Design A Photography Studio On Your Back Porch!

With some creative ideas you can turn your back porch into a make shift photography studio. Learn how!

With some creative decorating ideas you can easily turn your back porch into a make shift photography studio. All it takes is a few basic supplies and your imagination. Then you will be on your way to better family photos in no time. Here are the four basic steps for taking great photos right out your back door.

1. Choose the Proper Time

First, you should make sure to set up your studio during the time of day when the porch is completely shaded from the sun. One reason the back porch is an excellent place for photos is because you avoid the harsh shadows cast by direct sunlight, while taking advantage of its natural light. Lighting is one of the trickiest qualities of a good photo, and this solves that problem as soon as you get started.

2. Gather the Basics

Now that you have chosen the right time, you need to gather your basic materials. And, I do mean basic. All you need is a backdrop of some kind, and a few props. My favorite backdrops are an old tablecloth or a few yards of fabric from the clearance rack at the department store. Keep it simple though. This is supposed to be the background and should be something that will not distract from your subject. Tape or tack the backdrop to the wall, and then set up your props a few feet in front of it, so that it will blur into the background.



Props can be anything, from a favorite toy for your child to play with to plants to add a homey touch to your photos. A favorite photo of mine is one I made of my daughter, who was wearing her Dad's too big cowboy hat, while she was riding her rocking horse. Be creative, and don't forget to use props that relate to your subject. You can also use your backdrop as a wall. For a Christmas photo of my children one year, I taped stockings to a dark green tablecloth, and it instantly added a holiday theme to the photo.

3. Position Your Subjects

The next step is to give your subject a place to sit. Standing photos look more posed and unnatural, and it is easier to find a backdrop the right size if you plan a sit down session. Whether in a chair, on a blanket or stool on the floor, choose something that will have a natural, relaxed feel to it. Look through the viewfinder and make sure that the backdrop is the only thing visible behind your subject.

4. Snap Those Photos!

Now you are ready to start snapping pictures. Since your subject is in complete shade, your camera's automatic exposures should work perfectly. Just make sure that you keep the camera under the roof of the porch also, otherwise its automatic meters will read the different conditions of the bright sun and will underexpose your subjects. And, since there are no extra dark areas or light areas, you won't need to use a flash, which tends to wash out the colors in a photo.

Take several shots from different angles and distances. Get some close ups and also some from father back, as long as your backdrop still covers the background area. Professional photographers will tell you to shoot, shoot, shoot. Don't be afraid to waste film. Take enough shots and one of them will surely be the one you dreamed of taking.

These are just a few ideas for designing a back porch studio. Use your own imagination and you will be able to come up with many more. But, be warned, your curious neighbors may come to take a look and put you to work taking photos for them!

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