Cheap and Easy Product Photography

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You can find pictures of pretty much anything online, but you can’t always use those images without running into legal trouble. This is particularly important for me, since I blog about design and images are an essential part of my content. So, to avoid copyright issues, I often have to take photos of the products I discuss myself. Problem is, I’ve never been much of a photographer. Plus, my little Nikon may be a good camera for the price, but it’s far from studio quality.

But if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s pretending to know what I’m doing. So after looking around online for a while I put together a pretty decent, if somewhat haphazard, setup for shooting pictures of products in your own home and on a budget.

Here’s What you’ll need:
  • A large sheet of pure white paper (I used 19.5 by 25.5 in.)
  • Tracing Paper
  • Masking Tape
  • A roll of tinfoil wrap
  • One side of a cardboard box (medium size)
  • Glue or other adhesive (optional)
  • A lamp, preferably adjustable


To start off, take your large sheet of white paper and tape the top end to a surface a couple of feet off the ground, like a tall box or a coffee table. Make sure the paper creates a nicely curved J shape, and leave plenty of room on the white for whatever it is you plan to photograph.


Now take your sheet of cardboard, and cover it with the tinfoil. This will serve as a reflector, to help bounce the light from your lamp and evenly light your product. I went ahead and glued mine in place, but that isn’t required. You could hold this up yourself, but that’s a lot of extra trouble, so you can either glue another sheet of cardboard to the back, or just lean it against something.


Speaking of lamps, the light from a bulb can leave unsightly blotches of light if you’re photographing something plastic or reflective. But all you need to do is cut out a small square of tracing paper, and tape it over the bulb to soften the light.

And that’s about it! As far as camera settings go, it’s largely up to you to play around and find something that works for you. I also usually need to clean my images up in Photoshop at least a little bit, just to bring out all the colors I want. You can modify or add to this setup any way you want, and I hope this was of some help to you!





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