Any hobby can slowly take over the family home, but photography is particularly invasive because so much of the equipment is large – and expensive! It might start out as a single camera with a kit lens, but before you know it you’ve got a collection of glass worth several thousand, and enough lights to illuminate a film set.
If you feel as though you’re fighting a losing battle to keep your gear organised and safe, a few of these ideas might help.
A special area to keep photography gear is very helpful.
It doesn’t have to be huge, just somewhere large enough for your needs. This is something only you can determine, but it obviously depends on the type of kit you’re storing.
- Commandeer a cupboard and dedicate it to some aspect of photography. Lenses, speed lights, cables, chargers, batteries, adaptors… whatever you need to keep safe and organised.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room you can turn it into a home studio that would automatically provide all the storage space you need, including space for light stands, soft boxes or umbrellas and backdrops.
- If you don’t have a whole room but need that much space for photography gear storage, consider self storage rooms. Alternatively, self storage lockers offer smaller spaces which can be handy for folding backdrops, reflectors, or umbrellas that you need to keep in good condition.
- Larger rooms at home could be divided, with sections cordoned off where you can stow photography kit. Ornate or decorative room dividers are also useful as studio props for portraiture, so they can have a double purpose.
- Utilise the nooks and crannies that are often overlooked. The little void under the stairs can hold loads if you fit a few shelves, or the space beneath kitchen cabinets is useful for folded stands or furled umbrellas as long as it’s clean and dry under there. A bit of DIY knowledge is all you need to remove the existing fitted boards and replace them with sliding or hinged doors.
- Shelving – you can never have too many shelves and so much vertical space gets ignored that there’s nearly always room for a couple more, for example over doors. Arrange lenses, cameras, speed lights, even camera bags to keep them out of the way.
Unless your photography focuses solely on one genre, it’s likely you’ll go through phases of different interests. It might be landscape photography for a few months, then shift completely to macro work or to studio portraits. Each genre includes a few bits of specialist gear to get the best results, and these specialised items can clutter up limited space at home.
When you notice a shift in your photography interests, consider placing the equipment you’re not currently using into storage. When items not in use are kept at home gathering dust, there’s a temptation to sell them, especially if other family members don’t share your passion and wonder why you need so much stuff you never use.
Chances are, you’ll want that equipment again pretty soon and it’s nice to have it there waiting for you. Renting a small self storage locker or room will be a more economical option than repurchasing previously owned equipment.
Printing and archiving images
Your portfolio is one of your most important photography collections. Most photographers have thousands of images, and while they may not always be award-winning quality, they’re all precious as part of your photography journey.
While most of us keep digital copies, there’s a growing movement towards printed works, especially in fine art photography. This can create its own storage challenge.
Make a display area by your home printer if you like to proof photos before getting them professionally printed. A corkboard or peg board provides somewhere to hang a temporary gallery, and if you can place it in a prominent position at home, so much the better. Living with an image in a small printed version for a while makes it easier to narrow down your final choice for professional printing.
When you take an image down off the wall (to make room for a new one) pack it away carefully. Images printed on paper store well in artist’s folders or archival quality card folders or boxes. Wrap up images printed on canvas or paper prints that are staying in frames. You can use bubble wrap or sturdy wrapping paper to cushion them from knocks and protect them from dust. Put them in self storage for long term protection, where they won’t be disturbed or damaged.
At the same time, make backups of digital files on flash drives or external hard drives, and put these into secure storage along with printed portfolios.
When you add up all the equipment photographers collect, it’s no wonder it can easily take over the family home. Factoring in the financial investment, it’s definitely cost effective to figure out ways to store things safely and keep those precious possessions in mint condition.
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post