How to Set Up a Photo Shoot on a Low Budget

By Ruth St. James
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Whether you are into photography as a hobby or are exploring going professional, there are numerous ways you can save money and set up a shoot with a low budget. Purchasing professional lighting, backdrops and fill sheets can run you thousands of dollars. Thinking outside the box, though, can bring your costs down into the $100 range. There are options, too, if you are broke and need to find free venues for your shoot. You can take professional-quality pictures without ever investing in studio space or pricey equipment.

Location, Location, Location

Step 1

Look around your house. Are there any unusual textures that you notice that would make a good backdrop for photos? Be aware of things in your home you may have stopped seeing because of familiarity.

Step 2

Scout locations for your shoot. Do you want interiors or exterior settings? There are many hidden gems in both landscaping and architecture in your city. Get off the literal “beaten path.”

Step 3

Get in close. Walk up to that wall and almost press your nose against it. What do you see in the texture? Sit on the ground and really see. Photography is all about vision: shapes and sizes and shadows. There may be no new ideas, but there certainly is new perspective. Figure out what unique vision you want to bring to your photography.

Lighting Your Way

Step 1

Use natural lighting. Sunshine is free, and cloudy days can do interesting things to light and shadow.

Step 2

Invest in work lights that you can get from the hardware store. They come in pairs, and you can arrange them separately for fill and shadow lighting They usually cost less than $100. Compare that to the cost of studio lighting, and you will see that you can save considerable amounts of money.

Step 3

Buy a couple of bed sheets. You can find many variations in color and texture for under $50. You can also use them to diffuse the light on your subject so the lighting is not as harsh. A white top sheet can do double duty as a reflector, as well.

Be Still, Life

Step 1

Go macro. Use your macro lens to take pictures of still life arrangements. Invest in some penny candy or fruit and stack it in unusual ways. You can even eat the subject afterward.

Step 2

Use real life as your backdrop. Look for unusual textures in walls and floors. Venture into the great outdoors as well. Grass is a popular option for getting texture into a photograph. Find a unique perspective to bring to your work.

Step 3

Be inventive. Anything can lend itself to a good photograph. Trust yourself to discover it.

About the Author

Ruth St. James is a freelance writer as well as a produced playwright and script writer, including a documentary on religion in small societies for Discovery. As the former CFO of a consulting firm, she brings business acumen to the table, as well as expert knowledge in the fields of health and spirituality.