Introduction: Budget Photographic Micro-studio

A simple, low-cost setup for small item pack & product shots. It smooths the lighting, gives a white background and is very easy to make.

Get your eBay or Instructables photography looking good, for next to nothing. Or shoot those expensive jewellery items quickly and easily, for your home insurance policy records.

Example photograph shown here: a bakelite Bilora BOY camera, made in around 1952.

Step 1: The Whole Thing

A good, clear picture sells items, whether on eBay or elsewhere. You really don't need to spend hundreds on professional studio equipment just to make quick snapshots of small items, as you can see here.

A translucent plastic storage tub placed in the shade, plus a sheet of smooth, white paper, with a plastic clamp to keep it curved, are all that's required to isolate the background, even out the lighting and give a clean looking product shot -- all in under five minutes, and for less than the price of a digital photography magazine.

Change the paper for a coloured background if you need one.

If you don't have a clamp, use a clothes peg (pin), sticky tape or Blu-tak.

Comments

author
andrea biffi (author)2012-11-19

this a great idea, these plastic boxes are cheap and you could use it to keep flash tools.

author
Aeshir (author)2007-03-28

This is really handy when you need to edit the whole background, especially in Photoshop with the magic wand tool for, say, when I put my items on eBay, I select the whole background and turn it yellow so it stands out in a list. I just put some sheets of blank printer paper on a table near a window, and lay my item down on it, but with your method, I suppose I can get better (and more even) lighting.

author
Puzzledd (author)Aeshir2011-01-09

A faster method for your background (and if you don't have Photoshop) is to use a coloured background for your photo ;)

I have a pack of coloured cardboard folders to use for my ebay books- opened out, they make a good-sized background for books. I just pick a contrasting colour (yellow, blue or green- the red looks yuck). Of course, these have a fold line; you could buy a few sheets of coloured card for a few dollars.

author
peterbryenton (author)Puzzledd2011-01-10

Good idea, thanks. If you are handy with a steam iron, fabrics can help avoid those fold lines.

author
peterbryenton (author)Aeshir2008-06-28

Thanks, Aeshir. Yes, even lighting at the taking stage certainly reduces the amount of time needed in Photoshop post-production.

author
Puzzledd (author)2011-01-09

Thanks for this idea- definitely going to try this one!

author
peterbryenton (author)Puzzledd2011-01-10

Good thanks. I'd like to see how things turn out for you.

author
wenpherd (author)2009-01-01

what kind of camera is that

author
peterbryenton (author)wenpherd2009-01-02

It's a brown, bakelite "Bilora Boy", which was produced by Bilora ( Kürbi & Niggeloh) in 1950 - 1952.

author
wenpherd (author)peterbryenton2009-01-03

thanks

author
tgfmk2 (author)2008-09-21

thaks it nice and simple

author
Leperello Mikesiah (author)2008-06-27

I was thinking about making an instructable about this. But you beat me! By like a year! :)

author

Why not post your own version anyway, Leperello? We can always learn something new from each other.

author
T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-04-08

Wow! This works much better than a "One Way" street sign.... What?! I didn't steal it! My grandpa gave it to me! Thanks you!!

author

Thanks T3h_Muffinator. And for the smile. Here's another one for you: "You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick any two."

author
CatMan (author)2007-03-30

great idea. i know people who shoot small stuff (glass beads) use a similar method, only smaller- they use a small semi transparent plastic box, the kind used for food storage, they make a hole in it's bottom, put the white paper on a table, the desired object on the paper, the box covering it, bottom side up, the hole facing up, the camera shooting through the hole, and 3-4 desktop lamps lighting the box from all sides. you get even lighting, no shadows. if the box is high enough - you don't need a tripod when using an SLR camera. just stick it through the hole, and let it rest there. use the timer function to avoid moving the camera when taking picture. one last thing- people who shoot shiny objects claim that if you put them in WATER and shoot them submerged - they don't reflect your flash light back at you. i have to try this one.

author
peterbryenton (author)CatMan2008-06-28

Thanks CatMan. It's always about scale. A cloudy sky is one of the biggest "food boxes" we can ever shoot under.

author
royalestel (author)2007-03-30

Great idea. I agree. I'm going to be doing this from now one--And now I know what to do with that extra translucent tub!

author
peterbryenton (author)royalestel2008-06-28

Thank you roaylestel.

author
PetervG (author)2007-03-28

Great idea. I tried another version of one of these on this site but it really didn't work.

author
peterbryenton (author)PetervG2008-06-28

Thanks PetervG.

author
Kiteman (author)2007-03-28

Neat idea. My brother-in-law is a photographer, and spent hundreds on a "proper" version of this, with no better results.

author
peterbryenton (author)Kiteman2008-06-28

Thanks, Kiteman.

I find that learning to understand light saves me money, see http://peterbryenton.typepad.com/lightandshade/2008/06/the-wrens-have.html

author
Aeshir (author)Kiteman2007-03-28

Lmao. What a tool. Kidding....

author
Tool Using Animal (author)2007-03-28

I always feel my pix need improvement, thanks

author

Thanks, TUA.

author
jeffreyf (author)2007-03-28

Neat! This is useful for all of us Instructablizers.

author
peterbryenton (author)jeffreyf2008-06-28

Thank you, jeffreyf.

author
rogeroba (author)2007-03-28

Cool!!!

author
peterbryenton (author)rogeroba2008-06-28

Thank you, rogeroba.

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