Introduction: 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

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

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

IT IS NOW VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU MAKE SURE THAT THE STOVE IS OFF, IT IS COLD, AND NO ONE NEEDS TO USE IT!

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

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:

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

CLICK!

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

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

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

Step 8: 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!

Comments

author
Pretty Idiot Productions made it! (author)2014-03-20

Seriously...
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!

author
slueless made it! (author)2014-03-21

Oh I see thank you

author
tesserae made it! (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.

author

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)

author
slueless made it! (author)2014-03-20

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

author

???
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.

author
slueless made it! (author)slueless2014-03-20

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.

author

Oh...
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!
;)

author
slueless made it! (author)2014-03-20

love it thanks so much for sharing

author

Thank you!

author
quicksilver81 made it! (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.

author
Offishall made it! (author)2014-02-22

The stove is all i need. Thx heaps!

author

You're welcome heaps!

author
peskypesky made it! (author)2014-02-25

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

author

Thank you!

author
Hellwolve made it! (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 :)

author

Good luck!

author
Hellwolve made it! (author)Hellwolve2014-02-19

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

new_photo_setup.jpgchaos_titan_moderati1_1_1.jpgchaos_titan_moderati1_1_2.jpgchaos_titan_moderati1_1_3.jpgchaos_titan_moderati1_1_4.jpg
author

Mmmmm... Pizza!
:)

author
Hellwolve made it! (author)Hellwolve2014-02-20

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

author
tubaska made it! (author)2014-02-16

GOOD JOB!

author

THANK YOU!

author
chuckyd made it! (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.

author

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!

author
zayyaf90 made it! (author)2014-02-16

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

author

Thank you!

author
mcmonte made it! (author)mcmonte2014-02-16

Is it a Minichamps or something else?

author

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

author
brandt e made it! (author)2014-02-16

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

author
graham641 made it! (author)graham6412014-02-17

Photograph the car before it rolls off the edge

author

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.

author
brandt e made it! (author)brandt e2014-02-16

Thanks!

author
kodiwoedee made it! (author)2014-02-16

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

author

Thank you!

author
Mic100 made it! (author)2014-02-17

Nice Job Thanks :)

author

Thank you!

author
prakis made it! (author)2014-02-17

Simple and innovative. Will try it soon.

author

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

author
halciber made it! (author)2014-02-17

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

author
Gwiz made it! (author)2014-02-18

I like this simple approach...thnx!

author

Thank you!

author
dlindstrom made it! (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!

author
grangerknives made it! (author)2014-02-18

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

author
bogie7129 made it! (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.

author
IdahoErnest made it! (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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