There's little that's more fun that working in a photo studio. Experimenting with lighting, special effects, and enjoying the level of control in a studio situation is just about exhilarating.
The problem is: who can afford a studio? Even though rental rates can be reasonable, the rental experience is still costly for those not operating on specific assignments, and not generally terribly convenient.
Despite the challenge, I have a studio. In fact, I have two studios. No wait, make that three.
The first studio has a huge lightbox, incredibility flexibility, and it is impressively large. It is my garage. The south-facing garage door produces perfect, shadowless indirect light throughout the day. Various colored jersey sheets bought at outlets or on sale make ideal backgrounds, when clipped to the shelves along the back wall of the garage. Add a dark sheet on the floor to block unwanted reflections, one speedlight, a diffuser and a reflector or two, and I have the perfect set-up for portraits and other people or animal shots.
All I have to do is persuade my husband to park his car in the driveway for an afternoon - and I'm set!
My second studio, for shooting small objects, is even more convenient. It consists of a card table, a pair of twisted hangers, a white trash bag and a flashlight. The hangers are twisted together to create a tent form for the bag. The flashlight shines through, and voila! A very lovely lightbox. The tiny circuitboard below, which measures about 2 by 3 inches, was shot with this set-up.
Finally, I have a special studio for shooting flower portraits. It is in my home office, which happily has a line of windows along the north wall only. I place a light stand perpendicular to the window, and use it to suspend a fleecy black blank behind my card table. The sidelight and black background produce wonderful results.
While these three simple set-ups provide a wealth of photographic opportunity which I have just begin to mine, I am not yet satisfied. I'm looking at my home environment in a whole new way - what are the possibilities?
There's no doubt that travel to exotic locales for photography is exciting, but it's also true that discovering the photo options at hand is its own amazing journey.