Sunday, January 27, 2013

Product Photography - The Set Up, The Cheap & Easy Way, No LightBox

I feel like it's been quite a while since I posted anything here. Quite frankly, I've either been working my butt off, shop like no tomorrow, or been busy with my beauty blog.

Speaking of beauty blog, I figure I might as well share with you my cheap set up for product photography. Any of you bloggers out there might find this post useful, unless you already have a set up that works for you. As you can probably tell already, I'm very limited on space and I have stuff piled on top of each other but I just have to work with what I have. If you have a better and tidier workspace, more power to you.

Initially, I only had one lamp and the thing I didn't like was that if I point it on one side, it creates shadow on the other side. I've found a way to remedy that by using my mirror as reflector so I would bounce the light with it on the other side. However, it's not always practical to do it this way since I only have two hands, lol, and holding the mirror on one hand and taking the picture on the other hand was somewhat doable if I use my third hand, aka my tripod.

Basically, you will need at least two light source and what worked for me is using lamps that have a flexible head and stem so you can manipulate the light at any angle and direction. The black one is from Wal-Mart. I can't remember how much I paid for it but I think it was less than $20.00.

I just bought my second lamp from Target the other day. What's great about it is that it doesn't take a lot of desk space and I can clip it at any corner. It also has a flexible head and stem. This one was $5.00, I think.

Many people use a lightbox to take their product photography. You can either purchase it or DIY. If you have no idea what a lightbox is, I suggest google it or click HERE, and you'll know what I mean. There's a lot of fancy looking lightbox out there but do you really need all that gizmo? I guess it will depend on your preference and your budget.

Anyhow...If you want to go the easy route, like I did, all you need is half a sheet of tracing paper for each lamp and tape it to the head of the lamps as pictured, making sure the tracing paper doesn't touch the light bulb. The tracing paper will diffuse the light so you get a soft and pleasant light source. I've use it plenty of times and trust me, it will not go on fire. I started using the tracing paper about a month ago, I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. I had a piece of left over tracing paper that I found around my desk. I've used the other half for my DIY flash diffuser. So when I found it, I just had this genius idea to cover it on my lamp, lol. Tada! This solves the idea I had about making a DIY lightbox. Who knew it could be this simple?

As far as background, you can just use plain white cardboard paper or whatever you like. Here I have a bamboo mat. It's flexible yet it can stand on its own. 

First picture is how it turned out straight out of my camera.  As you can see, it's a bit cool-toned, dull, and overexposed. Honestly, it is rare that I take a perfect shot. We all know, or should know, that a picture is never perfect until it goes under edit.

Second picture was retouched slightly but it makes a big difference. If you're not completely satisfied with your picture. I highly recommend that do some simple edits. You do not need expensive software. As a matter of fact, I edited this picture in less than 5 minutes on You don't even need to sign up. Just upload and start editing. It's pretty user friendly too. All I did was crop, resize, fix the exposure, give a bit of vibrancy to the color, watermark, and that's it.

So to sum it, all you need is two flexible and cheap lamps, one sheet of tracing paper cut in half, masking tape, and a background of your choice. This cheap set up works great for me.

Do you use a light box? If yes, did you buy it or DYI. If no, do you think you would prefer a set up similar to mine?

Thanks for reading. :)

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  1. What a great post, thank you so much for sharing. I really want to try this out now :-)

    1. You're welcome. You should. It's very simple :)

  2. You can get those clip on light for $1 at your local dollar tree.

  3. Your work strategy really cheap and easy. All the photos looks high quality. most intelligent.

  4. It’s refreshing to read a good quality article for a change. You’ve made many interesting points and I agree. This has made me think and for that I thank you.

  5. I like your post and thanks for sharing. Your working plan to produce nice images is very easy and cheap. Most people would never imagine that you can do good product photography on that kind of budget.

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