Friday, August 6, 2010

How to make your own cheap studio setup


This blog entry is the first in a series of small How To's about photography. When I first conceptualized this blog, it was meant to feature more How To's, but I've somehow forgotten that. Well, I remembered!

First, a fairly simple How To which is pretty useful if you shoot a lot of products or things. After years of watching how the pros shoot products (and models!) in my former job, I picked up a few tricks. So when I bought a real camera, I tried to replicate their setups on the cheap. And here's what you'll need:

Diffuser tent thingamajiggy

The idea behind this tent contraption is really simple: things look better in soft light. You don't get harsh highlights or reflections. We're all familiar with the concept of soft/diffused light actually. Put your girlfriend beside a window with glass curtains and she'll look amazing. Put her under a spotlight and you'll see every pimple. You get the idea.

I got the thingamabob from Digital Walker, but any white thing to get in between your subject and your light source will do the trick, such as a car shade. I know a few photographers who use a collapsible clothes hamper.

This thingy also has a piece that allows you to curve the background so you won't have a corner behind your subject. A white cartolina will work just as well.


The pros use at least two lights. Your flash counts as one, but it works better if you get two lights from either side of your subject or one off-center.

In the absence of real lights or extra flash units, a lamp or two will work just as well. Just experiment with how to place the lights. There's no wrong way of doing it, and you can create some interesting effects.


To make sure you get blur-free pictures, use a tripod. I got a cheap little tripod worth P600. It makes sense to me because my camera is small and light, so I don't really need a heavy duty tripod. If you don't have a tripod, you can rest your camera on a table or a pile of books.

So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Start shooting!


Jelly Bean said...

hi vince,

this is a nice post and i can't help but smile when i saw the word "thingamajiggy". My guy always use this word whenever his unsure of what to call things and i always wonder how it spelled. He's a bad speller so i never ask.

btw, where did you get the diffuser tent thingamajiggy and how much?

The Third World Nerd said...

I got it from Digital Walker in Greenbelt. It was like a thousand bucks, not that cheap actually. The tripod was cheaper! Six hundred bucks for the tripod haha.

spork said...

your blog's back up. it's about time. :)

can you share some sample photos you took with this setup? have you tried this with a regular incandescent light setup?