Super Easy and Cheap DIY Product Photography Setup

Jan 13, 2018

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

Super Easy and Cheap DIY Product Photography Setup

Jan 13, 2018

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

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DIY Easy Product Photography

Everyone needs to photograph products once in a while.

Whether it’s for an etsy shop, ecommerce retail, eBay, a Shopify store or just for the occasional Craigslist sale; it’s really handy to be able to do your own high quality product photography.

In this article, I will show you a super easy, low cost, product photography setup that anyone can use to create very high-end looking DIY product photography.

What You Need for DIY Product Photography

  1. A window.
  2. A cloudy day or outdoor shade.
  3. Barn board or other good looking table top surface.
  4. Any camera – mobile phone, mirrorless or DSLR.

DIY Easy Product Photography

For this setup I am using natural window light. While this is by far the easiest solution for lighting the product you want to photography, it does present some challenges.

First, you need diffused light, which means either waiting for an overcast day, or at least waiting until the area of your house outside the window is in the shade. Second, you are dependent on daylight hours.

Once you have a good window, all you need is a suitable table top and a camera.

For my setup, I custom built a bench out of barn board that sits just under the windowsill of a large group of windows.

The top is a vintage 15″ wide barn board that I purchased from a local reclaimed lumber supplier. Normally this bench serves as a place for my cats to sleep and look out the window – but all I have to do to convert it to a quick and simple product photography studio is move the cat beds – and maybe vacuum up the cat hair.

This bench works particularly well because it is low and I can shoot straight down without having to climb up over a full height table. (I did build it specifically for this purpose in mind).

DIY Easy Product Photography

Product Photography Camera Settings

Honestly, for a setup this simple, your camera settings don’t really matter. You can get great results with a mobile phone, mirrorless or DSLR in full automatic.

However, if you really want to know, I use a Sony mirrorless with the kit lens zoomed in as much as possible, auto ISO, auto white-balance, aperture priority at either f/5.6 or f/8 (depending on the light) and exposure compensation set to -0.5 to -1.0 (the highlights tend to be just a bit too hot on the Sony I’m using).

Most photos end up being around f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 400-800.

The real trick is to wait for a day when you have nice even overcast light outdoors – the soft, directional window light and natural textures make pretty much anything look great.

Most of the time I shoot straight down or on a slight angle. If you want to photograph your product face-on, all you have to do is add a white sheer curtain to provide a nice even white background.

DIY Easy Product Photography

Sample Product Photos

Here are a few sample product photos that you can capture with this setup with next to zero effort:

DIY Easy Product Photography

DIY Easy Product Photography

DIY Easy Product Photography

DIY Easy Product Photography

Next Steps

You can get great results right out of camera with this setup, but there are a few things you can do to make your results even better.

First, some light post processing is always good. I use Adobe Lightroom, but even a mobile photo editor like Snapseed can help to add a little pop.

Second, if your window light isn’t quite right you can use pieces of both white and black foam core to act as either a reflector (to add light to dark shadows) or a flag (to make shadows darker and more defined).

What Do You Think?

What do you use product photography for?

What setup do you use?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

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JP Danko

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

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5 responses to “Super Easy and Cheap DIY Product Photography Setup”

  1. Pinto Sony Avatar
    Pinto Sony

    בועז ענתבי

  2. Paul Willy Brown Avatar
    Paul Willy Brown

    Not for me, background is way too distracting

  3. Simon Woodward Avatar
    Simon Woodward

    Love these! I have slate serving tray that is great for doing product images. I have used it as a photo prop a hundred times but only as a serving tray about five times! Most recently I made myself some miniature Harry Potter wand Christmas decorations (while practicing new photo prop making ideas for the new year). I started with just the slate tray and wand, then I added parts until I got to this point. The flour made a world of difference to these shots.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/425231411ba5ccbc1b215be5b3cb668f1303ee6cf589fc872b64a629bb610289.jpg

  4. Jorge Feliciano Avatar
    Jorge Feliciano

    If you have set your camera to full manual why you need to compensate your expossure? Is like to use expossure lock on manual, he, he, he, or you have discover samething new or i dont understand…

  5. Adam Nill Avatar
    Adam Nill

    Thank you so much for this! Keep it up with the patiently explained and don’t get discouraged by no comments on your posts.