Home photo studios: how to shoot pro-quality portraits with a basic studio kit

Professional tips for creative portrait photography

Family Portraits: 10 tips for setting up your home photo studio

We've talked here about the practicalities of shooting using a basic studio set-up, but the creative aspects are just as important. Look through magazines, go to art galleries or look at the work of photographers you respect, and make a note of styles, poses, colours, tones and textures that you like the look of to create a mood board. You should take this along with you as a point of reference.

Break the ice
Try and make the time to have a conversation with - or better still, meet - your subject before the day of the shoot. Whether you're attempting a fashion shoot, a family portrait or a corporate headshot, it'll help break the ice so you'll both feeling more comfortable on the day. You could even collaborate on creating your mood board: it'll help manage their expectations too.

Try not to get hung up on preconceived ideas of what a good portrait should look like. For example, a big beaming smile doesn't always create the best image. A more thoughtful, pensive expression can create a more powerful image, as we've done here.

Ben Brain

Benedict Brain is a UK-based photographer, award-winning journalist and author. He balances his personal practice with writing about photography and running photography workshops and enrichment programmes. He writes a monthly column called The Art of Seeing, and his first book, You Will Be Able To Take Great Photos By The End of This Book, was published in 2023 by Ilex Press in the UK and by Prestel in the USA with translations in Spanish, Bulgarian and German; his second book, A Camera Bag Companion, was published in March 2024. Benedict is often seen on the panels of prestigious photo competitions, and in 2020, he founded Potato Photographer of the Year. Benedict exhibits his work internationally, and travels the world as a public speaker, talking about the art and craft of photography.