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How to Set Up a Portrait Studio for Studio Photography

Learn how to set up a portrait studio from professional photographer Chris Ryan in this Howcast video.


My name is Chris Ryan. I'm a photographer. We're here at my studio, Chris Ryan Photography, in northwest Portland. If you'd like to see more of my work, please visit my website at, or if you'd like to follow my daily activities, go to my Facebook page, Chris Ryan Photography in Portland, Oregon. Today, I'm going to talk to you about studio photography. How to set up a portrait studio. Well, you can set up a portrait studio in just about any room. You need a little bit of ceiling height. I'd say a minimum of 8 to 10 feet. You need a distance from the subject of about 10 to 20 feet. And then from there, all you need is a roll of paper as a background. If you have a nice pretty wall that's painted a pleasing color, then you can use that. Paper is nice because you can easily change the color, and/or texture of your background. Paper's not the only option. As well, there's muslin and/or fabric backgrounds. So once you've got your space, and you've got your background, then you need a couple lights...maybe three, maybe four. Two for sure to evenly light the front and sides of the subject. But then, if you've got a hairlight, and perhaps a back light or a side light. Sometimes known as a rim light or an edge light, that's helpful as well. So you've got your space, your background, your lights. Now you need a good camera and tripod...end of subject. And that's just about everything you'll need to set up a basic portraiture studio.

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