How to Turn a Living Room into a Photo Studio

Here is how to turn a living room into a photo studio for your holiday cards and take great pictures without a professional photographer!
Here is how to turn a living room into a photo studio for your holiday cards and take great pictures without a professional photographer!

This year, I wanted to take a family picture to send out as a holiday card. However, our busy schedule did not permit the booking a professional photographer to take our pictures with enough time for editing, printing, and actually getting them sent out before the holidays. And then, I casually mentioned the cost to my husband and he said that we could buy a nice camera for that amount and take our own pictures! And he’s right.

So, I ditched the professional photographer idea and decided to turn my living room into a photo studio that I could reuse year after year instead. And in case you need a little inspiration, I’m going to share how we did at a fraction of the cost.

how to take great photos at home without a photogrpher DIY in home photo studio

I’m excited to partner with Olympus to offer you this DIY option for your family’s holiday card photos. The bonus is that you’ll own your photos, print as many as you want, and be able to share them with family and friends!

As someone who takes a lot of food and lifestyle photography, owning the rights to the photos I take is very important. Something I can’t do with professionally taken photos. So, to take today’s photos, I used my new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, turned my living room into a photography studio, set up a tripod, and snapped away!

DIY holiday cards for the family how to turn your living room into a photo studio

After a few days of stalking Pinterest, I decided I wanted to have a backdrop that was timeless, that we could use year after year regardless of the theme and color scheme we chose to wear. Eventually, all the idea searching gave me the perfect vision of what I wanted for this year.

So here is how we did it. I went to the fabric shop and asked for the most affordable, non-see-through, white material that would drape nicely. Then, I purchased strands of white holiday lights to hang over the white backdrop.

To create a “studio” in my living room, I moved all the furniture out of the way and hung the backdrop over a very large mirror that already hangs to the wall. Otherwise, I would have draped it over our bookcase. We secured the lights to the fabric with office clips and plugged them into a power strip. The lights over the white material provided the perfect glow I was after.

DIY holiday cards for the family how to turn your living room into a photo studio

The biggest struggle was figuring out how to squeeze six people into a frame, with our teenager being over six feet tall and the little one barely three feet. Our dining room bench came to the rescue, and we squeezed ourselves into the frame. I also held the sides of the material with pushpins onto the wall and blurred the sides with free editing software.

how to take great photos at home without a photogrpher DIY in home photo studio

If you are wondering how exactly did we manage to take our pictures on our own without someone else snapping them for us; I’ll tell you that the secret is “in” the camera. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has a built in WIFI. So, I downloaded the OI Share app to my phone and synced the camera to it. This way, all I had to do is push the button on my phone (hidden behind one of my kids), and the camera would instantly snap the picture. This feature is much better than the 3-second auto timer built into most cameras, eliminating the infamous “run” back.

how to take great photos at home without a photogrpher DIY in home photo studio

The built-in app also allows me to sync my photos with my phone to either edit them in one of my apps or share them with my friends and family on social media.

Using my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, I was able to get all the shots I needed and a few very candid ones that have already become favorites.

how to take great photos at home without a photogrpher DIY in home photo studio

The best part of the shoot was our family laughing together as we took extra silly photos and dancing to holiday jingles. I had a great time talking pictures with my family, at home, and I get to keep some incredible pictures for many years to come.

how to take great photos at home without a photogrpher DIY in home photo studio

Happy Holidays!

 

 

November 15, 2015

444 thoughts on “How to Turn a Living Room into a Photo Studio”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Great family picture! I have a four yr old son that is very active so trying to get a picture of him that isn’t blurry or of him wiggling all around is quite a task. I take lots of photos, whether we are at home playing or out having fun & dressed up & use those on my Christmas cards.

  2. Jess says:

    Your pictures turned out beautifully!!! You always have such great ideas! Thank you for sharing them!
    We don’t ever really take professional family photos as they are always so costly so your solution is perfect!
    I usually take random candid from different things we’ve done over the year to form our Christmas card. On occasion I’ll find a friend to snap one of us just to have one picture on the card not be candid. Getting easier now that my boys are older (7 & 8)
    Before, I’d be lucky if they weren’t wrestling around in the picture let alone both looking at the camera at the same time smiling. The funniest one we did was a couple years ago when we were invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party. They took pictures of everyone that came. It looked like a tacky 70s picture on our Christmas card that year. Lots of laughs though! Thanks again for all your ideas!
    Thank agin for sharing!

  3. Karrie Shields says:

    our christmas cards always include the family photo that was taken back in the fall. I love fall pictures

  4. Melissa MC says:

    My first (and current) camera is an Olympus camera. I love it! It’s the first type of digital cameras ever put out. I don’t even know the specs but it’s ready for an upgrade for sure. I’d love another Olympus camera to replace it, to be able to take photos of my life adventures and share them with my family who lives nearly 3,000 miles away. I’m close to my mom and I share photos with her all the time and having the ability to connect my phone to the camera is a big plus to send them instantly!

  5. Ruth says:

    Some of my favorite memories are my father running back to get in the picture! We had an unpredictable timer, and many times we got a blur of him running back to join the rest of us!

  6. Amy says:

    I love this years family picture card my boys are giving bunny ears to their 9 month old niece…. love it!

  7. Katie says:

    It’s been a while since we have had a family photo taken for Christmas, mostly because our camera is broken. 🙁

  8. Kristen McCrae says:

    We have such a hard time doing family photos. We either can’t get the whole family together for an appointment, or somethingunexpected goes wrong. I love the idea of making my own studio at home, it would fix a lot of our issues with having them taken. Thank you for the great suggestion. It never occurred to me that my camera was outdated! Apparently I need to upgrade. Thank you for the inspiration.

  9. Tara Kidd says:

    My favorite holiday card moments involve taking pictures in the living room too! We’ve got some funny ones from when I was a kid

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