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How to Create a Professional-Level YouTube Studio in a Small Space

6 tips to get you looking good on YouTube even if you live in a tiny apartment
Screenshot of YouTube studio tips video

More and more pro photographers are starting YouTube channels to promote themselves and their work. But if you’re a photographer who hasn’t yet joined the YouTube craze, you’re probably wondering how to get started. And perhaps one of the most intimidating things about YouTube is figuring out how to create an attractive studio to shoot your YouTube videos in.

What you might not realize is that you can put together a professional-quality YouTube studio in small space. Photographer and video creator Matt Zefi, who lives in New York City where space is always at a premium, shows you how in the below video from B&H Photo Video’s YouTube channel.

“No, I don’t live in a mansion with some huge YouTube studio,” Zefi says. “In reality I live in a fairly small New York apartment and as working from home has become more prevalent, I’ve come up with these solutions to make the most of a small space.”

Here are Zefi’s six tips for optimizing your space to shoot YouTube videos.


#1 Camera & Lenses

“I recommend using a full frame camera for a larger field of view, which is crucial when space is limited,” he says. “Match this with a wide-angle lens – anything under 50mm, that is – and you should be good to go. For APS-C and other crop sensor cameras, you’ll want to choose a focal length under 35mm. The added benefit to using a wide-angle lens is that it adds depth to your shot, making your background seem farther away than it really is. To enhance this effect, you’ll want to set up as far away from you background as possible, shooting at the longest end of your room.”

#2 Varipoles

“Film gear takes up a lot of space, so to help combat this, you can use things like these impact varipoles, which are incredibly versatile and help get your gear off the floor, making them the perfect solution for rigging cameras, lights and even sound blankets.”

#3 Tripods

“When it comes to tripods, opt for a smaller one. You may even want to consider getting a Gorillapod. So long as the table that you’re filming on isn’t jittery, you should be fine. This is to keep your space clear and clutter-free, which will help in making it feel larger without causing a disturbance on the living space itself.”


#4 Lighting

“For lighting, the bigger the source, the better but with a small space, it’s important to find a happy medium. I recommend the Aputure 120d and their mini light dome. You can bring it closer to your face, which makes it a bigger light source, in a way. If you have a space for a backlight, this Luxli Pocket LED is a great option and you can also incorporate any lamps you have around your home to act as a practical for your background.”

#5 Home Elements

“Try to incorporate home elements into your shot whenever possible to save space. I’m filming this video on my kitchen island rather than getting a dedicated table to film at, and while it may seem a bit too laid back, it actually adds quite a bit of character to your video.”

#6 Audio

“Audio gear tends to be small, so most solutions will work in any space. However, the tiniest option would be a lavalier. Perfect example is the RODE SmartLav+”


Watch Zefi’s video below, which includes many helpful bonus tips. Visit the video page to see his list of suggested gear to start your own YouTube studio.

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