When you enter Erin Elizabeth Hoskin’s newborn photography studio, you’re entering a part of her home. Erin built an addition to her house in Perth, Australia, to create her ideal studio — full of natural light, warm and inviting, and just right for creating gorgeous images like the ones below.
Song: “Anchor” (Light vocal) by Mindy Gledhill
We chatted with Erin about her studio to find out how long it took her to build her home studio, the planning that went into its design, and why it was worth the wait.
What did you do before you built your home studio?
For four to five years, I shot on-location for newborn sessions. It was extremely difficult working in clients’ homes, because every single session presented a new lighting situation. (Though, it taught me a lot about working with natural light in pretty much any capacity.)
In 2012, I decided to start having my clients come to me, so that I could control the light a bit more. It was seriously inconvenient because I had to work out of my living area and set up and take down for every session, but it was better than nothing! It was only in late 2014 that we finally completed my current studio addition and I could not be happier.
Can you describe your home studio a little bit? What’s your favorite part of it?
My home studio is a renovated study. It was a (very small) study, and we pushed it with an addition that turned it into a good sized studio space and storage nook. It’s not a huge studio by any stretch of the imagination, but it is perfect for me. I have one large west-facing main window, and a secondary south-facing window that I use for dream-lighting. The floors are dark and there is enough space for my clients to relax, and also a corner for my workspace, which allows me to shut that studio door at the end of the day and put my work behind me.
What are some of the challenges of having a home studio? How do you cope with those challenges?
I haven’t found a home studio to be a burden or challenge at all. It’s my own little space, and allows me to relax at home since everything is in there (and not out where I actually live!)
What are the advantages of having a home studio?
Oh, so many! I love that I have no rent to pay, no bills to pay (other than my normal household bills) and can away without worrying about expenses piling up in my absence. I love that I can roll out of bed, and get my kids breakfast and take them to school, while my studio is heating up and waiting for my session start time. I love that I can wear my pajamas and no makeup all day while editing and nobody judges me. I love that I can quit working if I’ve had enough, or if my husband comes home early from work. Basically, I just really love being home. I feel like I’m not away from my life as much as I would if I had a commercial space.
How do you manage to separate your home life and your professional life?
This is where I am very strict. I used to mix work and home life all the time…try to get a little editing done here, or email done there. But I realised I was having trouble shutting my brain off from work and it was impacting my relationship with my family. That’s when I decided enough was enough. Now I work full-time hours (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), but once that clock hits 5 p.m., I shut that studio door and do not go back in there. I also do not work on the weekends at all — that is my time with my family.
Now, I must admit that in order to keep up with my email, I do work a little in the evenings and sometimes on weekends, but that’s where I draw the line. No editing, no newborn sessions, nothing. It has really made such a difference in my life having that differentiation between work time and family time. I’ve become protective of that “off” time, and do not ever give it up.
Do you have any advice for photographers looking to have a home studio?
Yes! My advice would be to experiment and really plan things out before you build a studio space. Make sure you research your window directions, how the light will fall, and what is outside your window that might change that light (this is the one that everyone misses, but is the most important). Measure out the space you will need for shooting, a client area, a workspace, and prop storage. Make sure you have a detailed plan and have thought out every scenario so you have no regrets. And above all, if you don’t have the space yet or can’t afford it yet or have any other reason why a home studio is not yet in the cards for you, don’t panic. Work with what you can, and make a goal for getting there someday. I promise you, it will be worth the wait.