Your home, your studio - Part I

Here is a simple fact: When asked to do a family or individual portrait session, many clients still prefer studio settings. A studio gives the illusion of professionalism. Studio sessions are usually simple, short and sweet. A few traditional poses, some smiles and it's done ("whew, that wasn't too bad"...).

studio session provides comfort and consistency. In other words, convenience. IMHO

I frequently hear clients say that their home, their backyard or any out-of-studio location, is not what they had in mind when considering their professional portraits. Clients are so used to the idea of a studio filled with backgrounds, props and lights and they think that's all there is to photography. I am here to try to make you rethink the studio strategy.

Studio session has its place

I have absolutely nothing against studio sessions, in fact I have done many of them. Commercial portrait studios still do very well. Why? Well, let's see.

Studio session advantage:

  • You get dolled up, your fiancée/husband makes an effort, the kids are prepped up. It feels like an outing.
  • The weather is always perfect in the studio.
  • Did I say it feels professional?
  • Simple and classy white and black background (or if you really want, scenic backgrounds are always available).
  • It's painless (most of the time). The poses are simple and traditional, not too much moving, no one gets dirty and it's over really quickly.
  • You end up with what most people have, a framed group shot of your family very well lit.

Needless to say that for the photographer a studio is the perfect setting:

  • No need to go anywhere. The client comes to me.
  • No weather consideration so no cancellations (or almost none).
  • Short set-up time.
  • Good lighting.
  • Short. Generally, a studio session takes about a quarter of the time it takes to shoot on location.
  • Again, no need to go anywhere. The client just leaves.

The other day I stumbled across a blog post by a photographer who is dead set against on location portraits. I was annoyed by him glorifying the factor of money and insinuates that photographers who can not afford a studio are not real professionals. I guess all those National Geographic dudes with cameras really don't know what they are doing.

Here is a paragraph from his blog post:"...Studios of course cost. You either have to lease a space or rent for each session. When you do lease or rent, all you get is an empty space, you have to prep it to your liking (if you can afford it). However, if you are a lone photographer with a DSLR and cheap lighting (i.e. "none professional") then location shoot is pretty much the only option you have..."

The unfortunate reality is that many photographers, either to justify their expensive space and/or do not want to put the effort into doing a location session, will claim the same. The simple truth is that for them it's simple economics A) they have the space and they need to use it. B) The ratio of hours-worked-to-pay is significantly better when using studio. Remember, it takes around four times longer to do a location shoot.

Many photographers prefer studio settings. It is a comfortable situation that is suitable in any weather, no distractions from the surroundings and it is usually quick and efficient.

These are some of the positive aspects of studio shoots but I prefer to take location shoots for the naturalness that an organic setting can provide. Check my post Your Home is Your Studio II

Some of my studio portraits

Studio Glamour Photography Studio Glamour Photography The many benefits of professional location portraits The many benefits of professional location portraits The many benefits of professional location portraits The many benefits of professional location portraits The many benefits of professional location portraits

Part II

"Location session provides a wealth of textures & colors. In other words, variety!"