Studio Quality Product Photography With a $12 Set Up: Guest Post from Via U Photography Blog

photography lighting tutorial

I took this picture of a bottle of Anderson Liquid Soap bottle in my kitchen. It looks like the photograph was taken in a photography studio, using complicated lighting equipment. I was not. Here is a step by step guide showing how you can to do it too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

photography tutorial needs

1. A cardboard box you can use to cut a piece from.
2. A roll of aluminum foil, it’s easier with a wider one.
3. A piece of tracing paper of at least 20” of width and 3 feet in length. You can also use any white, no color, translucent material that you have around your home.
4. One 6” spring clamp.

photography tutorial

This is one of those times when bigger is indeed better. Cut a flat panel from the box that is much bigger than the thing you want to photograph. Make it as big as you can but not so much that it becomes unhandy to move around.

photography tutorial

1. Cut a piece of foil a bit larger than the cardboard. You can use several pieces of foil to cover the board if you need to.
2. The duller side of the aluminum foil will give a softer light than the shinny side – the shiny side will reflect much more light . I used the dull side for this picture.
3. Fold around the cardboard and tape it.
4. Congratulations! You just made a reflective card.

photography tutorial

Now you will need to redecorate your home a bit, move a table as close to a window as you can.

photography tutorial

Is your furniture high enough? Make sure that the top of the table is higher than the window sill.

photography tutorial

Don’t let the neighbors watch. Tape the piece of tracing paper to the window. Use a single piece to avoid seeing seams and put the paper so it goes down the window well below the top of the table.

photography tutorial

Put a long piece of aluminum foil on the table, I used the dull side up for this picture. Place your product close to the window.

photography tutorial

Fold down the foil to have a clean edge.

photography tutorial

Use the card so the light coming in from the window bounces back to reach the bottle.

photography tutorial

Play with the angle of the card to find the position that puts the most light on your product.

photography tutorial

Once you find an angle you like move the card as close as you can to the product – without showing it in the picture.

photography tutorial

Now you are ready to take a picture! Take many. Try taking a few too light pictures and some too dark too. Try different camera angles as well. You can choose later the one you like best.

Via U! Photography Blog is  an online studio dedicated to creating photography that helps people selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

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  • Julie Kesti

    this is great! i’m totally going to give this a try!  thank you for such a clever and simple set-up with great diagrams. :)

  • Barb Bronstein

    I am going to try this  Do you think it will work with cards?

  • Hvpeck

    wow! ditto what TaniaMarie said

  • Sjskukana

    Thank you! I’m going to try later today – I have everything I need.

  • Julia A.


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  • mindyb

    the photos aren’t showing up!!!

  • @ginabegin

    The photos are all missing :(

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  • Ember Darling

    I know I’m realy late and I’m not sure you’ll even get this…but I found this post via pinterest and all the pictures are now gone! Is there any way you could re up load them? Thanks!

  • Jorge Aaolus

    Pictures are lost…!

  • LBD

    Thanks! You helped Up my game!

  • Melissa French

    I linked to this in my Use What You Have Lightbox for Blog Photography article

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