a small home studio

zoranzoran Posts: 34Member
edited May 2015 in General Discussions
What kind of equipment (lenses, lighting, soft box etc.) will i need, to make a small home studio for taking shots of small objects (wine bottles, jewelry, fruits etc.).


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    For what end? If it is to list items on ebay or light them in that (even) way, an infinity table or pop-up tent lit by a couple of speed lights will do it. If it is to photograph people as well (at some stage), then you can get cheap studio lighting sets for just a few hundred bucks. Depending on whether crop or FF body, a 40mm or 60mm macro lens will give decent results.

    For table-top photography, a selection of backgrounds on a small cheap background support and poles kit can be found on ebay too.
    Always learning.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Budget? There are a zillion options
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    edited May 2015
    Absolutely, the budget will determine everything. I can spend as much as one wants, but for low budget, one can make almost everything needed, even using such things as LED flood lights rather than fancy "photo" equipment. Painted white cardboard can be as effective as a reflector as fancy white boards.

    Even camera mounts can be fabricated from hardware easily available almost anywhere.

    Camera, lenses, are unlimited, but for small objects some folks like a PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D where no distortion is desired.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • zoranzoran Posts: 34Member
    edited May 2015
    Here is a preview of what i want to achive. http://tinypic.com/m/iokun5/3
    For starters i dont want to know brands of stuff to purchase. I want to know what is needed, for example... a diffuser, a soft box, an up to 80mm tele lens etc. In general what i will i need.
    Post edited by zoran on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    edited May 2015
    This is one of the most difficult aspects of photography. To do a good job you will need to do a composite, which means multiple shots taken on a tripod. How are your photoshop skills
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2015

    A Shooting Table
    lighting tent or cube
    Translucent Film
    Big soft box
    Two medium softboxes
    A good quality solid tripod
    Selection of stands, clamps, booms, batons and arms
    Appel boxes, bits of wood and various spacers
    Cable ties
    Black foamex ( use this to create a black edge or rim on the bottles then remove in post )
    White foamex
    Various diffusers
    wire, string, pins, plasticien, blue tack, thread
    drafting tape double sided tape, gaffer tape
    plate glass shelves

    All Available for a song secondhand on ebay

    AF-S VR 105 f/2.8G IF-ED if shooting FX

    Camera tethered to computer so the results can be viewed straight off
    with LR and or Photoshop

    Flash or continuous light ? Continuous will allow you to see what you are doing

    A few years training is useful

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    Yes, still life and product shots are the most difficult aspects of photography from a lighting perspective. Zoran, when I saw your link I thought of the image at the top of the page in this post:


    This is a website that my instructor in my Advanced Lighting class is putting together.

    He walked us through how he created the Bufallo Trace image. Basically three tries at a seven hour shoot (one was because someone moved the bottle and was a write off) and about 10 hours in photoshop. About 30 hours total. By the end of the class, I will have the skillset for the lighting (barely), for which there was about 10 shots. I will want to take Still Life photography before I think that I would have it nailed. Whups, I did not mention that it will take a year to really learn the skills taught in the class as I will need to practice implementing them. However, I will not have the skillset for the Photoshop work. There are three levels of photoshop at the college each with 36 hours of in class instruction. I just started the first level and the compositing skills that I will need are taught in the second level.

    I say this not to discourage you, but to convey a realistic appreciation of the skillset required for really good product and still life photography. I would still encourage you to try it. I do, but none of the results are worthy of sharing. Give me a couple of years for that.

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2015
    and about 10 hours in photoshop.
    spare of though for us who learnt product photography in the days of film
    anyone remember using blooping ink :)
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    Yes, I have a new found respect for some of the great still life shots that I see.
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    Here's a bottle product shot using 3 strip boxes through diffusers with a reflector behind the bottle. This is the only BTS photos I can find right now. I have another shoot with a clear bottle with product. Lit the same way but with an additional light under glass to illuminate the product. Yes, you can DIY many of the items you'll need/use. It does take some experimenting/adjusting light position, intensity, and placing flags to block stray light. Strip lights are a MUST for bottles so you get that nice linear strip of light along the sides.


  • mustangdarenmustangdaren Posts: 27Member
    For the money those Visico soft boxes are nice. I just bought a few for my studio and they have pretty good build at a fraction of the cost of most.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    Just to prove it isn't down to the gear you buy, natural light through a window can give great lighting. This image got highly commended in a regional competition:

    Goin' shootin'
    Always learning.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,675Member
    That is a great image.

    But I don't think that anybody is saying that great or decent or whatever standard of gear that you want to specify cannot produce great images. We are saying you need access to certain tools to produce certain images.

    The image that Zoran linked to requires a certain access, as the lighting is essentially impossible without compositing. Is it possible to produce great images of bottles in natural light? Sure, but not those ones.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    For sure you are right, but he he also mentions more familiar table-top subjects:
    What kind of equipment (lenses, lighting, soft box etc.) will i need, to make a small home studio for taking shots of small objects (wine bottles, jewelry, fruits etc.).
    For which a reflector and window will give the results in the image above.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited May 2015
    As often happens

    The OP has provided us with very little information
    We do not know what equipment he has, his experience, his budget or the purpose of the photographs; without this information, it is very difficult to give much advice

    If the photos are for ebay then s&p's advice is sound

    If the photographs are of glassware or jewelry, for a commercial web site, in a competitive industry, then natural lighting is unlikely to be the best option; as it is difficult to control and cannot be easily replicated at a future date
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    I think the OP provided a good example of what he wants to do. The bottles in the TinyPic.com ref are definitely backlit or use a reflector behind to illuminate the fluid. You can replicate the lighting with flash using soft boxes and through placement achieve the specular highlights you desire. To illuminate the fluid you must backlight or use DIY reflectors paced behind. I have made them with aluminum foil (cut and shaped slightly smaller than the bottle, then placed directly behind so not seen by the camera) and it works quite well. I've also used a sheet of glass and up-lighted clear bottles with fluid to achieve a similar effect. The real challenge is light placement and diffusion. The photo I provided above doesn't show the final configuration. In the end I had several sheets of regular parchment paper hanging in front of the strip boxes to diffuse the light giving me the specular highlights I wanted. All this can probably be done with hot lights using gels to achieve the correct color balance. There are several great videos on Youtube showing BTS of product photography. Snoots are another modifier that helps and can be DIY from many materials. Imagination is the key to achieving desired results. Yes, you can purchase tons of gear and that will make things a bit easier but with a little time, trial and error the DIY approach can provide similar results.

    Strip boxes are key to achieving the long highlights on bottle edges. You can move them more the front to widen the edge light or slightly behind to narrow the edge light. If you don't have strip boxes you can DIY them using square, rectangular, or octoboxes by flagging the output/front with cardboard.

    Additionally, you really need to understand your camera and how to control light (both ambient and strobe) in manual mode. A solid tripod is a must and once you have the scene composed with camera settings locked, a remote trigger really helps out. Then it's just adjust lights/reflectors and check results.

    I'm not an expert and don't claim to be. I know through my own experiments that professional results are possible with a little imagination. Just set up and start shooting. Tethering helps in that you can see results right away. It really makes for a fun afternoon when you finally get it right and the image pops off the screen.
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    This is the final product shot she chose to make a poster for her salon. Again, I'm not a professional but did achieve what my friend wanted by just spending an afternoon in the basement using some imagination and learning via Youtube videos.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    It is pretty clear to me that the op hasn't a lot of knowledge or experience otherwise he wouldn't have to ask that question which is why- armed with his initial requirements - I posted to show him that decent images are possible using available light.
    Always learning.
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    I agree @spraynpray with your available light comment. Your photo is beautiful and could be a commercial shot as well. It's the link he provided that led me to believe he wanted something more to the typical product set up. Bottles and shiny objects are just a different challenge and difficult to shoot. The web is full of great tutorials on this subject and it's the best place to start the learning curve. Then, it's off to the basement or available window to experiment. :-)
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    edited May 2015
    Below is link to a "how to" that might help to reacreate that photo or similar look. I have almost all of the things needed I just need to stop opening the bottling and drinking it. Maybe next month :)

    Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on
  • autofocusautofocus Posts: 625Member
    Very good article (actually and advertisement for Savage backdrops) on shooting glass/products. For the OP this may help since I'm sure you can replicate this with DIY materials.

Sign In or Register to comment.