The Living Room Photo Shoot

Written by Jacob Van Blarcom

living roomTrial2.jpg


What if I told you this photo


was taken here?



That’s right. I challenged myself to produce studio portraits worthy of the front cover of Vogue in my living room.


What’s more, I took the photos without the use of any additional lighting equipment or photography gear. Armed with only my trusty Canon Rebel t5, a boundless source of natural light, an (almost) white wall, and a touch of Photoshop- I’m ecstatic to report back with final photos that shattered any expectation I had going in.


See for yourself.










The idea to turn the central area of my apartment into a makeshift studio began when a roommate of mine asked if I’d take a handful of headshots. Bitter with the ubiquity of the Minnesota winter, I was perplexed by the task. I rely so heavily on the use of natural light in my work. When the challenge of finding a warm location to shoot where we could enjoy our time and breathe surface, I felt clueless.


Then the idea struck- there’s no place like home.


The first dozen shots I took turned out like this:




uninspiring, flat, tiring, and matching the aesthetic of the substitute point-and-shoot photo they’d throw into the elementary yearbook if you were sick on school picture day.


My fingers began to shake. Had I been too confident in my photography skills? Can the magic of Vogue unfold at home? I snapped a handful of more shots, frantically adjusting my camera settings and having my subject face towards the light before we were struck with the distinct moment of triumph we had been waiting for.


The glowing glamour shot we were trying to achieve suddenly came to life. When I had my roommate face the window and turn her shoulders away from the wall, and shot her at a perpendicular angle, she appeared flat against the wall in the frame but was graced in our desired angelic, editorial glow.




After some quick dodging, burning, and color correction in Photoshop, I still can’t believe I produced these images at home.


I’m walking away from this challenge with the working confidence that I can achieve any look or style I desire, even without financial investment in equipment. I’m also pleased (and my roommate is beyond ecstatic) with how the perfect photograph can be chased, even if the shot is not the first, third, or even the sixty-fifth taken.