Your Garage: An Unexpected Photography Location

January 26, 2016

It’s probably the LAST location in your home that seems “picture perfect.” In fact, if you are like me, it’s the catch-all, store-all, and most unorganized area of our house.  The garage.  Surprisingly enough it may turn into your favorite place to capture a photograph. Illuminating all of the dust and clutter is a perfect light source just waiting to be used.


Here’s what I do to set up for a portrait session:

1.) Turn off all of the interior garage lights so that it’s as dark as possible.  I have one small window on the side and I cover that up as well. I also suggest moving your car and any objects (especially light colored ones) out and away from the garage opening.

2.) I have found my 85 1.8 lens to be my best candidate for garage photos.  I suggest using a lens that opens to at least 2.0.  You will want to expose for the brightest part of your subject’s skin, which will allow for the background to be nice and dark.  My typical settings for a single subject placed just outside my garage are ISO 200, f2.0, and 1/800 sec. (of course, your settings may be much different.)

3.) I do experiment with placing my subject either right outside or inside the garage – usually no more than 2-3 feet from the garage door. I look for the spot where the light starts transitions.


You can experiment with broad and directional lighting.  Since you have a single light source, just turn your subject so that they are either facing your driveway or turned to the side. In the image below of my daughter, I had her turned to the side and right inside of the garage where the light begins to fall off.

black and white portrait of baby in a garage


In the image below my son was facing towards the driveway so that the light is flat. He was about 2 feet outside of my garage door.

black and white photo of a boy with a camera

I also love that you can use your garage year round.  Here my son was playing with fake snow (Dallas doesn’t see too much of the real stuff!), but it was still pretty chilly outside.  I just rolled a portable space heater right near him so that he wasn’t chilly at all.

black and white image of a boy playing in snow snow image of a boy

For editing I love the accenting the high contrast lighting and converting my garage photos to black and white.  You can easily do this in Lightroom by lowering the blacks and shadows and raising the whites.


Do you take photos in your garage too?  Share them with us!

black and white photo of a boy with a camera

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