Monday, August 1, 2011

DIY At Home Photo Shoot Set Up

Summer has officially taken my motivation, or maybe it went with the coffee addiction?  Never before have I accomplished so little in such a long amount of time.  All weekend I seemed to find other things to do beside stay inside and craft.  Finally, in the last few hours of Sunday afternoon I decided to sit down and try my hand at a few new bracelets, but I didn't even finish one.  I think the swim I took with my family was a better accomplishment in the end though.  I did manage to set up a nifty little indoor photo shoot area though using nothing but some tape and a roll of poster paper. 

I've always loved the look of a clean white background used in product and close up tutorial shots.  I started looking into at home tabletop light boxes but dang, they're not cheap.  I found one online for $199 but it had sketchy reviews.  There are plenty of DIY light box tutorials out there but most of them are way over-complicated.  This tutorial that Melissa sent me from Nicole over at Making It Lovely is about the easiest and best one I've seen. 

In true Tim Gunn "make it work" fashion, I gathered what I already had at home and came up with this little set up.  Since I didn't have poster board, I went ahead and used the roll of poster paper.  We have very limited wall space in our house that has good natural light, which is why I had to use the kid's table and chair.  I set the area up next to our sliding glass door, the best source of natural light in the house.  I then just rolled out the paper making sure to leave a curved section in the back, which is what helps to give the product photos that never ending infinity background that I love so much, and then just taped the paper to the wall.  And voila, an easy at home photo shoot area to help with product shots.
Obviously this set up works best in daylight, but I might go out and buy just a couple of those cheap table top lamps to help take product shots at night.  We'll see, if my ambition, or lack there of, continues I doubt it :)

Here are a few shots using the white background versus my usual background.  With my usual workspace, I have a large bay window behind me so I have several factors to contend with while shooting; background color, surface color and harsh lighting from the background window.  It can be distracting when you're just trying to focus on the one item or the tutorial instructions.  But with the white background all you focus on is the piece you're shooting.
 The only problem with this super ultra-white background is that the photos sometimes tend to look a little cold and I usually like a warm looking photo.  Nothing a little soft light layer in Photoshop can't help with though.  Here are a couple of before and afters:
I like the set up overall and I think I'll keep using it.  But what do you think, are plain white backgrounds super boring, are do you like them?  Would you rather focus on the singular item being shot, or is it fun to see a background and get a sense of other surroundings?


  1. My goal for this year was to learn to edit my photos. So far not much is happening in that department. You photos always look amazing!

  2. Ha, thats so funny you should bring this up. I've been trying to get this started for weeks now. My photos need some work and I have stoppd taking them in the kitchen and moved to more natural light and it's better but not good enough. One of my followers sent me a great link on making your own light box (Amazon IS expensive),I'll send you the link through FB, I'm going to try to get it started this week. My goal is to get something published on Tastespotting or Foodgawker but they keep declining my submissions, and rightfully so. If you look at what they publish mine are no where near that level yet, but dangit I will get one on there!!

  3. remember....
    something "accomplishing nothing" is the most productive.
    enjoy your summer-lovin' the pics!

  4. perfect for what you are shooting!


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