DIY: A Photo Studio for Professional Product Shoots

Designers Roberto Blake and Jim Krause are on to something. They both passionately pursue photography as a side to their graphic design projects, and they advocate for other designers to pursue it as well. In fact, in Krause’s online course, Creative Exercises for Designers, he instructs students to experiment with photography as a way to re-energize creativity.

Experimenting with photography provides a variety of benefits to graphic designers. Not only does it stimulate creativity and originality, but it also complements graphic design as a career-enhancing tool.

Graphic designers with a trained eye for photography and a handiness with a camera will be able to cross over those skills into their design projects. Instead of hiring an expensive photographer, designers may opt to shoot their own product images for their print or web designs. Plus, there’s a relatively cheap way to build a practical photography studio that can be used time and time again for product shoots.

In this excerpt from the course, Digital Photography I, professor Taz Tally reveals how to build a budget-friendly studio for taking photos of products. He explains everything you need to create the perfect product shot setup.

Making a Photo Studio for Profesional Product Shoots

To really enhance your opportunities for success—and minimize hassles and post-capture retouching—you’ll be well served to set up your own mini photo studio. You can build your own mini studio, buy one, or—as is very common—use a combination of the two.

Your goal with a photo studio is to control your product positioning, background, and lighting. You want to create a simply composed image that focuses a viewer’s attention on the product. So you need simple backgrounds and diffuse lighting of over which you have directional control. Diffuse lighting is the light that is diffused either through fabric or frosted light surfaces. I emphasize diffuse lighting because direct lighting tends to be too harsh and is too likely to create unwanted reflections.

Below is an example of a typical mini photo studio or small lighting booth.


The Photo Studio’s Characteristics:

  • Semi-transparent white fabric walls which serve as very effective light diffusers.
  • Independent lights with frosted lens surfaces to create initial light diffusion. These allow for control of direction and intensity of your lighting.
  • A minimum of two color balanced (typically 6500° Kelvin) lamps for controlling the indirect lighting of your product. A third light can be handy for controlling background lighting, but it’s not absolutely required.
  • Creative product stands. If you look carefully you can see that I have designed a pair of overhead wands (created from Venetian blind controller rods) that I use for suspending products in space. I use these for shooting products like Christmas tree ornaments and stained glass hangings that don’t set up well on a flat surface. Don’t be afraid to be creative to come up with your own solutions for your own specific product shot challenges.
  • Neutral gray fabrics for my backgrounds that work very well with a wide variety of products and colors. I have a couple of different tonal values of gray for when I need lighter or darker backgrounds depending on the lightness or darkness of my products. The neutral fabric also makes a handy target to use for quickly and easily neutralizing images for color correction.
  • A bright blue fabric background that I use as a kind of “green screen” to capture products I intend to isolate later in Photoshop.
  • Camera set up on a tripod. I use a cable shutter release to minimize camera shake, particularly when I’m using longer exposures.

Examples of Product Images from the DIY Photo Studio:

All the product photos below were shot using the simple lighting booth shown and explained above.


Be on your way to better photography by learning how to use your digital camera. You’ll master the camera settings and learn to how to use light to your advantage when you enroll in the online digital photography course.

3 thoughts on “DIY: A Photo Studio for Professional Product Shoots

  1. John Cooper ES

    Core Essence of Clipping Path Services for Product Photography

    To understand the value, role, and importance of clipping path services in business marketing today, it is important to underscore, first, the element of product photography. Indeed, modern marketing campaigns are largely, if not exclusively, defined by the quality of photography employed. This brief post focuses on the essence and role of clipping path service in advanced product photography, from the perspective of an online business.

    Anchoring the Goal of Product Photography

    Clipping path service is only but a strategic option of product photography today, albeit a critical one. Clipping path services only helps consolidate the primary goal of product photography, and in many ways, influences the success of any product photography venture. Let us first imagine that you are presenting your company’s flagship brand to the prospective market.

    Customers usually classify and understand any brand with a mental image, rather by the name. Research has established that most customers identify a product based on a precise mental image of that product, long before they conceptualize the product or company name. Indeed, the mention of product first prompts up an image in the mind of a customer. Product photography requires much more than mere photography, explaining why clipping path services become critically important to modern marketing.

    Whether it is a singular product or several, the prospective customer customer needs to have a comprehensive image of the product first, before you detail the product features, its uniqueness, or value. In other words, creating a distinctive image of the product is the first step in modern marketing strategies. The primary goal of product photography is strategically defining and distinctively refining the mental image evoked in a customer and associating that image with the product.

    Demands of Product Photography

    The primary goal of product photography, therefore affirms the critical need of the state-of-the-art clipping path service. The brand needs to be presented in all its array of products, photographed from numerous 3-D angles, integrated into a multiple-angle interface, and crafted to assert a dominant visual impact. From lighting to background, from camera angle to the tone and aura of the image, and from symmetric feature enrichment to iconic resolution, product photography accumulates a million plus requirements.

    Product photography is more than taking a digital image of a product. The selling process is always as successful as the product image used to compliment the sale. This explains why, no camera, regardless of the skill and competence of the photographer, can attain even a fraction of what product photography demands today.