Photography Studio Tour | Minneapolis Area Newborn and Family Photographer
My Northfield photography studio is my little home away from home. Besides my home, it is the place when I spend most of my time. From photography studio sessions and client meetings, my goal is to make it a place where people feel comfortable right away. I also have the added challenge of having a small photography studio and using the layout as efficiently as possible. Let’s take a little look around the photography studio.
Photography Studio Tour | Small Space Utilization.
My photography studio is located in Northfield MN, a town of 20,000 about 45 minutes south of Minneapolis, MN. The majority of my studio sessions are newborn sessions, milestone session, and maternity session. So, my studio is set up to use my space the best for those sessions. My studio is only 550 square feet, so I had to get a little creative to best use the space and offer my clients amazing studio options, store props, and showcase the prints and products I offer. Some of the storage, shooting area, and organization methods used in the photography studio was an easy way to incorporate how I was used to shooting in my old photography studio into the new space, while others were trial and error and took more time to figure out.
Photography Studio Tour | Natural Light Options
I lucked out and my photography studio has a great natural light area. One entire wall is large windows, that are almost floor to ceiling. Which I love! Natural light is always so great to work with. I love the softness of natural light in the studio, and the shooting areas I have set up there. This is easily the most used part of the photography studio, and used in almost every studio session at some point.
My most used natural light spot in my photography studio is my bed set up. I have a full-size bed in the studio with all white bedding. It creates a great photography backdrop for a variety of photography sessions types. I use it for all of my photography studio milestone photography sessions. Little ones love sitting on the bed, playing with the pillow and blankets, and some love getting a little brave and getting in a jump or two. Because of how small the studio is, I found that the best approach for having a bed in the photography studio was to make it one that could be easily moved if I needed to photograph in the area where the bed normally is. I added wheels to the bed frame, and it is the best. It is so easy to move around when I need too.
I have a little corner in the photography studio with a natural light area that I use almost exclusively for maternity photography sessions. I love the natural light glow in the corner with new moms, there is something almost angelic about it. Images shot in this little corner are my most requested backdrops for photography studio maternity sessions. The little white corner is small, but by watching angles and some slight editing, it can make a big difference and makes the area look much larger in images than in person. There is a 4 foot by 8 foot white panel mounted to the wall, and a second 4 foot by 8 foot panel on the floor to add white flooring to the area. I have two sets of sheer curtains on the windows to perfectly defuse the light for sessions. This little area can be used in a variety of ways, and my most requested backdrop for maternity sessions.
Besides maternity sessions, my second favorite images to shoot in the little white corner of the studio are backlit newborn images of the families’ profile. It is a fun take on a traditional portrait, and clients love them.
Photography Studio Tour | Backdrops
On the other end of the studio I have my backdrop options mounted in a couple of ways. I have both floor mats with a wood design and seamless papers. Since space is limited in my small studio, my backdrop wall includes both storage and backdrops. I have 5 shelves that run the full length of the photography studio’s back wall. I store things on the shelves like extra studio snacks, product packaging, quilts for fall family sessions, and other less often used items on the shelves. That way I can get to them when I need too, but they are not items I need every session. My seamless backdrop holder is mounted on the top shelf, and lets my seamless paper roll down in front of the shelving.
I also have a holder mounted to the lower part of the shelving that holds my floor mats up as a backdrop. The holder is made from 1 inch by 6 inch boards with a metal strip along the edges. The metal strip allows me to use magnets to hold the backdrops up, and to easily swap them out. The backdrop holder is zip-tied to the shelving, and even allows for me to store items behind the backdrops on the shelves. Being only a little over an inch thick, including the backdrop stand and the floormats and magnets, it too easily fits behind my seamless paper when it is rolled down.
This set up also allows me to use both seamless and my floor drops together easily. All I have to do it slide the floor drops forward, and tuck the coordinating seamless paper under the floor drop. It’s an easy way to use both looks in on photography backdrop set up.
Photography Studio Tour | Prop Storage
My studio space came with huge built in shelving that works great for my photography prop storage. I store my baskets and buckets on the top shelve of the unit. I hang my fabric backdrops on trouser hangers in three openings of the built-in shelf unit. I have the fabric backdrops organized by color, as a way to easily find the perfect colors, patterns, and textures parents want in their sessions. The lower openings of the shelving are used for some larger prop storage. Like stools, a mini couch, and larger boxes and baskets.
When I moved in to this space, I also needed somewhere to keep my headbands, bonnets, wraps, and layers for newborn photography sessions. Luckily, I have a husband with amazing cabinet and furniture making skills, so I was able to get a great holder built for these props. With my studio space being small, I needed something that used space well. My prop holder is 4 feet wide and 6 feet tall, with a box on the bottom for storage of things like my chunky knit and fur layers. These props are organized by type, and then by colors. This gives me a way to quickly pick out headbands, hats, layers, and wraps that coordinate all in one place. The backdrop holder is free standing, and can be moved around the studio as needed. Which was helpful when I was first getting a feel for the space, and moving things around as needed. I have never appreciated my husband’s advice of a mobile unit with felt pads on the bottom as much as I did in those first few months of rearranging things to make best use of the studio space.
I have a large collection of dresses in the studio. I originally has them stored on a rolling rack, but the number or dresses and weight of the heavy fabrics was getting to be too much, and I needed something else. Again, my husband came to the rescue and made me a shelf that matched the built in shelving in the studio space. It’s mounted higher on the wall to allow room for the trains of the dresses. The shelf above also allows for storage of my sunhats and fedoras that get used as maternity sessions.
I also have been using the windows in my studio as a storage space in the photography studio too. The windows have deep windowsills, and work great for storage of my little wooden beds and bowls.
My studio had a second door leading into my studio that isn’t used and remains closed at all times. I wanted to find a way to use this little space for storage in my studio. I needed a space for my children’s wardrobe, and this was a great fit. I added two bars to the doorway, and it was a perfect spot for little outfits in the photography studio.
Photography Studio Tour | Studio Extras
In addition to the things that make my small studio space work well, I also needed things to make families feel at home. I have a couch and a couple of settees in the seating area for parents. There is a television with Disney+ and Netflix, along with a box of wooden toy cars and people. I have drinks and snacks on hand too. Snacks are all nut free for allergies, and they are also chocolate and cheese free – since those types of snacks with a toddler in a mostly white studio is my version of a nightmare.
I also have all of the prints and products I sell in the studio. Clients love getting to see, feel, and touch the products. So many of them are things they have not seen before, or the quality of them is very different than what they have ordered from big box printers in the past.
Photography Studio Tour | Final Thoughts
There are lots of photographers in huge spaces, with amazing features that make great backdrops. There are also a lot of photographers in my position with photography studio spaces. They have limited choices for rental space, and available spaces are very different than what they envision for their studio. By identifying what are needs and wants in a studio space, you can prioritize features that your studio has to include, and features you can live without or features that you can find a work around for. Small photography studio spaces are completely do able, and can make for a great place for your photography to grow.