How to take a studio looking photo in your cluttered, messy house

It’s easy to believe you need a large studio space with a wall full of windows to create beautiful portaits but I’m going to tell you a secret…

You don’t!

And to prove it, I’m going to show you my small, messy, and unappealing bedroom where I have taken all my “white wall” headshots of the kids.

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.

We’ve since moved but in our previous home, I had big dreams for our bedroom with a beautiful gallery wall behind our tv. Dreams that never came to fruition. BUT, that failed dream paid out for me! I love displaying images on my walls but I also love simplicity, that’s no secret, so this blank wall eventually became a favorite spot.

It all started when I needed to find a way to keep my kids still for a quick photo or two.

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.

By quick, I seriously mean 10 minutes. And by kids, I mean 6 years old and up because safety first (you’ll see why in a minute).

So as I walked through my house contemplating how to keep my wiggly little ones somewhat stationary, I turned and saw it, the 5 ft long dresser in my bedroom with the 32″ tv sitting on it.

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.

It was perfect!

I knew that if I slid the tv out of the way then I had a solid, light gray wall to work with and the kids couldn’t go far if they sat on the dresser. Win-win! With an average size east-facing window to the right of the camera, I could nicely attach a reflector to a light stand with a clamp to the left of the camera to lighten the shadows some.

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.

Wanting a pretty clean look to these images and my limited light, the reflector is necessary. If you want a moodier look, you could forego the reflector.

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.
without reflector
You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.
with reflector

There’s no need to fall into a slump, feeling sad that you’ll never have that open, loft-style studio space. I’ll admit that it’d be nice but this way is much simpler and budget-friendly 🙂

You don't need a studio or large space for a traditional portrait. Here's how to work around the clutter.

Author: April Nienhuis

Lover of thunderstorms and despiser of socks, I live in rural Oklahoma with my firefighter/EMT husband and our 3 homeschooled kids. I spend my days deep in blogging, SEO, and social media as I teach photography to others, helping them capture their memories more beautifully, as the Director of Online Media for Click & Company.

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