Natural Light

diy photography studio at home



This is a growing series of portraits made using my Natural Light Outdoor DIY photography studio. This natural light home photography studio was cheap to make and is easy to set up. It is different than a DIY outdoor photo booth because of the design. My photography studio design is optimized to make the most of the available light for creating beautifully lit portraits.

It is best used in the morning or afternoons when the sun is not too high in the sky. I set it up with the sun behind the backdrop. There’s a thin gray nylon light diffuser material across the top to filter the backlight that falls on my subjects. The ground in front must be bare earth or sometimes I use a neutral colored plastic sheet. More recently I have been using a large fold-out reflector to bounce in more light. Occasionally I used flash with subjects on the white background, but now prefer not to.

I first designed and built my DIY photography studio at home in 2008. I have tweaked it an upgraded and enlarged it over the years and at this point it has two backgrounds, white and black. I have learned many natural light photography tips and tricks along the way which I enjoy sharing.

My outdoor photography studio ideas and inspiration originally came from legendary photographer Irving Penn.

Here’s a short video where I talk more about the DIY photography studio at home and share some natural light photography tips and tricks.

If you want to gain a better understanding of natural light photography Contact Us about a taking a workshop with our Outdoor Studio.

Pwo Karen

Mae Lai Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

November 2016

Baan Thong Luang

Ethnic Minority Village

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Novemeber 2016

Baan Thong Luang

Ethnic Minority Village

Chiang Mai, Thailand

July 2015


Chiang Rai, Thailand.

March 2011

Pwo Karen (My assistant and his Bride)

Chiang Mai, Thailand.

February 2011

Pwo Karen

Mae Lai, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

April 2010


Doi Mae Salong, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

March 2008

Not the full studio. I was trialing the idea and had a few pieces of backdrop fabric with me. The people asked if I could make individual, full length portraits of all the adults so they could place the photo on their coffin when they die!
The young girl dressed in her mother’s costume for the first time as she wanted me to make her portrait too. It was a lot of fun.

Natural light outdoor photography studio portrait of a Karen woman smoking her pipe against a black backdrop. Qualitites of a good photograph
Kayaw woman portrait made using an outdoor studio during a Chiang Mai Photo Workshop
natural light portrait of an Akha woman during a Chiang Mai Photo Workshop
photographing a portrait using a natural light outdoor studio in a Karen village in north Thailand
natural light ourdoor studio set up ready to make portraits against a black and a white backdrop
A Karen woman holds a foldable photographic reflector during a portrait session with a portable natural light photography studio
Outdoor photography studio portrait of a Karen couple using natural light only
Daylight outdoor studio workshop with model and photographer
Kayaw girls look at their photo ont he back of the Hasselblad camera of a participant in a Chiang Mai Photo Workshop