How to take professional photos at home

How to Take Professional Photos at Home

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Are you sick of paying hundreds of dollars for professional photos and are left wondering how to take professional photos at home? We gathered some gear and started taking professional photos at home and we love it!

It’s so nice to not have to deal with driving somewhere, coaxing the kids to smile, paying hundreds for digital photos or printouts, and then doing it all over again months later. This is much, much better.


Why Take Professional Photos at Home?

When our kids were babies and toddlers we’d get them all dressed up, packed up into the van, and drive 30 minutes to our nearest mall to get their pictures taken professionally. Sometimes it went well but most of the time it was pure chaos. Everything was rushed, the kids weren’t comfortable with their new surroundings, someone was always hungry or would suddenly have a full stinky diaper, it just wasn’t ideal. Yet we continued to do it until March 2020 when COVID hit. Then we stopped going in anywhere.

We didn’t start taking professional photos of our kids again until our oldest started Kindergarten through an online school in the fall of 2021. We figured he had to have a back to school photo so we got all of our equipment out, which I’ll detail below, and started taking photos.

We couldn’t leave our twins out so we took photos of them as well!

In the fall of 2022 we did the same and honestly, it’s so nice to have it done at home. No more rushing, driving, stressing, coaxing to kids to suddenly be comfortable with new people in a new place, etc. It’s just relaxed, we can take our time, change outfits if we want, and we don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on the printouts of photos or on the digital copies.

Below are some images that we took in 2022 of our children. My husband and I also took some headshots and lifestyle shots that I’ll be using on my blog as well. They turned out much better than I had expected and I’m so excited!! I’ll put some of mine in the bottom of this post.

Twin A
Twin A
Twin B
Twin B
Our oldest in 1st grade this year!
Our Oldest in 1st Grade!

Even better than just the individual ones, we also took some of the twins together and then all 3 kids together which are so fun to have! We also get to have all the outtakes!!

twins
Our Identical Twins
All 3 boys together with the oldest's arms around the twins.
All 3 Boys
Funny pose like a boy band with arms crossed.
My husband had them pose like a boy band. Lol

Our Home Photo Studio Set Up

We don’t keep this set up all the time because it takes up a large part of our basement but when it is set up it’s pretty cool.

We set it up for pics of the kids and then again for pics for New Years Eve!

As you can see below, this is set up amongst the toys, exercise equipment, and blocking the way to my husband’s office. It isn’t horrible to set up at least so we’re able to do a pop up photo studio whenever we want.

Below I’ll detail all of what we have set up.

Pop up photo studio
Our pop up photo studio set up

Backdrop & Backdrop Stand

Though you could always try to find a bare wall in your house, we’ve found that having an actual backdrop stand and backdrop really helps our photos look professional.

Often backdrop stands are sold separately but here is one that is sold with a backdrop as well so you don’t have to buy two things AND you save a few dollars by bundling.

If you don’t want a white screen, there are other variations as well.

SLOW DOLPHIN Photography Photo Video Studio Background Stand Support Kit with Muslin Backdrop Kits (White Black),1050W 5500K Daylight Umbrella Lighting Kit
SLOW DOLPHIN Photography Photo Video Studio Background Stand Support Kit with Muslin Backdrop Kits (White Black),1050W 5500K Daylight Umbrella Lighting Kit
by SLOW DOLPHIN
  • (1) x Photography backdrop stand support system(Height is adjustable from 2.6 ft to 7 ft. Width is adjustable from 5 ft to 10 ft) (2) x 10 ft x 6.5 White/Black Muslin Backdrop Good idea for any costume, portrait and large object photography.
  • (2) x Digital Full Spectrum Light Bulb 105 W Photo CFL 5500 K, Is equal to 525 w incandescent bulbs, Pure White,Generates a close match to natural daylight and a crisper view of the items being
  • (2) x 86" Tall Studio Quality High Output Umbrella Flash Strobe Light Stand with 1/4 screw and compatible with all major photo equipment (2) x Studio Single Head Photo Lighting Fluorescent Light Holder(E27 Swivel Socket )
  • (2) x 33" White Photo Umbrella Reflector made of high quality nylon construction works well to diffuse the light
  • (2) x 4.5" Photography Muslin Backdrop Clamps for gifts, it can hang paper/ plastic/non-woven backdrops and all kinds of photography (1) Convenient carry bag collect all the accessories of this kit and keep them safe in the bag
 Price: $ 103.99 Buy now at Amazon
10 x 8 FT Black Backdrop Background for Photography, Chromakey High Density Polyester Fabric Pure Black Photo Backdrop Curtain Screen Collapsible Seamless for Shoot Portraits Party Video Studio
10 x 8 FT Black Backdrop Background for Photography, Chromakey High Density Polyester Fabric Pure Black Photo Backdrop Curtain Screen Collapsible Seamless for Shoot Portraits Party Video Studio
by Aimosen
  • ▶8 x 10 FT BLACK PHOTO BACKDROP◀ The size of this black photography backdrop is 8 x 10 ft (2.44 x 3.05 m). Nice soft and pure black background with a non-reflective surface, and it's not easy to wrinkle, professionally used for portrait photos, photography shooting, making videos. Please note: This package does not include the background stand.
  • ▶POLYESTER MATERIAL & LESS WRINKLES◀ Aimosen black screen backdrop is made of high-density opaque polyester fabric, which is less wrinkled and easier to recover than cotton materials. Warm Tips. This black screen cloth will have some creases after being folded in the box for a long time. You can iron it with a steam iron, hang it for a while, or wipe it with a wrung-out damp towel to remove the wrinkles.
  • ▶EDGE STITCHING◀ All the edges are carefully stitched design, firm and durable, and not easy to tear. You don't need to worry about the thread falling apart during use or washing. Second, the long edge (10 feet) provides a pole pocket, you can easily hang it on the backdrop stand.
  • ▶MACHINE WASHABLE & EASY TO CLEAN◀ Aimosen black backdrop curtain material is durable, it can be washed multiple times without fading. Before the first use, spritz a drop of water or place it in the dryer 10 mins prior which will relax it and dry it in seconds, leaving you a wrinkle-free background. Machine washable, using warm water and a gentle detergent. This helps the background screen remain to look like new. If necessary, please iron the surface with steam iron but NOT dry iron.
  • ▶CLASSIC AND TIMELESS ART◀A black photo backdrop is a good portrait option when you’re looking for cool, professional portraits. You can also employ low-key lighting on a black background to create moody, stunning portraits in black and white. Black backgrounds can help you create interest and drama in a simple photo and keep the composition elegant and clean.
List Price: $ 29.97 You Save: $ 8.99 (-30%)  Price: $ 20.98 Buy now at Amazon

Lighting

No matter where you’re shooting photos, having the right lighting is key. We used to try and shoot photos with a professional camera and backdrop but just normal lighting from lights in the house and outdoor light and it just didn’t cut it. We’re much happier now that we have good lighting.

We have a couple lighting sets that we use.

These are the softbox ones that are typically used in a professional photography setting such as school photos and professional photo studios. They work really well and are easy to set up. Bonus: they fold up really nicely into a case when not in use. The case is so small we store it in our front closet with our coats and I often forget it’s there!

RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit 20"X28" Photography Continuous Lighting System Photo Studio Equipment with 2pcs E27 Socket 5500K Bulb,Photo Model Portraits Shooting Box
RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit 20"X28" Photography Continuous Lighting System Photo Studio Equipment with 2pcs E27 Socket 5500K Bulb,Photo Model Portraits Shooting Box
by RALENO Refound
  • LIGHT BULB FOR PHOTOGRAPHY: Softbox lighting kit equipped with 2 x 85W daylight CFL lighting bulb, the total output is equivalent to 800W ordinary incandescent bulb, low operating temperature, service life of about 8000 hours, suitable for long-time photography lighting work. with a color temperature of 5500K, pure white soft light, providing an ideal photography effect.
  • EASY TO OPERATE DESIGN: Umbrella-shaped opening and closing softbox head, press down to unfold easily; Foldable to 27 inch and extended to 80 inch adjustment light stand, durable and foldable for portability and work, made of high quality aluminum alloy, sturdy locking system ensures your items are safe from any swing during use; fast locks provide fast and precise height adjustment.
  • SCIENTIFIC SOFT LIGHT TECHNOLOGY: 2 X 20" X 28" softbox, white square diffuser, made of prumium nylon cloth with highly reflective silver internal face inside to direct the light toward the object, high quality soft Nylon cloth for smooth light flow, eliminating shadows and making fine light suitable for photographic lighting.
  • MULTIPLE SCENE APPLICATIONS: This lighting kit is ideal for portrait shooting, live streaming, video fill light, fashion shooting, advertising shooting and so on. In addition to photography work, you can also use it in your daily life. The 1/4 standard screw on the top of the tripod allows you to mount other equipment on it for use, such as ring lights, projectors, action cameras, etc. A practical purchase option.
  • What You’ll Get: RALENO photography lighting kit contains everything you need: 2 x 20 x 28 softbox window; 2 x E27 5500K 85W 110V CFL bulbs; 2 x 27-80in height-adjustable light stand; 1 x portable tote from Oxford cloth. Durable Oxford cloth tote to accommodate softbox kits. Any questions, please contact our service email.(in the user manual) With every purchase, you will receive 2 years of new replacement service and high-quality after-sales service with quick replies within 24 hours.
List Price: $ 69.99 You Save: $ 4.00 (-6%)  Price: $ 65.99 Buy now at Amazon

Ring Light

We have one like this that we could put a phone in but we typically use our Canon DSLR cameras for these type of photos. I’m sure they’d be great with an iPhone or Android device as well.

This helps get the light right around the camera which helps light the right features.

It comes with a tripod, and can be plugged into a USB on your laptop or into the wall with an adapter.

Aureday 14'' Selfie Ring Light with 62'' Tripod Stand and Phone Holder, Dimmable LED Phone Ringlight for Makeup/Video Recording/Photography, Circle Lighting for All Cell Phones&Lightweight Cameras
Aureday 14'' Selfie Ring Light with 62'' Tripod Stand and Phone Holder, Dimmable LED Phone Ringlight for Makeup/Video Recording/Photography, Circle Lighting for All Cell Phones&Lightweight Cameras
by Aureday
  • 🔵【Multi-use Ring Light Tripod Kit】 Ring light is a boon for facetimers, Tiktokers, vloggers, and makeup artists. Aureday upgrade foldable14” selfie ringlight tripod stand with bigger ring and softer lighting will give a much brighter and more professional look. It improves the quality and feel of your online content creation, photography and selfies.
  • 🔴【User friendly Touch Control】 Our led ring light provides 5 color(warm, warm white, nature white, sunlight, cold white) and 10 brightness(10%-100%) to meet your various needs. It features a highly sensitive touchpad to control the lights. Which will be more convenient and have longer life than traditional mechanical buttons.
  • 🔵【Ultra Sturdy Tripod Stand】 Made of premium solid and high-quality metal, it’s durable and sturdy. Different from other phone tripods on the market, this one folds backward to ensure it’s compact and portable. Tripod legs are longer when standing on the floor, allowing for more stable support of the cell phones and ring lights.
  • 🔴【Height&Angle Adjustable】 The extendable selfie tripod is composed of 4 sections. There are 3 locks making it easy to adjust the height from 16 to 62 inches. Rotatable tripod head allows the ring light angle to be perpendicular or parallel to the tripod. This versatile ring light set can be applied to various events such as video recording, live streaming, hairdressing, dentistry, and handcrafting.
  • 🔵【Versatile Phone Clip&Remote Shutter】 Extendable from 2.3-5.3inch, the phone holder is compatible with all cell phones. 360-degree rotatable, you can shoot horizontally and vertically without turning the ring light tripod. The wireless remote is easy to set up and compatible with iOS and Android phones. Work range up to 33feet.
  • 🔴【Our service】 Package included: 1×14” selfie ring light, 1×62” phone tripod, 1×wireless remote, 1×phone holder, 1×user manual. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. You will get the help within 24 hours.
  • 🔵【Note】The output of 14-inch ring light is 5V=2A, 10W. Please use laptop or 5V=2A output adapter.
List Price: $ 59.99 You Save: $ 21.00 (-35%)  Price: $ 38.99 Buy now at Amazon

Camera

If you have a smartphone that takes decent photos, you could always try using that before buying a high quality camera.

We already had a couple Canon DSLR cameras from 10+ years ago so that’s what we use when we do these type of photos. Otherwise for day to day photos we just use our iPhones.

The cameras that we have don’t have WiFi like the one does below. If we had that we’d be more likely to use them since it’d be easier to share photos with others and store on our server.

We also have different lenses and whatnot but really this starter Canon is all you need for these type of photos. You’ll be amazed at how stunning they turn out!

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens | Built-in Wi-Fi | 24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | DIGIC 4+ Image Processor and Full HD Videos
Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens | Built-in Wi-Fi | 24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | DIGIC 4+ Image Processor and Full HD Videos
by Canon
  • 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor with is 100–6400 (H: 12800)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology
  • 9-Point AF system and AI Servo AF
  • Optical Viewfinder with approx 95% viewing coverage
  • Use the EOS Utility Webcam Beta Software (Mac and Windows) to turn your compatible Canon camera into a high-quality webcam. Compatible Lenses- Canon EF Lenses (including EF-S lenses, excluding EF-M lenses)
 Price: $ 479.00 Buy now at Amazon

Posing

  1. First: make a deal with the person taking photos that neither one of you will share any embarrassing outtakes on Facebook. My husband should have made that deal with me since I have some really funny ones of him. Lol just kidding, I won’t put them on social media or my blog, but we all know that happens to people sometimes so best to deal with that up front!
  2. Think back to your school photos or other professional photos you’ve had taken in the past. Make sure your back is straight though not awkward looking, shoulders back, you have a nice smile but not one that looks like you’re deranged, ya know, the basics. Lol Sometimes it helps to practice in front of a mirror. (seriously!)
  3. Have FUN with it! It’s not a film camera (I’m assuming you’re not using film…) so you can take as many pictures as your SD card will store and go through them later to see what you like. Take funny pictures, pose with props, change outfits, whatever your fancy!
New Years Eve photo
My husband and me on NYE
My husband and me posing
Twin A

Photos for My Blog

We took several different poses and these are three of my favorites. They aren’t perfect but much better than the one that I had as my profile picture all over my blog and social media which was a selfie in my bathroom. Ha! These are so much more “me” and show how I typically dress as well.

No foundation make up, t-shirt, leggings, and coffee. Ha! It’s fun to let my personality shine through in these pictures in a relaxed setting that I surely wouldn’t have felt in a professional photo studio.

Photos for how to take professional photos at home of me for my blog!

How to take professional photos at home with images of my children and myself in photos as well as what we used to take the photos.

Founder, Professional Blogger at The Way it Really Is, LLC | [email protected] | Website

As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.

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