath here is my really large triple isn't trip witness that stepped up against the back and on this side I've got my lip really large prey am that I've shot triplets in as well so I've got a space for my large items and then I've got shelves for my for my sort of medium sized items and then smaller and then I can go on top is well so it created a lot of space but what we did was we designed it around a props and the hanging space and I wanted my blankets to be on display like when you walk into a homeware store because you know that's something I love doing going home with stores and touching with blanket even if I don't buy that must just love seeing them hung and being I would hang them in the center and have them like that it just means it's easy for my clients to say them and it's not a large space and you can see there's only really um I mean there's a few in the center there that are of similar shade but some are more mushroom me tone for girls and summer and more sort of yellowy brown tone for boys I'm really tryingto settle look at those differences there but there's not a huge amount of variety I have seen some studios that has so many blankets and so many props and it's it could be overwhelming for our clients it could be like when we're providing images in a gallery for them we give them too many choices and it begins it gets hard to choose it's like when you sit down in a restaurant with a menu there's too many items on that menu I can't choose give me for them like you I'll have that because that's easy so yeah I think you know creating having a good selection but not having too much of a choice we'll we'll make it easy for your clients to get involved in the styling yeah favourite home stores that have blankets you like yes I do some western definitely I love their blankets although I did go in here the other day and the last two times have been here I've found lots and I've purchased heat you know went crazy and this time I walked in I didn't buy anything there was nothing I really liked so I am having trouble at the moment finding you know one that will replace the ones that I've used for quite some time that have washed over and over again you know how they start to get that sort of look about them so yeah I am on the hunt for new ones but I've used a few online companies in australia I can order online from a company called days and pillow talk and they're both homeless stores where else freedom places like that I care have some great blankets actually I care sell a like a cream fleece blanket it's five dollars in australia I'm not quite sure how much would be here but they're great blankets to go underneath just to sort of have that layer and I've got quite a few of those at home as well yes you can see we have another door over here but we don't use that door and what I have in front of it is a little little fridge I never had a fridge before until we got the studio but it just because it does get so warm in there and my garage isn't insulated so I do have to keep an eye on the temperature at all times but we've had installed a um reverse psycho air conditioner so that that way I can set it to twenty seven or twenty eight degrees and if I said it to twenty seven it's still gonna warm up in there but I can put my space heater on over near where the bet the babies and that way it will we'll stay at that twenty eight degrees because I've got heat heat coming in over here and then I've got my air con trying to really adjust for that twenty seven and I found that that works for me in that space um but yeah I've put a little bath region that's only about this big and it just means I can put bottles of water in there from my clients don't feed them during my session because number one I don't bake and number two I don't know if they've got any allergies or anything like that as well and if I put soft drink and stuff in there and the kids wanted the kids love going toe water dispensers and fridge fridge is so if they they find soft drink it's going to end in tears because they won't be allowed to have it and if they do have it they're going to climb the walls so don't do anything except for water and that's I'm hired to photograph their baby not actually cater for them so but yet three I kind of miss it I've been away for a little while huh and really important to display your work on your walls it was it wasn't difficult actually choosing this image to hang above my lounge because the color tones obviously matched my cow hard rock and all the other brown's in the room in the dark tones that went into the black lounge but this particular canvas has a significant meaning for a lady that I've known for thirty years and so yeah it means a lot to be able to hang that on my studio and clients come in like it's it's two meters long it's beautiful they have they're like oh my god and then one night when we start to talk about the meaning of it and what it represents it's just they fall in love with it so much more so being ableto hang your work on your walls and to display it like that as artwork shows them that you they can do it in their home as well like this's a living area in my studio and I've got my my work hanging on the walls as artwork so it just adds to the room so being able to show them that that's what I do yes it's convinces the maybe more that they have to have have there working on the walls as well but yeah it's fun kelly can you talk a little bit about the obviously this image has a lot of meaning teo you about creating that a story in the space like what is the story that you're wanting to tell for people who come into your studio and what what are things that people should think about telling your story the first thing I want people to do clients when they walk in is just go wow that's what I want them to do because it's not like a normal photography studio and we have this idea when we say photography studio that you're gonna walk in and it's going to be like a cyclorama and big backdrop systems and lots of studio lights and all this kind of thing it's not it's more homely it's more inviting and for me because our positions with new mums and dads are so intimate we're learning so many details about um that in private details and they're sharing their stories with you when you're talking to them about that you want them to feel comfortable and at home so I want them to feel like they're part of my home and I want them to relax and really enjoy that session but that first impression when they walk in is so important like they've gotta have that on my god wow and then you know when I leave the room five ten minutes they can get up that khun touch things they can sit down they can relax they can start to feed their baby in that that comfort area it's a nice secure welcoming area it even has a sign at the front that is welcome and it all it all has to do with the way that you opened the door and greet your clients and say come on in have a seat relax make yourself a home no rush you know that's how I'm talking to my clients and I'm getting them the more the space that I create and the story that I create in there it represents the images that I shoot all the images that they see on my block my facebook page my website instagram wherever they found me when they walk into my studio they can easily identify with my images because they can seal that stuff and the styling of it goes from the prop shelf right through to you know the opposite side of the wall which is really cool so it took a lot of planning but it only took like a week to put together so it was a lot of fun to do but yeah creating that space in that story when you're walking is good good question what do you recommend for us that use our homes that have to like transition from the home to a studio how do you what do you recommend to make it more of a professional surrounding when a client comes in so I think it's when you say like more of a professional studio explain that a little bit more for me so for me currently but I have to do is physically you take my dining room table and move it into the living room you know I obviously do like the housekeeping stuff and things like that but it's definitely not a private area just for clients anymore so when you say you haven't come in and you leave them alone so they can relax and stuff my living room and dining room are connected and so there's really nowhere for me to be like okay well I'm just going toe the end of the space in your home that you could potentially turn into you know we're renting but I use my dining room because it has great light on dh I always let my clients no I'm a wife and a mom first and you know we are shooting in my home and it's lived in but you know I khun only do so much and with what I have but I'd like to make it not more personal but make them feel like they're just not walking into somebody's dining room kitchen and getting a session are definitely and you know I did do a couple of shoots in my previous home so I moved into this house four years ago and we set this studio up and I did I did live in an area that wasn't great it wasn't ideal to have clients coming too but I did do one or two sessions and I had to do it with my dining room table was and it was a nightmare having to move my furniture around so I just continue going to clients homes but when they are coming into your into your home into your personal environment yes I recommend like making sure that all the housekeeping and everything is done if you have animals or anything like that they're out of the way because all of those things you know they will have an impression on somebody's first you know first take on you and so keeping that a level of professionalism from the moment they arrive right through to that finished finished product that you're delivering to them it has to be consistent so you can do it in your home just it will be well come more from you as their professional service provider so if you can create a space that's got beautiful light within your home that's fine as long as you are creating that incredibly professional service because that's what we're being hired for a service and a product so yeah it doesn't necessarily matter I don't think but as long as it's coming from you so you know what I would recommend be proud be proud is nothing nothing wrong with being proud of what's yours you've worked hard for it when you welcome them into your home say this is my home welcome come on in have a seat invite people into your home and welcome them and be proud of it because it's your space so yes I think that you can get around it and when you eventually movinto a larger space you can love it because you won't have to move the dining table anymore but no yes well I think most of us have had to do the hard hard yards of confined spaces and traveling back and forth from client home so if you ever dream of having a space like this it's it's doable and still go ten years ago I would never have dreamed about it but it's pretty awesome now I want to get back to it way don't want you to go back way kelly what I what I see throughout here and as we've been talking about setting up a home studio in a week is there's so many elements of you in this space can you you're going to spend a lot of time in this space you do write can you talk a little bit about that being your personal comfort zone yeah definitely it's so funny that kin is to sit that because when keno walks in here this is her space it's so cool to see her dislike up when she's in here and I feel that when I'm in my space I mean my element I really love it it's it is me and I was working in some really you know undesirable um areas in people's homes and things like that and I just got so over traveling and being khun you know in such small spaces when I was shooting with poor lightened bad hating and you know the travel and the unloading and the toll that it took on me physically and they're rushing around constantly because physicians would never go according to plan so when when I started planning I just started teo to find things that I loved I'd already started putting props and fabrics and fibers and hats and headbands in there that I loved but when it came to finding a ll those bits and pieces like my cow hide run comes from my childhood I remember being at my aunt and uncle's house and they have a massive property and in their landrum was this beautiful black cow hide and I'd assist ally on and feel it I love the feel of the texture and everything so I always said that I was gonna have my own one day so when I bought it I wouldn't it couldn't go in my house my kids were not allowed on it but I let my clients on it because I don't know that's that's my area that's my domain and I welcome in there and I'm so proud of it like everything that is in the I've had to source find and buy with the money that I worked really hard for a swell so I suppose in a sense I had to justify justify the purchase of it in the fact that no this is me this is mine I'm owning it I own my studio like every single inch of it absolutely so you know the question I do have a question well it's visually stunning are you all so creating an atmosphere with the smells or music that's playing are you creating kind of a mood or a feeling tied to those other senses yeah so when you actually arrive at my studio my studio doors big glass sliding doors I actually don't welcome people through there I welcome them into my front door into my home and where my office is because that's where a lot of my you know my things are that's it's where I spend most of my time so I welcome them into that area and by doing that I can point right there and then look the bathroom's to stand there if you need it it's the first door on your left as we walk into the studio and I can usually either introduce them to my assistant if she's working in the office so that way if they need anything she could grab it for them but yes I usually have on oil burner burning in my house at the time of decision not in my studio because sometimes pregnant women certain since can be quite overpowering and make them feel a little bit nauseous and especially in the hate in a warm room you don't want to sort of aggravate them but when you do walk into a room and something smells beautiful definitely and often just had the radio playing in the background so I visit a little massage place to have my neck and shoulders down every week and they play beautiful music and I found out where it was so actually play that on the radio um on the radio but on buddy call it pandora on my through the speaker system in my house and you know what that's called it anyway sound system so I play that and and I think it does create that atmosphere that relaxing atmosphere which is what we've been talking about the more relaxed your clients are more at home the more ease they're going to be the happier and content that baby's going to be so I welcome them in and they come on in and it's great they usually a little bit anxious because they're arriving at somebody's home for the first time I could understand that but it is my job become I'm not feeding off their nervousness I'm being nice and calm and I just you know come on through the studio's through here it's nice and warm so before I actually opened the door already saying it's nice and warm and they come on in and they sit down and that's it can I get you can I get you a glass of water I'm just going to go on after we've done that a few hours a little you know niceties and things like that in exchange conversation but yeah it's it's generally a very calm environment but it is up to us to sit that mood and create that space ourselves we have a facebook group which hopefully by now everything out there has already joined but if you haven't yet it is the kelly brown newborn photography boot camp you khun search that on facebook and join that group tons of sharing going on kelly we're talking about wanting to to see people's before and afters of their studios right what do you want people to dio what do you want people to see definitely I would really love to see some no short videos like ten second videos walking up to your studio and then you know like a quick pan around inside or some photos to go with that that would be really great and you know what in doing that you are then sharing your information with photographers who don't yet have a studio and it'll give them something to aspire to you know no one's going to be copying anybody else but it is great place to get ideas from share that knowledge and if you have an incredible studio space I'm sure somebody wants to see it because and even if you are working within a small area of your home that's okay because if it works for you you're going to be giving somebody else that confidence that's doing it as well that it's okay to actually do that and like you was saying you know you're running a professional business you've been doing it for some time you don't have another room that you can do it in but it's doable so use that space and yeah I really love to see is more pictures shared in there which is what we want for the group we want to be able to really share our information because it's important that we do um do that and lift the industry as a whole very cool that was this week what are we going to talk about in our next lesson right we're going to talk about portfolio building which is something queer we're gonna go deep in and talk a little bit about setting some guidelines for that as well

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Home Studio Checklist
What To Expect At Home
What To Expect In Studio
Preshoot Prep for Mothers
Marketing Plan
Pricing Guide
Posing Guide
Prop Guide
Resource Guide
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


What an awesome class! I actually started watching this, not because I was interested in newborn photography, but because I thought I could pick up some good ideas for photography in general. Kelly is such an inspiring person and so professional and such a good communicator that she has a lot to offer any photographer. I actually have been inspired to try newborn photography and can't wait to implement the multiple ideas Kelly has so generously given. I think it is wonderful for the profession of photography that she has the spirit to freely share what she knows to help those who are seeking advice and knowledge. Thank you!

Jennifer Traylor

I cannot say enough to relay the feeling of gratitude and appreciation for this class. I was very fortunate to be chosen as a studio audience member for this course and what I have taken away from this class will never be forgotten. Kelly pours herself into this class both on the head knowledge of photography and the heart knowledge of building a business and making it work in your life. She is such an amazing soul and I will treasure this experience always. This class is so thorough and works amazingly both all on its own or as a supplement to her other classes. You will not be disappointed. Her knowledge, her demeanor, her care, is brilliant. She pulls you right in, and even as an online viewer/purchaser for the previous two classes, I was able to feel her connection with the audience. She is an amazing teacher!!!! Kelly rocks, Kelly amazes, Kelly loves! Buy it today!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!! And don't forget, purchases get TONS of amazing bonus materials including extra videos and PDF's and manuals. This class is a bargain!!!!!


I really have been so happy & blessed Kelly to learn from you! You are gentle and I love your spirit in which you share your "Art". I am a Nurse and worked Hospice for many years. Many of my co-workers and I recently lost our nursing positions due to department integration and have decided that my passion and love for taking photos of children and babies is something I would like to pursue. I am learning so much Kelly from the way you take the time to gently get the baby in position, follow the baby's lead and enjoy the parents and each moment of the creative process. I am not at all a professional and am just really learning, but am enjoying practicing on my friends children and babies and of course my 4 month and 4 year old grandchildren. Thank you for providing free classes as I would not be able to afford any classes at this time in my life. You have a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing so eloquently! You have made a difference in my life. Patty from AZ

Student Work