Introduction: DIY Home Photo Setup

Picture of DIY Home Photo Setup

Dirty, Cheap, Decent DIY Setup for better ebay and Instructables photos.
I used a Canon Point and Shoot, and a Tripod!
I am NOT a professional photographer (nor do I play one on TV).

Necessity is the Mother of invention... and MacGyver is its Dad!

Step 1: The Stove

Picture of The Stove

Almost everyone has one of these at home (A Stove), and if you're really fancy, or living in accordance to strict building codes, then you also have a hood* over that stove.

*The hood is that thingy up top with the sucky part (Fan) and bright bit (Light).

Step 2: The Bits and Pieces

Picture of The Bits and Pieces

Get yourself some plain white Bristol Board.

Some of that re-usable sticky tacky stuff that you can safely stick posters to walls with... or some gum.

One CFL (NOT Football) with a daylight colour temperature of 5000k - 5500k
(just look for whatever you can find which will give you the whitest light possible)

Step 3: The Setup

Picture of The Setup


and then...

Screw the new white bulb into the hood.

Lay the Bristol Board over the stove top allowing for the natural curve* as the board goes up the back, and keep it in place with that sticky stuff wherever you need it.

*The natural curve in the board is needed to give the illusion of an endless flowing white background.

OoOoH AaAaH!!!

Step 4: The Subject

Picture of The Subject

Place the subject of your photograph in the middle of the board, under the light.

Pretty self explanatory really... if you think about it.

Step 5:

Picture of

To keep it simple, keep your camera settings on AUTO, so it's less for you to think about and change... and...


Take your photo.

Seriously though... this pic right here is good enough for posting. It's lit well enough and the most important point is... IT'S IN FOCUS!

Step 6: The Tweaks

Picture of The Tweaks

If the photo needs tweaking a little, then edit it with photo editing software such as GIMP (which is a free download, and easy enough to figure out)

The Contrast and Brightness was tweaked a bit here, with a little white to fill in a few nasty spots.

Step 7: The Tweaks... Continued

Picture of The Tweaks... Continued

The Shadow underneath the car was too harsh, so I softened it up with a little selective blur.

Step 8: The Money Shot

Picture of The Money Shot

Then I went a little further (you don't have to) and added a little soft glow, highlights, and depth.

There you go!

Alright... let's just all agree that if you're gonna post some pics... at least try to make sure that they're in focus!


For your average Joe (or Mike, Steve, Bob, Sue or Chris), on an average day, for Ebay, Craigslist (or Mikelist, Stevelist, Boblist, Suelist or Chrislist) or Kijijijijijiji etc. Just getting to step 5 will do you fine.

As long as your image is in focus, no one can really complain about your images.

One light, one piece of card, one camera, focus.... and shoot!
(I used a tripod, and you don't even need to do that. If it seems too easy, try standing on one leg while doing it!)
There's really no need to make it any more complicated... Have you seen some of the photos on Ebay?
Someone could be selling a guitar, and all you can make out in the photo is what seems to be a blurry cow teapot!

slueless (author)2014-03-21

Oh I see thank you

tesserae (author)2014-02-18

"The natural curve in the board is needed to give the illusion of an endless flowing white background."

I was always wondering how come you did not see the demarcation lines as the back of some pictures. Ingenious, have to try this.Thanks.

The pros call it an Infinity Wall or an Infinity Cyclorama. It gives the illusion that it goes on forever... and ever... and ever... and ever... (echo... echo... echo... fade)

slueless (author)2014-03-20

What about the two boards on each side, there is no mention of those?

I can't make mention of something that isn't there.
Surely you don't mean the wooden cutting board sitting on my counter on the left side of the photos.

no, up by where you put the light bulb on each side of the hood is some kind of board? my range hood is open on each side.

No those are wall mounted cupboards on each side of the stove hood!
Cupboard on the left (you can see the silver handle) holds a large assortment of Tea's (My wife is a huge Tea drinker). Cupboard on the right are mugs (way more than 2 people should own), and plates and bowls of various sizes... you know... regular everyday kitchen stuff!
Cupboard above the hood is top secret, and I can say no more about that cupboard!

slueless (author)2014-03-20

love it thanks so much for sharing

Thank you!

quicksilver81 (author)2014-02-27

Great Idea! As a photographer I would recommend to put two more boards on the sides to bounce more light back at the subject and make the lighting more even.

Offishall (author)2014-02-22

The stove is all i need. Thx heaps!

You're welcome heaps!

peskypesky (author)2014-02-25

Excellent work! With super budget materials....I like.

Thank you!

Hellwolve (author)2014-02-17

That's...actually very clever :D I have a simmilair stove and I think I'll give it a shot soon :)

Good luck!

Thanks! I tried it just now and I'm pretty pleased with the results :-)

Mmmmm... Pizza!

Pizza is my favorite ;-) Had to figure out how to compensate for the 'grills', and this was close at hand ;-)

tubaska (author)2014-02-16



chuckyd (author)2014-02-16

I like the idea of the minimal space, and using a single board.

However, if your purpose is to show off your car, you need more than one light source. Very little detail is visible on the top of the car, and totally lost on the sides. You may be able to include the lower part detail with just a reflector placed under the camera to bounce the light in the direction of the model. Or, you can just add another light that is more of a spotlight. Play around with different arrangements to get the best results, and check out some video tutorials for additional help.

I have used incandescent lamps in the past and color corrected with Photoshop.

This was just to show what was possible with the least amount of gear, money, and photographic skill, etc.

People could even use their camera phones if they wanted. (Did I just type that out loud?)

For the average 'ebay' Joe, just getting to step 5 is perfect for everyday practical uses, and keeping it simple was the main goal

Focused, clear, detailed... anyone can do this right in their very own kitchen without all the muss and fuss of extra lights and reflectors!

As far as you not being able to see top of the car and other detail with your monitor settings... this model came without a sunroof. I believe there is a convertible, but I've never been a top down fan!

zayyaf90 (author)2014-02-16

This is exactly what i needed. I even have the exact same Aston Martin vantage diecast! haha thanks! :)

Thank you!

Is it a Minichamps or something else?

Motor Max - Scale 1:24 - Aston Martin V12 Vantage

brandt e (author)2014-02-16

Great idea, but how would i do this with a stove that doesnt have a nice, flat top?

graham641 (author)brandt e2014-02-17

Photograph the car before it rolls off the edge

Give it a try... Unless you're shooting something heavy, it shouldn't really matter, or just add something solid under the bristol board, like a square flat piece of wood, or thick card.
You're in the kitchen, try a cutting board underneath.


kodiwoedee (author)2014-02-16

This is a GREAT instructable! I am SO going to use this idea for my ebay items. Thanks!

Thank you!

Mic100 (author)2014-02-17

Nice Job Thanks :)

Thank you!

prakis (author)2014-02-17

Simple and innovative. Will try it soon.

That's me... Simple!
er... no... wait a second... that... damn!

halciber (author)2014-02-17

Nice, thanks for posting this. I love simple but effective ideas!


Gwiz (author)2014-02-18

I like this simple approach...thnx!

Thank you!

dlindstrom (author)2014-02-18

OMG, Brilliant! I've been looking for a space in my tiny place to photograph small things for eBay and the stove with it's built in lights never not once crossed my mind!

grangerknives (author)2014-02-18

Is Bristol board that thick cardstock that school kids make posters on?

bogie7129 (author)2014-02-16

You can also use an old microwave oven as a make-shift photo "studio,"
the larger the better. If it has yellowed over time, a can of spray paint to brighten it up will solve that problem. It might be feasible to take the top off to open it up to more light. I'd suggest removing the power cord first.

IdahoErnest (author)2014-02-13

You may want to use a LED light bulb to get better color, be able to handle it with your hands right after turning it off.

Good instructable

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