Creating a Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio

Creating a Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio

How I turned a rented storage unit into a photo studio for under $150.

How to make a DIY photo studio in a rental storage unit |

You might wonder why I need a photo studio when I have a perfectly good house and a guest house that I can take photos in, and I can answer that question in six words …

     Six people, two dogs, four cats.  All in my house.

Well, technically, one of the cats is outdoors 50% of the time and two of the cats are kittens, but in just a few weeks time, those two kittens have destroyed my leather couches, so they are taking a toll on my house quickly.

If you’ve noticed that I’ve taken a lot of outdoor photos lately, those six words are the reason.

For example, if I want to take photos in my kitchen, first I need to clear all the things off the kitchen table and clean it.  Then I need to wash the dishes and clean the windows, and I need to move the trash cans and our small boat away from the outside of the kitchen windows.

See the problem?  By the time I’ve cleaned up all the messes and moved everything, there’s no sunlight left to take photos, and the messes start again the next day.

Same problem in the living room.

Forget my bedroom; it’s a disaster until we ever finish remodeling it.  And the guest house has been occupied by my oldest son until he gets married at the end of the month, so it’s full of his stuff.

I realize that unless you are a blogger or someone who shoots product photos, you may not have a need for a photo studio, but in the event you do either or are just curious, I thought I’d share how we did it for under $150.

How to make an inexpensive Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio |

The unit I rented isn’t large.  It’s only 10′ x 10′, but it’s the only one that was available right away.  If a larger unit opens up, I may move into that one.  But for now, this suits my needs.

Here’s how we did  it.

How to Make a Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio

Words in bold text are affiliate links.

How to make an inexpensive Rental Storage Unit Photogaphy Studio |

Since we couldn’t attach anything to the walls or cause damage, the easiest way to make walls was to attach strong magnets to the back of beadboard with E6000.  We let it dry overnight.  This allows the beadboard to stick to the metal walls without damaging them, and it’s easy to put up and take down.

How to attach baseboard so it's removable |

We attached adhesive Velcro squares on the back of MDF baseboard (which is less expensive than wood), so it can attach to the beadboard.

How to make magnetic faux walls and baseboard in a rental unit photo studio |

I still need to add a coat of paint over the beadboard so the seams will be less visible, but the panels and baseboard worked great together.

Right now, only the back wall has beadboard on it.  It cost about $50 to do one wall, so I thought I’d wait to see if I need more on one of the side walls before spending more money.

How to use faux wood paneling as a photo studio floor |

To make a fake floor, we bought a large faux wood paneling sheet.  It slides right under the edge of the beadboard and baseboard.

I really need one more sheet to extend it a little larger, so I’ll go back and get it later.

How to make an inexpensive Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio |

I picked up this Grey tufted full size futon which I’ll actually be using in my guest house once my son moves into his apartment with his new wife.

The twin bed that’s in the guest house now won’t be large enough for my boys when they come home to visit with their new wives, so I’m moving it out and the futon will take its place.  It’s small enough that it won’t overwhelm the guest room, but big enough that two can sleep on it.

My husband and I plopped down on it with the door on the storage unit wide open and just enjoyed relaxing and listening to the birds.

That’s the benefit of finding a storage unit surrounded by corn and soybean fields. 🙂

There you have it.  That’s how we made a rental storage unit photo studio.

Tell me what you think of it!  Good idea, or my dumbest one yet?


How to make an inexpensive Rental Storage Unit Photo Studio |

Click HERE for more blog tips I’ve shared in the past.

Blog Tips Series |

Vaya con Dios,

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  1. Exactly why I have always taken outside photos .. we live in the house and sometimes the dishes get left during the day .. the laundry that came out of the dryer or off the line get put on the sofa to be folded at a more convenient time .. etc .. and yes what’s outside the windows shows .. sometimes a mess gets left on the porch .. like you there always seems to be something and you spend so much time cleaning it up then the day is over and no photos because as you said you run out of daylight. Great idea with the storage unit although where I live it wouldn’t be cost effective unless I was using it on a daily basis with the gas and mileage to drive to it and the monthly cost of it. So for now I’ll keep waiting for great weather to create my photos .. but if you’re in a position to get a unit for less and it’s close to your home it’s a great idea ..

  2. I totally get it! Seeing that it rains almost every afternoon in S Fla, I’m pretty reserved to shooting inside plus I prefer using my lighting kit. But the backbreaking work of moving the full China Cabinet, cleaning behind and under it, setting up the lighting, lugging the furniture, staging with props, its backbreaking work. Oh the things us bloggers do to get that perfect shot we are right there with ya sister! A storage unit is a perfect solution, whatever works work it! But me I’m squirreling away for that DSL camera and photo backdrop. May just have to get rid of that clunky China Cabinet, and save some bucks on those bottles of aleeve while I’m at it! Lol

    • I hardly ever use my lighting kit Brenda, because I hate dragging it out, then putting it all back away. I won’t really need it at the storage unit, with the door wide open, it gets good light inside.

  3. Peggie Crist says

    Love it! Terrific idea! Can’t get messed up.

  4. Yep. Ditto. In order to take inside photos you have to clean not on the room you’re photographing, you have to clean any areas within view, inside and out. Too much work! Love your photo studio!

    • Thanks Zefi! I rent the storage unit on a month to month basis, so if I find it doesn’t work well, I just stop paying for it. It’s only $40 a month, so it’s a cheap photo studio!

  5. What a great idea, Angie. I totally get what you are saying about having to today every inch of view in the camera before photographing. What I find the hardest having my home as the studio is constantly having to move furniture out of the way.

  6. Been thinking about this myself lately. Would be nice to get all the lighting kits and props out of my space so I can feel like I have ss home again instead of a working studio!

  7. Hi, Love your website. The picture of the dark grey sofa you call a “futon” is exactly the same-looking sofa I have in my living room made by “Couch Potato”. Is yours really a futon? Perhaps futons have come a long way.

  8. SusanIreneB says

    WOW. Thanks Angie, what a great idea!

  9. mare williams says

    I think it’s a FANTASTIC idea, Angie, for the reasons you wrote abou!!!!

  10. A terrific idea! Like you (and all the other commentors) I find myself putting off taking photos because of the hassle of all the re-arranging/cleaning that has to be done. And I keep making things that need to hang on the wall but the wall they need to hang on for a photo isn’t a wall I want to put a hole in.
    Also the magnet solution is GENIUS!!!!

  11. Naomi S. says

    Angie, I think that’s a great idea! The only drawback I can think of is that 10×10 might not be large enough to do full-length portraits. But for product photos it should be perfect. With portraits you want to not be too close to the backdrop to avoid shadows of the subject and you need room for you lighting to be the right distance from the subject. But I think it is a super idea.

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