Studio Hacks

Studio Hacks

Studio hacks are essential for both beginner and professional photographers. Furthermore, studio hacks improve your creative camera skills, thus making you a better photographer.

Studio hacks will also likely become more popular as time goes on too. Covid19 and the recession forced over 22,000 businesses to file for insolvency in 2022, forcing companies still open to tighten their belt. To make matters worse, Great Britain is heading into another recession.

Soaring costs and weakening consumer demand in the second half of last year also combined to force many firms into liquidation, said analysts who predicted the situation was likely to worsen as the UK economy moves into recession this year.

According to official data, the total number of company insolvencies registered in England and Wales reached 22,109, the highest since the recession in 2009 that followed the financial crash and 57% higher than in 2021.

The look ahead is undoubtedly bleak, and if the next recession is anything like the one I went through in 2009, you’ll need everything you’ve got to survive.

Studio hacks (like camera hacks) may seem cheap and tacky to some. However, they’re practical and economical. Moreover, I know of several pro-photographers that use them that have won prestigious national and international awards as a result. So, they can’t be all that bad.

Light Box

Light-boxes are often used in product studio photography to capture high-quality professional images of products such as watches, jewellery, makeup, food and electronic devices such as phones.

Light-boxes range in price from £100-500; however, you can make one for half that price. The image below illustrates a light-box studio hack made from cheap wood and leftover pallets. The sides are made from translucent white fabric, though you can use craft paper too.

Homemade light boxes are great for beginner photographers running small home studios; they can also be used in larger commercial studios.

Read more here: DIY Photography


As a studio photographer, I know how expensive backdrops are, especially handmade ones. Depending on your material (fabric, wood, vinyl etc.) and size, you’re looking at spending between £150-1000+, which isn’t economical if you’re on a budget and short of customers.

Furthermore, cheap backdrops purchased from Amazon or Wish will degrade after a few uses and are almost impossible to iron the creases out of.

That said, there are several studio hacks that you can implement, such as paper, clean curtains and bed sheets etc.

Alternatively, you may prefer MDF boards instead. MDF boards can be purchased from the local DIY store for under £20.00, and (matte paint) is cheap as chips.

MDF backboards artistically painted to create a moody scene

I’ve used MDF boards to shoot flora, still life, and products for years. They’re lightweight, easy to move and store, and dry quickly once painted. Moreover, you can recycle them again and again.

I bet you wouldn’t have guessed the photo (below) was shot in a makeshift home studio 10×10 meters square. The MDF backboard was £12.00, and the charcoal paint was £5.99 too.

MDF backboards work in most small and large spaces and are much cheaper than competitive backdrops. Whats-more, you don’t need to go buy another one if you dislike the colour or the scene gets boring. Sand it very lightly, and apply a clean coat of paint.

Before Processing – Credit: J. J. Williamson
After processing – Credit: J. J. Williamson

IKEA Pegboard

An IKEA pegboard can be fixed to your studio wall, desk, wardrobe, etc. Use one or several pegboards together and organise all your photography equipment, such as plamps, wire, string, paper rolls, vinyl, screws, nuts and bolts, gels, filters, reflectors, tripods, spare batteries and much more.

IKEA pegboards range in price from £15.00-30.00 and are much cheaper than installing individual shelves. Furthermore, they’re easily adjustable and hold more than the average shelf.

Credit: Sewing Report


Studio lights and lighting accessories can be expensive. Fortunately, you can try several studio lighting hacks with the equipment you’ll likely have in your home.

All you need is a standard household table lamp, a free-standing spotlight and a piece of white paper or pillowcase to act as a diffuser. It would also be helpful to ask an assistant to help with holding both the table lamp and makeshift diffusers.

Have your model subject stand or sit in front of the paper or MDF backdrop. Place your adjustable spotlight behind the subject to emphasise the depth. Next, ask your assistant to hold the table lamp with the diffuser in front of the light closer to the back of your subject.

The glow from the table lamp softly illuminates the back of your subject, thus increasing any shadows and darks for easier post-processing.

White light from flat-screen televisions and even fridges can also create a “dramatic lighting effect”.


Wedio is very similar to the American Kitsplit. Wedio’s mission is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, tools, and services that help you craft better stories as a creator.

Wedio is cheaper too. Therefore you do not have to worry about spending vast sums of money to rent a lens, camera, or photography studio equipment.

Credit: Wedio

Wedio allows you to rent, buy or share gear with professional filmmakers and photographers near you and unleash your equipment’s and your peers’ full potential.

And with over 20,000+ active registered members, you’ll likely find the equipment you’re looking for at affordable prices, unlike large cooperate companies that charge much more.

While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a studio and camera hack that will lessen your spending during the cost of living crisis and this year’s impending recession.


Photography studios are complex businesses, and running a studio is not cheap. Rent can cost anywhere from £1000 a month upwards, and that’s not taking into consideration staff wages, the purchasing of and upkeep of lighting, equipment, cameras, lenses, makeup and wardrobes, darkrooms, editing equipment, graphic design spaces, display rooms and websites, storage spaces, shipping and receiving, reception, showrooms, marketing and sales.

Furthermore, with another recession on the way, more photography studios will likely go out of business due to a lack of footfall and rising rent costs. Hence why, every little bit helps to cut down the cost.

And while these five essential studio hacks won’t prevent another photography studio from going into liquidation, they can help reduce some of the costs. In addition, any hack that can reduce cost or improve creativity for professional and home studio photographers is a positive.

J. J. Williamson | The Norfolk Photographer

My name is Jon Williamson; I’m an ethical photographer and writer with fifteen years of experience in the industry. I shoot landscapes, seascapes, riverscapes, fine art, and portraits. I also run workshops, run tours, and offer one-on-one photography feedback.

Published by J. J. Williamson

Prints, frames, stock images and portrait services.

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