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Behind the Scenes: Mini Studio Setup

Happy Thursday friends! Yesterday I was shooting pictures for my February Whisker Graphics DIY (which I will share soon). It was cloudy and rainy all day and trying to find good natural light to shoot in was a challenge. I had to create a make-shift studio on the fly to capture my images. I decided to snap a few images of my setup and then share them here so that you could see how I deal with challenging light situations. As you will see, my setup is very primitive, nothing professional and I use whatever materials I can find on hand. 

I find that natural light is really the key. I always want to shoot in it. Pictures just look better (in my opinion). Like I said, it was very dark yesterday and all the ambient light was streaming in through this large window. I knew I wanted to shoot on this desk because it was near the light. In my experience light-colored surfaces photograph better too so that was another reason for picking the desk. Finally, I propped up two foamcore boards to bounce light from the window back onto the subject, my craft I was styling. Without the foamcore to reflect light, the subject would have a really bright side (the side closest to the window) and a heavily shadowed side. Sometimes you want a moody picture with that harsh contrast between light and dark but that was not my vision for this shot. The foamcore boards bounce the light and eliminate shadow.

The Key to Better Product Shots:

{1} natural light

{2} white foamcore to bounce light & eliminate shadow -

could also use a white sheet or large white posterboard, anything large & white

{3} light-colored surface - helps in bouncing the light

These are the three keys to my product photography and I implement each one in every shoot. I am still learning and with each picture I take I learn a bit more about lighting and styling and photography. I find these work the best for me. They are also cheap options. Foamcore is super inexpensive and you can use the same boards over and over again. Natural light is free! And light colored surfaces aren't too hard to find either. I have a few favorite go-tos in my home.

Do you setup mini studios for your product shots? What are some of your techniques for capturing light and making your subject look great? I would love to hear tricks of the trade that other photographers have picked up. 

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Reader Comments (3)

What a great tip! Being in the Pacific NW, I have a hard time capturing the natural light most of the time! I'm excited to try out a similar setup.

wow... your blog is amazing!!! and i like it very much!! :)

This is very helpful. I unfortunately don't have any windows in which natural light can come through so I usually use a nice camera, a solid wooden piece from a picture frame and some black felt as my background; believe it or not the photos sometimes turn out really nice :)

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

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