Make Your Own Reflectors
One of the keys to studio lighting is “bouncing” the light off of reflectors or umbrellas to create full, soft, and even light. Although you do need a few lights to do this properly, you can still mimic the effect by making a few homemade reflectors. If you need help softening the shadows created by one main light source (like the sun), you can reflect the light by using white surfaces like a large white poster board or a big piece of Styrofoam or even a white bed sheet.
Whenever you go to shoot, always remember that all surfaces either reflect or absorb light so keep this in mind especially when designing a room for taking pictures. If you know you’re not able to add a bunch of lights to a room, try painting the entire thing white (even the floor, if possible). Having your walls white, they will help to bounce the light around so you’ll have a more even look.
Watch Your Time
The brightness and quality of the light will change depending upon the time of day. By using your homemade reflectors to soften the shadows and your backdrop faced towards the early morning light, you’ll be amazed at the studio-like quality of your images. Try taking photos at different times of day to see how the difference in light impacts the way things turn out, then book your studio sessions in for the times in which you’ll have the best light possible.
Get Creative with Your Backdrops
You may not be able to offer the wide variety of backdrops found in a portrait studio, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. You can use bed sheets for basic colors and then if you want to get creative you can always use paint to create a pattern or add color. If you hang these backdrops opposite a large window (or garage door opening), you’ll get the same effects as using a fill light pointed at them.