When I first started letting myself dream about professional photography, I knew I wanted to master studio lighting. But I did have not space for an actual photography studio. I felt that because I didn’t have a studio, I could not move forward with my photography dreams.
We had a townhouse and as I racked my brain for places to shoot I turned my eyes to my living room. It was perfect.
The furniture needed to be moved, the TV and stairway would be hidden with curtains. I would take down any personal photos and only have my work on the walls. Several days a week we would turn the living room of our town home into a studio. My ex-husband and lots of friends helped with this transformation.
I worried that I wouldn’t look “professional” enough working from my home. Clients usually didn’t realize that I also lived here.
It was a LOT of work, but it functioned nicely. You could not tell by looking at the photos that it wasn’t done in a top notch studio. Pros say the best camera is the one you have with you, no matter how fancy. Many of my favorite photos were taken with my iPhone.
What makes someone a pro is being able to produce amazing results with less than ideal circumstances.
The best photography studio is found in space you already have. Had I not changed my thinking and nursed an unconventional idea, I would not have created the first three pinup paintings that got me in a 1st Friday art show at the Orlando Museum of Art. Nor would I have been on the cover of the Orlando Sentinel.
When we moved back to Colorado there was a huge unfinished basement with concrete floors. It was a much larger space and I was excited. I went to work covering the insulation with white muslin. I set up a dressing room complete with photo screens and put a bench and sheepskin rug to keep bare feet warm between clothing changes.
It wasn’t a perfect photography studio, but it was mine.
My biggest fear was that a client would feel it was not professional. Only person ever made a comment and while that moment was embarrassing, at least it was over and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be in my head. The artwork I created from that shoot was beautiful and the client was very pleased.
Then three years later we bought our “dream home” and I had a glorious 1,100 square feet of FINISHED basement to turn into a healing photography oasis. I adored that space and every person that came down the stairs commented on how lovely it was. This was the part of the house that was hardest to say goodbye to.
This most recent move has had me downsize a bit. Saying goodbye to my last space and having a much smaller space here left me feeling odd. I sort of developed a block and didn’t want to finish the studio because I was sure I couldn’t create a beautiful space.
I had my first hired photo shoot this past weekend and the Bub helped me make the photography studio functional. It’s not PRETTY yet but one half of it looks great. There’s a wood paneled wall painted a nice shade of blue and I decided it would make a lovely backdrop for family photos. So this last studio is like my first studio, it’s not ideal.
It’s not perfect.
The Bub was test subject and these were the result.
My soul sang as I went through the pictures. The studio is perfect if it can capture moments like these.
He asked if he could sing into my beloved antique microphone. I said yes and then out of the blue he made up a heavy metal song,
“YEAAAHHHHHHH! Truck and TRAINS! YEAHH! AirPLANES! Yeah!”
I almost died laughing but managed to get these shots.
My new photography studio may be little, but it is perfect. And the art that this studio helps create will be the stepping stones I need to get me to my next studio.
Don’t wait for circumstances to be “perfect.” Start your dream regardless of needing “perfection” and notice the magic as it appears.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.