Building Your Own DIY eCommerce Photography Studio For Cheap: Part 2

One of the most important things for any ecommerce is the availability of a photo studio. It’s key to proper photography, which in turn defines your business’ presence online and leads to greater sales. Unfortunately, most people believe it takes lots of money to build a photo studio that’s worthwhile.

To buck that trend, we explored what’s needed to construct a low-cost, effective photo studio in part one of this series. We covered everything from the type of camera you need to the best environment for a no-frills studio.

Now, we’re moving on to part two of this series: putting it all together. By the end of this article, your studio will be more than ready to go!

Setting up your table & window

With this DIY studio, the window is your best friend. It eliminates the need for expensive lighting by providing natural light from the outdoors. To use it in the best way possible, set up your folding table near a window so as to have even, natural light on whatever product you’re photographing.

Keep in mind: direct sunlight is the enemy here, making your product too bright and generally throwing everything off. Avoid taking photos during times when the sun is at its strongest.

In addition, ensure you have enough room to actually move around. Without it, you’ll find it much more difficult to be as versatile as you want to be with your photos.  

Seamless White Paper & Tape

After setting up your table, you’ll need to construct a blank background on which your products can stand out in all their beauty. This is where the white paper and tape/clamps you purchased come into play.

First, unroll the paper and tape/clamp it to something that can hold it. This can be the wall, the ceiling, or even a piece of furniture in the room near the window. Set it all up in a way that allows the paper to smoothly drape over the table.

Then, tape the sides of the paper to the table. This will prevent everything from moving when you don’t want it to, keeping you focused on producing the best possible results!

All about the goods

With the background now set up and ready to go, we can now move on to the goodies themselves. Before we get too excited, though, there’s one pretty important box to check off first: cleaning.

While it may sound pretty obvious, many actually forget this step. Not only will doing so make your products pristine, it’ll save you headaches once post-production work comes around.

Tip: With jewelry, be sure to clean and shine all its chains and gems. With footwear, be sure to address any dust, dirt, scuffs, and other unsightly marks.

In general, employ common sense to rid your products of the majority of their blemishes. You don’t need to aim for perfection, though: post-production will take care of everything you can’t get rid of. (Use these photography tips for apparel and footwear to guarantee the best possible shots!)

The magic of fill light

One of the issues that comes up depending on the light entering the room and the color of the product are dark shadows on one its sides. This will require you to add fill light for even lighting on both sides of the product.

To achieve fill light, cut a piece of foam core equal to or larger than the product you’re photographing. Then, prop it up so that it stands upright and straight, opposite of the window. (You can do this any way you’d like, but most people use tape.)

When done properly, the light coming through the window will bounce off the board and onto the darker side of the product farthest from the window. The result? Greater texture and detail, increasing the quality of your photos substantially!

Let’s talk about the camera and tripod

Proper positioning is the last bit of this dance. Do it right the first time, and you’ll have a much easier time taking photos during a session.

First, adjust your tripod until its top is exactly flush with the surface of the folding table. Make sure the tripod is level to make it easier to adjust your camera when it is connected.

Once your camera is securely attached, experiment with the position of the tripod by looking through the viewfinder on your camera while pointed at your product. Fill your product in the frame of your camera, but make sure to leave extra space around the subject. (You may need to raise the neck of the tripod to do so.)

If you’re too close or too far, try using the zoom feature on your camera or manually moving it if you’re using a prime lens.  The benefit to using the former is the versatility to position yourself however you want. The benefit to using a prime lens is the ability to get closer to a subject with a lower aperture. (We’ll get more into detail in the next post!)

Next Up: Optimizing images and post-production goodness

With part two of this series done, you’re well-equipped to head out and transform your business’ ecommerce photography.
In the final article in this series, we’ll help you get the most of out of your camera for the very best quality shots! You know, the type we at BBG love to work on!

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