Building Your Own DIY eCommerce Photography Studio For Cheap: Part 1
Achieving that highly sought after, prized photo studio look is the goal for pretty much any ecommerce. As you’re well aware, great product photography equals more sales, so constructing a studio is one of the most important things any ecommerce can do — especially if they’re starting out!
Where most make a mistake, though, is thinking that getting a polished studio look for their products is a complex endeavor that requires spending lots and lots of money.
That’s just flat out WRONG.
We at BBG know how surprisingly cheap building your own DIY photography studio can be. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to grab to get started. Then, we’ll follow this article up with how to put it all together. And lastly, we’ll end this series with tips on how to best take advantage of your brand-spanking new studio.
Without further adieu, let’s go!
What to buy
While the photography industry would love for you to think you need to buy the highest-end equipment to achieve the professional results you want, the truth is much simpler:
It’s possible to spend a fraction of the cost and yield similar results.
Like every hobby or profession, there’s an expensive to go about things and there’s the bootstrapped way. And while we at BBG absolutely understand the benefits professional equipment offer, going the DIY route will cost way less money and will only require a bit of ingenuity to make it all work.
But first, you’ll need a few things:
With the quality of point-and-shoots and smartphones these days, you can most likely get by with a camera you may already own.
That said, review whatever you already have lying around and determine if it produces the kind of quality you’d be satisfied with seeing on your ecommerce site.
If you decide to purchase something a little snazzier, go for an entry-level DSLR with manual exposure and aperture settings. While The WireCutter recommends the Nikon D3400 ($497) as the single best entry-level DSLR on the market right due to its higher capacity for professional work, something like a Canon Powershot SX530 (~$200-279) would work just as well if you’re just starting out — especially this high-value bundle that’s available!
No matter which camera you go with, you’ll need more storage for all the beautiful photos you’ll be taking. For more bang for your buck, the $40 64GB Samsung Pro Plus is your best bet.
For product photography, it’s absolutely imperative you get a tripod to reduce unseemly blurring. And while you can easily grab a very budget-friendly tripod for less than $20, try the $87 Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod if you’re looking for a better mix of quality and price that lasts much longer.
A roll of white paper is necessary for a seamless background for your products, creating a sweep to reduce the amount of post-production work while giving the light you cast onto your products a better surface to bounce off. Something like Adorama’s Seamless Background Paper ($22) will do that trick!
You’ll need a table to allow the white paper to fall over and display your product. Here, a folding table is your best bet for something lightweight and portable. Check places like your local hardware store or sites like eBay or Craigslist for cheap folding tables that will do that job. Or, you can spring for the $42 Cosco 42” Black Resin Top Folding Table instead!
Using duct tape and/or clamps will be essential in securing what would otherwise be wayward white paper. The former is super easy to use, while clamps require no cleanup. Either works! Try your local hardware store for these two products or quickly search Amazon for a variety of choice!
A Large Window
No, we don’t mean buying a large window, but rather using the largest window in your home as a source of natural lighting. While it will need to be larger than the products you’re shooting, setting everything up in a workspace near the window it will eliminate the need of buying expensive lighting equipment — a pretty sizable investment in and of itself.
Keep in mind that a larger window will mean a more even, softer light, while a smaller window will equal less, more directional light. Make sure you think of this before buying everything above!
Next Up: How to put it all together
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that you know exactly what to grab, the next article will focus on exactly how to put it all together for the best effect!
After we’re done, you’ll have some consistently high-quality photos — the type we at BBG love to work on!