Creating a DIY Photography Studio

Set up lights appropriately to capture high-quality images that requires minimal editing.

Lighting is the most important element of photography—after all, the word "photograph" means "light picture." Anyone can create a photo studio with a clean background and proper lighting. Use this guide to select the right lighting equipment and set it up to start creating outstanding guide images.

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Step 1 Creating a DIY Photography Studio  ¶ 

  • Proper lighting is key in creating high-quality guide photos. The better your lighting is, the less work you have to do in post-processing later on.

  • A standard household lamp on a table provides light, but it is weak and you can't adjust which way it points. You need something a little more specialized.

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Step 2  ¶ 

  • The light fixtures for your photo studio should direct light in a specific direction and be easily adjustable. To provide ample lighting and eliminate shadows, you should use at least two lamps to illuminate your subject.

  • The fixture shown is relatively inexpensive, clamps onto any object, and can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores.

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Step 3  ¶ 

  • Selecting the proper light bulbs is just as important as selecting the correct light fixtures.

  • Aside from the correct output rating, the most important aspect of your light bulbs to consider is the light temperature, usually stated in thousands of Kelvin (K).

  • For guide photos you should use 5000K or 5500K "daylight" bulbs for a bright white light.

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Step 4  ¶ 

  • Before we take a look at what good light is, let's take a gander at not-so-good light.

  • This household lamp has a 2700K "soft white" compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb in it, just like you would use in your home.

  • Though these bulbs create a comfortable atmosphere for watching television or reading a magazine, they cast an orange hue onto whatever their illuminating. This will require added work in the post-processing of photos to remove.

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Step 5  ¶ 

  • Replacing the weak CFL with a 5000K bulb produces a much brighter and whiter light.

  • This light results in a much nicer stock photo and will reduce the amount of work required in the post-processing of photos.

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Step 6  ¶ 

  • You don't have to be picky about what kind of table you use, but you should be mindful of what you place on top of the table to use as a backdrop.

  • A clean white working surface is ideal for taking photos, as colored backgrounds can be distracting. Also be aware that any colored surfaces around your photo studio can reflect their colors onto your subject.

    • The table shown here has a large roll of white construction paper laid on top of it and taped in place. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to work!

  • You may want to cover the surface behind the table, as well as the table itself, since you likely won't be taking every single shot with the camera pointed straight at the table.

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Step 7  ¶ 

  • Once you've got a good working surface and proper lighting you're ready to start taking great guide photos!

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the Photography category page.

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