Today I’ll share with you a home made simple studio setup for some off camera flash tests.

My usual method of taking photos is outside in the beautiful light offered by the sun, but every once in a while, that’s not an option and I need to break out the speed-light. But I’ve been itching to get more creative with it. So I finally bought a wireless flash trigger! Getting to play with new gadgets and equipment is so much fun!

I found a company called Cowboy Studio – they offer photography equipment at very affordable prices and came recommended by other photographers, perfect for me to test out what I like before I throw down any serious cash. They also sell on amazon, which I love! So I loaded up my cart with a wireless flash trigger, light stand, hot shoe and umbrella and anxiously awaited their arrival!

Now, I don’t have my own “studio” to shoot in, so while I was waiting, I worked on a simple homemade setup that would work for basic portraits. Set up in our garage.

Luckily we have a large space in the garage, and setting up in front of the open door while the sun is behind or to the side of the house creates a wonderful flood of natural filtered light. For the backdrop, I bought a large sheet of something in between insulation and drywall – I really don’t know what it was – but it was $9 and they cut it in half for me for free. Perfect!

I also bought some spray paint – which ended up just soaking into the material – waste of time there. So I got a better idea and went to the craft section at Walmart, found black, white and grey fabric for $2 each a yard! A Steal. And they luckily matched up pretty well to the size of the boards. With some utility hooks to fasten to the board, we have a quick, easy, cheap and effective backdrop for portraits! The only downside are the wrinkles, but I use a 1.4 lens for portraits, which blurs most of it out, the rest is a quick fix in Photoshop!

Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio

Now, below are my first tests! I begged Ben to sit in for me – he really hates getting his photo taken – but I’d been talking this idea up to him for a while, and my cats won’t sit still 🙂 So he was nice enough to be my model for just about 10 minutes until he had enough, lol. Please ignore the disgruntled look on his face, he just walked in from mowing the grass…

But aside from my “grumpy subject” I was so so thrilled to see the results!! This looks awesome, for such a simple setup. I knew it would work, but did not expect to be so happy with the way they turned out. And this is with bare bones editing, just slight level adjustments.

Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio

These two were taken with the flash turned off, only using natural light from the garage door. Love the look of these as well.

Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio

I’m really into the “moody” lighting, so I had some fun testing out the flash in different places, the three below I positioned the light back right and then farther back right for more dramatic results.

Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio

So now I’m all set for head shots! Again, so super excited. I love going out into the world and exploring spaces in nature and finding the perfect spot. But the opportunity to have simple options at my own home is a great feeling.

Last weekend I shot my first client in this setup. I was a little nervous, but surprised myself again with the outcome. Plus she was absolutely fabulous to work with! Here is a little behind the scenes of that shoot. It also shows the available light source I get from outside. Stay tuned for her finished images!

Off Camera Flash Tests | Simple Homemade Studio

Can’t wait to put this to more good use! Thanks so much for reading, and if you are interested in head shots of any photos of your own, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂