Introduction: Make the ULTIMATE Photo Studio Background Setup for Under $75 and 30 Minutes!

About: I'm the Founder and Chairman of TechShop.

Hello!  My name is Jim, and I'm the founder of TechShop.  This Instructable was created at TechShop, and will be deployed to all TechShop locations for our members to use.

I am about to show you how in THREE easy steps you can have the world's ULTIMATE photo studio backdrop and lighting setup for about $75 USD and a half hour of your time.

This setup will allow you to create totally professional photos with completely flexible lighting of your products for Instructables, eBay, Etsy, Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and any other venue you need to use.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Step 1: What You'll Need

Here is what you will need for this Instructable.

I will tell you that you will benefit greatly from having an Ikea store near you.  I would hazard to say that it would be worth your while to drive some distance to an Ikea to acquire these items in order to build your Ultimate Photo Studio setup.

Go to Ikea and purchase the following items:

  o  (1) TUPPLUR Roller blind shade, 32" x 77", black ($17.99) #902.284.66
  o  (1) TUPPLUR Roller blind shade, 32" x 77", gray ($17.99) #302.284.69
  o  (1) TUPPLUR Roller blind shade, 32" x 77", white ($17.99) #702.284.72
  o  (2) TERTIAL Work lamp, silver color ($8.99) #203.703.83 (includes the bulbs!)

Total cost at Ikea (not including sales tax) is less than $75.00.

You will also need the following:

  o  A wall to which you can mount the shades (can be your dining room wall)
  o  A table in front of the wall that you will place your objects upon to be photographed (can be your dinner table)
  o  Drywall screws, 1" (18)
  o  A Phillips screwdriver for the drywall screws above
  o  A measuring tape or ruler good to 32"
  o  A level (totally optional!)

Step 2: 1.) Mount the Shade Brackets to the Wall

In my installation, I mounted all three shades on the wall about 4" above one another.  The black shade is on the top, the gray in the middle, and the white on the bottom.  It doesn't matter which order you choose.

These shades are spring-loaded, so when you pull down to extend the shade, it will stay where you put it.  If you want to roll it back up, you just tug down a little bit and it will release and roll back up.

Position the lowest shade where you want it to be, and mark on the wall about where the bracket will need to go.  The mounting brackets should be 31-3/4" apart left-to-right according to my measurements.

I mounted the other shades 4" above the previous one.

Mark all the mounting points with a pencil.After you mark where the brackets should be, screw each of them to the wall with drywall screws.

In my installation, I put two drywall screws in each bracket, but then I also put a drywall screw into the center hole in the bracket so there are 3 screws in each bracket.

Step 3: 2.) Install the Shades

Now snap the shades into the brackets.  You need to wind them up, so please follow the instructions that came with the shades.

You can put them in any order that makes sense to you.  I put black on the top, then gray, then white.

Step 4: 3.) Install the Lamps

Just clamp the lamps onto the table, and plug them in.

It is really nice to be able to position the lamps exactly where you want, and see the result in the camera's viewfinder in real-time.

If you wanted to, you could put gels or colored light bulbs in each of the lamps to create a cool/warm effect.

Step 5: Now You're Ready to Photograph Your Objects!

Now you can select the backdrop color (white, gray or black) that you think will work the best for your subject, and position the lights, and take your photo.

In our tests, we were able to create stunning professional-looking photos with a minimum of effort.  It was really easy to get what we wanted.  Note that the photos here were all taken with my iPhone 4s, but the actual photos we took were taken with a Nikon DSLR at high-resolution.

Now off you go to Ikea!

I hope this Instructable was useful to you!