How to Make a DIY Studio for Smartphone Photography

Camera manufacturers are constantly coming up with new, ostensibly better iterations of their products. But in reality, the upgrades can be marginal. That’s because it’s not just the camera body that you should worry about—you’d be surprised how a simple lighting upgrade can drastically improve your images. In this video, photographer Pye Jirsa with AdoramaTV explains the importance of lighting and demonstrates how you can take studio-quality portraits using a smartphone, a simple background and a reflector:

Think of a camera as a tool that just records what’s front of it. So for the image to come out looking good, the setup behind the lens has to be just as strong. If the lighting, background and styling are high-quality, whether you use a high-end camera or a smartphone, the image will come out looking good.

New photographers often mistakenly believe light is just a tool to illuminate the subject. In fact, light and shadows play an important role in shaping the subject. And it’s not necessary to use expensive lighting, either—as Pye demonstrates, just by placing your subject close to a large window and using a thin white curtain as a diffuser, you can light up your subject beautifully. And to create a balance between light and shadow, you can either use a $20 reflector or something as simple as a white sheet of paper.

With the lighting and background taken care of, and a little bit of retouching afterwards, you’d be surprised to see the results.

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