Studio Photography: Insider Tips for Shooting Consistently and Efficiently | Fynn Badgley | Skillshare

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Studio Photography: Insider Tips for Shooting Consistently and Efficiently

teacher avatar Fynn Badgley, Fashion & Portrait Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Knowing Your Equipment

    • 3. Defining a Go-To Setup

    • 4. Using Your Environment

    • 5. Keeping Your Studio Clean

    • 6. Locking in Your Setup

    • 7. Creating a Collaborative Environment

    • 8. Conclusion

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About This Class

Join fashion & portrait photographer Fynn Badgley in the studio as he shares insider tips and demonstrates how to shoot consistently and efficiently. In this 30-minute intensive class, you'll learn the ins and outs of cultivating a photography environment that will elevate your photos. 

You know the basics of photography and lighting, and now it's time to level up your studio photography! You'll be walked through the full studio workflow, and how to save time and reduce stress. If you're the photographer who is in studio day-to-day, this is the way to stay organized, while creating the best environment possible. 

Throughout the lessons presented you will learn: 

  • How to create a go-to camera and lighting setup that works every time
  • How to keep your studio from getting dirty, leaving more time for taking photos!
  • To create a system optimized for consistency across multiple photoshoots
  • How to create a collaborative environment that gets everyone involved excited
  • How to shape and use your environment to your advantage

This class has been designed for in-house creatives working within a creative agency, brand, or company. The material is also especially useful for studio photographers who photograph similar content day-to-day. Whether you're a portrait or lifestyle photographer, product photographer, or anything in-between, this class is designed with your workflow and efficiency in mind. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Fynn Badgley

Fashion & Portrait Photographer

Top Teacher

Hello, my name is Fynn Badgley. I am a Toronto-based Commercial Fashion & Portrait photographer. My work has a large emphasis on how light is used, as well as creating a feeling from the viewer. People have always been and continue to be a large inspiration in my work, and a driving force behind the images I create and stories I tell. Through working as a photographer in various genres over the years, as well as working on high-budget Hollywood film sets, I am excited to share what I have learned with you so that we can all become a stronger community of creators, together. 


Feel free to check out my instagram and twitter to keep up to date on my happenings, or my youtube if you want to learn some more. 

I am creating a series of courses mainly focu... See full profile

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1. Introduction: No matter the genre, studio photography can be found just about anywhere. But how can you streamline your process? Hello and welcome. My name is Fynn Badgley. I am a commercial fashion portrait photographer, as well as a Skillshare top teacher. Today I am on-location at that Toronto Studio to show you some ways to make your studio photography the most efficient process possible. We're not only talking how to make it more streamlined, but also how to make it better. This isn't just going to speed up your process, but it's actually going to make everything more accurate and more detailed. Now full disclosure, this is a more advanced photography class. This is the kind of thing where you know the basics, you know the fundamental, you know composition., you understand the basics of lighting in a studio environment. This is taking that groundwork and building on it so that way you can up your studio photography. This is especially aimed at those who are working in-house for a creative agency, for a brand, or company. We're talking to a situation where you are shooting similar content in your day today, but how to make it so that everything is more streamlined, efficient, and more effective all-around. You're not only going to learn some of my favorite studio photography secrets of how to make sure to get the most accurate setup every single time. But also how to create a collaborative environment where your creative team is going to not only be involved, but be able to give direct feedback right away to make the best images possible. Now, with the information presented in the lessons throughout this class, I implore you to take that information, adapt it into your own studio photography workflow, whether you're an in-house creative, whether you're working for a company, brand agency, or you even run your own freelance business. This is how you can up your studio photography. I would love for you to share your findings as to how this has changed your workflow. If it's actually made it more efficient, how you found the material from this class. Share that information down in the discussion and project tabs so that way other students can look at that and see how this has impacted your own photography. Maybe we can all have a larger conversation about how techniques, like the ones that will be presented can up your workflow. This is less of a behind-the-scenes composition lighting class. This is more aimed to take those fundamentals and build upon them. This is something where there's going to be a lot of intricate little details, so make sure to pay attention and follow along, take notes if that's the kind of thing that you're into. Also, if you are looking for more technical-based classes, I do have a couple on my Skillshare profile talking all about lighting, fundamentals of product photography, fashion photography, and everything in between. So make sure to check those out if that's what you're here for. But if you are a studio photographer looking to up your workflow, then make sure to stick around and I look forward to seeing you there. 2. Knowing Your Equipment: Firstly, I would like to thank you so much for enrolling in this class. I hope the lessons here prove very valuable to you and to your creative agency, company, or wherever you are photographing. Now with all that said, let's get into the nitty-gritty here. One of the first things that you can do to actually speed up your workflow, speed up your overall process is to know your equipment inside and out. There's nothing worse than you're going to take some photos and something is messing up with the camera or the lights, and you spend a bunch of time trying to figure out what's going on. You've got the model there, you've got your boss, your client, your art director, your creative lead looking over your shoulder being like, hey, what's going on? Why is this taking so long? Can we get the ball rolling again, there's nothing worse than that. You don't want that. So the way that you can solve this issue is by knowing your equipment inside and out. The way to do this, it will take more time upfront, but it will save you so many headaches later on down the road, I promise you. It's so worth doing. That is going through your camera, going with different lenses, going through your lights, setting up, taking time if you need to take a full day just to go through everything, look at all the different settings, look at all the different features and what can happen, and do some mock shoots even. Just do some test photos to make sure that everything is working as it should, and try playing around, change some settings up and get them back to how you want. Go through all the menus, go through all the different settings, everything you can possibly do, so that way whenever an issue does come up, and trust me, they absolutely will and they always come up at the worst times. That's why you want to actually go through know your equipment like the back of your hand, so that way as soon as an issue arises, you can look at it, go up to the light, adjust a couple of settings and you're good to go or go up to the camera, hit a couple of buttons and you're absolutely set. It's going to actually save you so much time in the long run. This is one of these things that people can often overlook. You get new gear and you just want to start playing with it right away. You set it up, you start shooting, and you give it no second thought, but it is these things that when you take the time, they will pay dividends in the future because you won't have to worry about catastrophic things happening when you're actually onset shooting, and that way you can just focus on taking amazing photos and you don't need to worry about the gear and all the intricacies of it. You already know everything and as soon as anything does go wrong, you know how to correct it quickly. This is one of those things that is so often overlooked but makes your life so much more efficient and it makes you more effective as a photographer, plus you just end up looking better. It's just a professionalism thing. You know, your gear inside and out, so it's not going to throw you off because sometimes when that happens you can get stressed out and then sometimes the images won't come out properly and then you're rushed and things happen and that's not what we want here. We want smooth, easy-going photoshoots, and this is how we get them. So know your studio, know all of your equipment like the back of your hand, your backdrops, your lights, your stand, your cameras, tripods all of it, play around, take the time and it will pay off so much in the future, I promise you that. Now with that in mind, let's head on to the next lesson where we're going to define what a go-to setup is and how they can really make your life easy. 3. Defining a Go-To Setup: [MUSIC] Now that we know what our equipment does and how to use it to the best of our ability, how can we actually streamline our process and have a setup that's going to work when we're shooting similar content day-to-day? This is the type of thing where you're going to come into the studio and if you're shooting e-commerce, you're going to be shooting models on a white background continuously. But how are you going to make that the most streamlined way possible? Or if you're shooting product, how can you make it so all your products are going to look a similar way, way make that super consistent, super cohesive, and just make your life easier? The ultimate way to do this is to have a go-to setup. We're talking same camera, same lens, same light, same light modifier, and same light position. These are the things to keep in mind so that way everything comes together and just stays consistent throughout all your day-to-day photography. These are the things when people look at your company's website that they will see see the photos look the exact same even if they're taken weeks or even months apart. It doesn't matter if it's a one light setup, two light, three light,10 lights, you want to make sure that you have it dialed in exactly how you want it so that way all your images are going to look the same all the time. Now, what you want to do for this is actually talk with your creative lead, talk with your art director, and figure out the look that you're going for, create a lighting style, a composition, a camera setup around it, and then keep that in your back pocket and use it as your go-to. For me, I love a large soft light, especially when doing stuff like e-commerce so for me, I would have a large soft light, something like a seven foot umbrella with a white diffusion in front of it. A little bit of a three-quarter to the model, get nice shadow fall off, and it's just going to create an amazing look there. Now, you don't have to use this exact same setup, you can use whatever fits the brand identity of the company, of your creative agencies, clients, etc. You can tailor these for each one, but having that dedicated setup that you know like the back of your hand is going to save you so much time, so many headaches and is really going to streamline your process. It's that type of thing where you set up that one, two, three lights and you know exactly how it's going to look. You have used it so many times before where it's second nature to you. This is your Swiss army knife. This is where you pull it out and you can do whatever you need to with it. It's something when you're under the wire and the job is now a little rushed, that you can do without a problem because you've done it so many times, you know exactly what it's going to look like and how to do that. The way to get comfortable with this is play around with your setup, play around with the lighting position, play around with camera position, with the positioning of your subject so that way you know what things are going to look like at the end result. Now that we've talked about defining our go-to setup, no matter the space you're in, sometimes you have to work around it and try to make things look as best as possible. If you're in a big white studio, there are things you can do to actually create a more dynamic look rather than have light bounce around everywhere. That is exactly what we're going to talk about in our next lesson. [MUSIC] 4. Using Your Environment: Every studio is different. But knowing your day-to-day studio, how it works, what it looks like, how light interacts with it, you're able to really dial in your setup here. No matter the size, no matter space, there are ways that you can modify light and play with depth. That way, you can have a dynamic look no matter what your studio space looks like. Let's say if you have a big white room and there's going to be light bouncing everywhere, there are things that you can do to actually shape and modify lights, so that way you can add more dimension. If you want a bit more of a dramatic look, there are things you can do such as adding in negative fill, or something like that. A negative fill basically being any type of black material, foam core, or reflector something like that, rather than adding light actually takes it away to add more shadow, depth, and dimension to your overall image. These are things that you can take and really play with to make sure your images have the look that you want. If we have a lot of light bouncing around everywhere, what we want to do is actually take some of that away, make a little more dramatic, a little more dimension, so we're going to do. This is going to work for more of a 3/4ish closer vibe. For full-body, you'd want a larger reflector or negative fill. What we're going to do is, we're going to bring a little bit of black in here, and then we'll see the results of actually taking away that light and how that affects the overall image. Then what we want to do is have this, it's going to be on that shadow side of her face, then enhance those shadows a little bit, bring them up a little more. There's a fairly large studio, but there is a bit of light that's still bouncing around. We just want to mitigate that a little bit and bring that down a little bit, add some dimension, add some depth on those shadows, so let's see what that looks like. [NOISE] Similarly, if you're in a all-black studio, you might want to take some white foam core, a white reflector, or something like that and add more fill because that black is taking away light. White reflects light adds to it because it's all bouncing around. Black is going to absorb that light, so it's going to take it away creating more shadows, more depth, and dimension. Using these two, we can really play with it so that way we can get the desired look we want no matter what our studio looks like. You don't even have to have a lot of space. If you're working in a fairly tight, confined area, in whatever company you're working for, you don't need a lot of space to do this. You can use anything at your disposal to make sure that the light is the way that you want it. That way you can get the look that you want. This is going to also save you time in the edit because if you take the time, in the beginning, to actually fine-tune your lighting, fine-tune your camera position, and fine-tune the overall look of everything, this is something that you can remember for your future studio photography. That way you can keep going back to it. That way you don't have to spend a bunch of time in the edit, you get it all right in camera. Then your workflow is so much more efficient. You save time, the company saves money, and everybody's happy at the end of the day. Having these measures in place is going to save you so much time and allow more time for you to be taking photos. That's exactly what we're about to expand on in the next lesson. 5. Keeping Your Studio Clean: [MUSIC] There are things that we all have to do as photographers when in a studio, especially when we keep coming back to it day in and day out. How can you make this so your life is easier and you can spend more time shooting. You want to keep your space as clean as possible. You might think, okay, yeah, that makes sense, but what does this have to do with streamlining our process? Well, the cleaner you keep your space, the less time you need to spend actually cleaning it up, and that sort of thing, and the more time you have for taking photos. That's what we're here to do. We're not here to be cleaning up everything all the time. If you keep it from getting dirty, then you don't actually have to clean that up and you can just spend all your time behind the camera. Now with that, there are some things to keep in mind. You probably don't want to be wearing shoes in the studio or if you do have a pair of indoor shoes or slippers, something like that, that you can walk around it in the studio that aren't going to make it super dirty or anything like that. Likewise, if you're shooting people, if you're using a model or anything like that, talk with your stylist, talk with the model and make sure that the footwear is clean or indoor shoes, stuff like that hasn't been warned too much. In that way your backdrops will also remain super clean and it'll save you on seamless papers so that way you don't need to cut it off all the time. Or if you have a cyclorama wall those big, seamless painted walls that cost a lot to put up, you won't have to repaint them all the time because you have footprints everywhere. These are little things that you can keep in mind that are actually going to save you a lot of time and make your life as a studio photographer more efficient. Here's the thing, your team is going to love this as well because it means that the content is going to be pushed out more effectively. There's not going to be this time working on things that yes are absolutely important and need to be done. But if they don't happen in the first place, then you don't need to worry about them. And it saves you so much time and makes your life more efficient and makes you look better as a photographer. Just keep your space clean. It will save you so much time. Trust me, it's worth it. Now I'm about to share one of my favorite tips for making sure your setups are going to be super locked in and cohesive every single time. [MUSIC] 6. Locking in Your Setup : When you're in the same studio day-to-day, it's easy to have all of your lights, your camera position, everything close enough. You're taking photos of the same or similar things, day-to-day e-commerce, fashion product, whatever it be, you're having this so it fits seamlessly on the website. When you break down and set up your studio, everything is in the same realm, but maybe it's a little bit off every time. Here's the thing. That's not exactly what we want. We want everything to look like it was taken on the same day, even if it was weeks or months apart. But how can you do that? Especially when you're doing different setups, takedowns, etc, moving parts, all of this kind of thing can make it a little more tricky. But there is a way that you can make your life so much easier and it all takes place with a little bit of tape and know-how. To do this, what you want to do is, your camera position, you want to mark it off on the floor. I'm serious. Take a little bit of tape and what you want to do is you want to make a little V formation on the floor of where that lens is pointing. You want it to be right under where the camera is. Not on the legs of the tripod, but right under where that camera is. Or if you don't want to do this, what you do is mark each individual leg of your tripod. You will do this with your lights as well. Take that little V of tape and put it right under the center of your light where that light is going to be pointing. You do this with each different light. You can color-code them so you know the difference between this light, that light, your camera, etc. When you come back to it from the weekend after you've torn it all down, you can set it up exactly the way it was. This is also where you would want to mark off all the heights and everything on your light stands and on your tripods. Take something like a permanent marker and just give little lines on there. Now, here's the thing. You might be like, okay, but now I'm going to have a bunch of lines that'll never come off. Fun fact, if you use rubbing alcohol, just take a tissue, something like that, put a little rubbing alcohol on it, that permanent marker will come right off, so there's no need to worry about making those little mistakes. Little tips for you that will save you in the long run. Now, this way, you can get your height, your camera angle, everything locked in every time. This is also where you would want to jot down the different power settings of your lights. If you're using flash, if you're using LEDs, you want to mark down which light it is and how powerful that is as well. You can even, on your floor marks, actually take a little permanent marker, a pen or something, and markdown which one each is. Maybe even note the power on that. That way, you just look down, this one is at full power, this one is at half, this one's a stop lower than that other one. Then you just have an all cohesive and you can go back to it without second thought. Now, these marks do not only for camera positions, lights, and that sort of thing, but also if you're taking photos of a product, you can put a little piece of tape underneath where it would be. That way, you know exactly where that position is going to be for each product, exactly where to position it. You get the light, the angle, everything right. You won't even need to refocus, because guess what? It's going to be right where it needs to be. The camera hasn't moved, the lights haven't moved, and that product, even though it's switched out, it's in the exact same spot. No guesswork, you know exactly what you're getting. If you're shooting models, if you're taking fashion photos, e-commerce, that sort of thing, mark off on your backdrop, on the floor, anything where they're supposed to be standing. Because I've seen this happen myself. They change, they come back, and they're in a slightly different position, and suddenly, the light is off and it gives a completely different look. Even if they're off a couple of inches, it can completely change the look. When you're shooting day-to-day for a company, for a creative agency, anything like that, you want to make sure that that look is as consistent as possible. The way to do this is using these marks. Now, what I like to do is make my tape as close to the same color as what that backdrop is. If it's a white background, just take some white tape, put it down. If you need to remove it in Photoshop, It's about a two-second fix and it blends in so easily. A lot of times, you may not even actually see it. But this is the sort of thing where they will be able to see exactly where to stand. It won't be super in your face, but they will be able to see where to stand. The light and the camera position, the focus, everything will be right where it needs to be, and it is such an easy fix in Photoshop to take that out rather than trying to modify the light after the photo was taken. If you are moving in for different shots, different close-ups, things like this, if you're getting a full body then you're coming in for a three-quarter close-up, anything like that, you can have multiple camera positions and then just number each one. This doesn't have to be super like the camera can't move. No. You can absolutely mark off different positions as you need to. This can change from different project and different project. You can even create lists for each different setups. That way, if you're working with a creative agency that has a bunch of clients that you work with and you're changing your setup all the time, you can keep a list of everything, of how it needs to be. That way, when you go back to it, you know exactly what your power levels, your camera settings, everything are supposed to be. In that way, there's no guesswork. Yes, it is a little tedious at times, but it absolutely will save you in the long run. It'll cause fewer headaches. You will look more professional because you know exactly how everything is supposed to look and all the images are going to look exactly the same. That way, nobody comes to you and says, why did these images look like this and these new photos don't look the same. Maybe the color's off, maybe the lighting is a little more dramatic or a little flatter, maybe the angle isn't quite right, there's none of that guesswork. You know exactly what those images are going to look like because you've tailored it down to exactly what it needs to be. You can go back to it every single time without any stress. This is going to save you a lot of time and just make you look better as a photographer. Because you're coming back into the studio day-to-day, you don't need to worry about anybody else shooting there or anything like that. You know that this is your dedicated setup, this is your environment and you can keep coming back to it and modify it as you need to, but it's always going to be there. That way, you have that peace of mind every time you walk into the studio. It's going to make your life a lot easier and your workflow more efficient. Now, on the note of looking good as photographers, let's talk about how you can actually create a collaborative environment with your art director, creative team. That way, everybody's in on the process, everybody gets to share their thoughts, and the overall photographic experience is just the best that it can possibly be. 7. Creating a Collaborative Environment: When you're working in a studio with multiple team members, you don't want them looking over your shoulder all the time trying to see what the photos look like. But you also want them to be involved in the creative process, be able to share their thoughts, give feedback, and make sure that the images that you're creating are to brief and to what they are expecting. How could you do this? Well, the tried and true method is tethering to a computer or other device from your camera. Now myself, I'm not a big fan of having a bunch of cords and cables running around the studio. I know this has been the way we've done it for many years, decades even, but there's new and easier ways to do this. For myself, I like having a device called the CamRanger 2 that I plug my camera into and what it does is it wirelessly sends those photos to an iPad, to a computer, even to a smartphone. That way, whatever creative team I'm working with can see those images coming in right away. If there's makeup, hair, stylists, they can all check what they need to on their own and adjust it accordingly. Your art director of creative lead, they can see the images coming through immediately on a larger screen, check that everything is looking good, and give you feedback if anything needs to change. Plus your models, if you're shooting anything that is on figure or if you're taking photos of people, they will absolutely appreciate it because that way they can see what the images are looking like and adjust things for how they know that they should be presenting. Because even myself, I've done a bit of modeling. I always prefer being able to see that image, to know how I need to adjust myself because I know how I can do just that. Now for me, I love tethering into an iPad, sometimes plugging that into a TV and using it that way. This is a fantastic and super simple way that everybody is involved. You can put on a little music, get the vibes going, and that way everybody is just getting excited about the images. They can see them coming in right away, zoom in if they need to. It just makes for a really great environment onset and your studio is going to be lively. Everybody is going to be in a good mood and they can see the images right away. The other added benefit of this is in this day and age, sometimes you will be doing remote work, especially if you're in-house at a creative agency, sometimes the client might not actually be able to make it there. You're going to have a Zoom call, FaceTime, something like that. That way they can see the images. All you have to do is screen share that and they'll be able to see them as they're coming in and give you a sign off, making sure that those images are to what they're expecting and to what they want. These are the little things to keep in mind that are going to make your life not only easier, save your headaches and make you more efficient. You're not going to have people looking over your shoulder. You're not going to be checking the images all the time to make sure it's good. You're going to get it setup dialed in and those images are going to come through. Everybody's going to be able to see them right away. Anything that needs to be adjusted can be right on the fly and you are going to look amazing as a photographer. No matter where in the globe your client is, they're able to see the images, able to see them coming in live. That way in this digital era, if they can't make a flight to come down to actually be present onset, they can still see the images and make sure that they are getting exactly what they want from you. It's also going to make your workflow even more efficient because nobody is going to be looking over your shoulder. You're not going to be passing the camera over. That way your art director can check to make sure it's looking proper. They get to see it right on a larger screen, make sure everything looks good. That way you can keep shooting quicker and more efficiently. I hope this all comes together to create an efficient and collaborative environment within your studio. 8. Conclusion: If you've made it up until this point in this class, I want to thank you so much for taking the time going through the lessons and absorbing all of the information presented today. I know we covered a lot, but it will all serve to create a more efficient, collaborative, and overall higher-quality experience within your studio. If you're a day-to-day photographer, this is going to make your life so much easier. I implore you down in the Project tab to share your findings of how this has affected your studio photography, how it has changed up your workflow. If it has, if it hasn't, let me know, talk amongst yourselves as well. I'm going to be chiming down in there as well, so I would love to hear your findings of how this changed up your photography workflow. Now, if you like more technical-based courses, I do have a couple on here and I'll be uploading more, so make sure to follow along on Skillshare as well. I do make some smaller, more bite-sized consumable content over on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe there as well if that's the thing that you're into. Take everything you've learned in this class, take everything from these lessons, apply it to your own studio photography, and I hope that it serves to really up your production value, your production quality, and just make your life easier. Thank you so much for watching. Thank you for your time. I hope you have a very creative day. Work hard, rest often.