I wouldn’t say studio photography is one of my strong suits. It takes a lot of practice and requires a ton of technical knowhow. One of the best ways to gain experience beyond a formal education is to find a position working as an assistant in a studio. However, that goal might be a little rough given the current state of the economy and unemployment’s steady climb. Or, you could tackle it like I did. I took a few classes at my local photography center to nail down the basics, bought some equipment and volunteered my time to friends and family while I experimented with my technique. There are many basic lighting packages available ranging from $200.00 and UP! I strongly suggest starting out with a simple, two light set up with a backdrop. Westcott makes some inexpensive kits targeting beginners. The Westcott basic photo kit provides everything you need to get started. There are other manufacturers that do the same, so simply Google “basic lighting kits” and do a little research for yourself. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. You get what you pay for in the lighting world, but if you really don’t know what you need and you don’t have much experience then it probably makes sense to start out small. Once you have your kit you’ll need something to shoot. Now, you can shoot inanimate objects to your heart’s desire, but there’s nothing like photographing people in the studio. If your friends and family won’t humor you then keep in mind there are websites such as Model Mayhem, One Model Place or Craigslist where you can search for models looking to build their portfolios for free or a nominal charge. I personally have not used any of these services, but many photographers do so on a daily basis. If you do use an online agency, I strongly recommend being accompanied by an assistant and having your first meeting in a public location. Keep in mind, you don’t know these people and just because they are looking to build their portfolios doesn’t make them your friend. Handle them like you would any other stranger and keep it professional. Studio photography can be very technical, but once you master the basics it can make you a better photographer…. no matter what you enjoy shooting!