We see these types of taglines so often today. “Get rich quick!” “Make money NOW!” “Work from home”. Most of the time, it’s a pyramid scheme, a scam of some sort, or requires a lot of money in. When my son was little, I wanted to earn an income staying home with him and didn’t really find anything that was working for me. I had already been dabbling in photography and did some family sessions in the evenings when my husband was home, but I wanted something a bit more stable and consistent. I wanted to be able to earn an income without losing my family time.
Asking myself what skill I could profit from, I knew the answer was photography. I was limited to the time constraints of nap time, and the parameters of a video monitor. Knowing that, I had my tiny backyard in very unappealing light conditions, or the inside of my house on base as an option. I went with planning an in home studio!
I already had my camera gear, but I needed a backdrop stand and some backdrops. I started simple and just got some basic solids from Lemondrop Shop (they run about $40 and always have sales!) an Amazon backdrop stand (about $30) and clamps to hold the backdrop (about $8). I charged roughly $125-$200 for my sessions (cake smashes were always a bit more for cleanup). As I made more money, I added more backdrops as options.
I set the studio up in my living room (and took it down every time at the end of use), and I photographed my son and some friend’s kids to advertise. These sessions were short, priced simply including digital files, and marketed all over Facebook. IT TOOK OFF!
My in home studio became such a popular option and it made a very good amount of money! I didn’t have lighting, I shot in front of a window. I didn’t have hardwood floors for a floordrop, I had carpet, but I purchased two huge sheets of plywood and laid those down as my floor.
My shoot days looked something like this:
- 12:30- Start cleaning up the living room of Cameron’s toys/snacks. Look presentable myself.
- 1:00- Lay Cameron down for his nap
- 1:10- Remove living room furniture in front of window: recliner, bookshelf, table. Put it all in the kitchen. Lay down plywood floors from garage
- 1:20- Set up backdrop stand, first backdrop choice from client, coordinating floordrop. Bring out props and camera gear. Test shot, good to go.
- 1:30-2:30- Client arrives, session time.
- 2:35-Put all of the props and equipment back in the garage. Store the plywood floors. Put the furniture back in the living room.
- 2:45- Upload images, cull, select. Edit a few if I have time.
- 3:00- Cameron wakes up
It sounds like a lot of work, and in reality not having a designated space did make it harder, but I never went into the plan of making money while staying home thinking it would be super simple. A dedicated space would’ve made this WAY easier, but this is to show anyone who thinks they can’t have a studio because they don’t have a space that you CAN! You just have to be willing to put in a little bit of work!
Studio sessions, cake smashes, sibling shots, back to school photos, themed holiday minis, they all happened rain or shine in my living room. No relying on weather, no relying on a sitter, it was amazing. I was able to be creative with so many fun themes to sell. I made a system from booking to delivery that was simple, I found a way to work and make money and Cameron honesltly never even knew I had a job haha. At night I would edit and upload for my clients, and bookings were solid. My front window light setup was simple and foolproof, the kids had fun, Cameron’s toys were already nearby and moms loved being able to sit in the air conditioning on a couch, instead of out with the heat and the bugs!
Do any of you guys have dreams of an in home studio? Is it for newborns, babies, or something else? You don’t need much to start, and I hope this helps!