How To Build A Paper Photography Backdrop

By | 23/01/2023

In this series of web log posts, I will comprehend 3 DIY product photography specific topics: a simple home photography studio setup that uses a white properties and natural window calorie-free for DIY photography lighting; how to take reward of your camera settings to shoot in “manual” mode; and how to edit your production images to optimize your online shop.


In this first mail service, I will teach y’all how to set up up a photo studio at abode on a bootstrapped budget. You volition be surprised to come across how easily y’all tin can turn your living room (or spare bedroom, garage, etc.) into your ain abode photography studio so that y’all can consistently produce quality white groundwork product images for your online shop. The dwelling house photo studio below toll less than $300 USD to set upward (with camera!), and you will exist pleasantly surprised with the results.

You tin can use this setup to shoot a range of products such as habiliment, footwear, accessories, jewelry, and more!
Allow’south get started.

Part 1: Habitation Photograph Studio Shopping List

Professional photo studio lighting equipment tin can be confusing and expensive. The skillful news is that it’s possible to create the same quality images without the beefy, loftier-tech equipment well-nigh professional photo studios employ.

High-end equipment and gadgets do have their benefits, but they simply are not necessary to create great looking product images.

High-end equipment has its benefits only is not necessary to create great looking product images.

The bare essentials list of at-home photo studio equipment:

1. Camera ($320)

DSLR Canon Camera

Everyone has a photographic camera these days, whether it’due south congenital into your phone, an former point-and-shoot or something more on the professional side. I am here to say that you don’t need the best of the best for great product images.

That being said, if you lot accept room in the budget for a quality car, go for it. Proceed in mind that your camera is but 1 of five factors that will touch on the final outcome of your production images. Your home photography studio setup, lighting, product styling, and using the all-time product image editing service all play an of import office in the creation of quality product images.

Then don’t stress about the camera. I suggest that you first endeavor to use what yous have at home earlier you get on a shopping spree (here’s a guide to smartphone product photography). If you are assail buying new equipment, I suggest that you purchase a photographic camera that at a minimum has manual settings for exposure and aperture.

What to buy? Well there are tons of great cameras on the marketplace, and for the upkeep censor E-tailer, I suggest something along the lines of a Canon PowerShot SX620 HS, which is more than enough photographic camera to get the job done. This camera retails at $230, has manual settings, takes clean and crisp images at 22 Megapixels, and has congenital-in wifi capabilities. Think that you can besides get a great deal on used cameras on eBay or Craigslist to bring the price downwards even farther!

$320 – Canon PowerShot SX620

two. Retentivity Card ($9)

Don’t forget your SD memory card! This is what your camera will use to shop your images on during a photograph shoot. Memory is cheap these days and a modest capacity SD card (+16GB) shouldn’t run more than $10 bucks. For DIY product photography, yous don’t need to worry about speed class. Without going into particular, speed is more relevant with video or burst photography.

$7 – SanDisk 16GB SD Memory Card

3. Tripod ($13)

A tripod is an essential function of your home photography studio because it volition permit you lot to stabilize your camera and work in rooms where the lighting is non optimal (such as your living room!).


In the second part of this post, I will show you how to adjust your camera’s manual settings depending on the light in your studio. Y’all do not demand to spend a lot of money on a tripod, but information technology is absolutely essential that yous purchase i. Below, I have listed a great budget friendly choice:

$13 – Lightweight Camera Mountain Tripod Stand With Handbag – 16.5 – fifty Inches

4. Scroll of Seamless White Paper ($35)

Seamless white paper roll for product photography backdrop

To create a seamless white photo backdrop, I recommend that yous purchase a large ringlet of white paper to place backside your product. You can purchase rolls of white newspaper at most office supply and camera stores.

It is important to get a long roll of white paper, because you need to create a seamless white “sweep” (a curved seamless groundwork behind the product), in guild to reduce the amount of post-product work your images will crave afterward shooting. At that place’s a reason e-commerce photography is synonymous with white groundwork photography.

The width of the curlicue of newspaper should be larger than the production yous are photographing. I recommend a good standard size of 53 inches beyond. You can detect ones that are smaller and wider, but this is a great length for nearly production sizes. It may not work for large products similar furniture and equipment, or shooting on-model apparel; in those cases you volition want something wall length and large.

$35 – Savage Seamless White Backdrop Paper 53” wide x 12 yards

5. Foam Cadre Lath ($23)

Use a piece of white foam lath (“foam cadre”) every bit your reflector. White foam boards are utilized for “bouncing” light from the window of your studio back onto your product. The purpose of using a foam “reflector” is to reduce the shadow on the side of the production opposite to the window. This technique provides “fill lite” and will give your product an even, clean await. Similar the white paper roll, you tin can find cream core board at most part supply and camera stores.

$23 – White Foam Core, Pack of 5 16×20

White foam core board for reflecting fill light

6. Folding Table ($100)

folding table

Y’all will also need a photo table to let your white backdrop “sweep” to fall beyond, so you can position and style your production appropriately. You don’t desire your product as well high or too low, because it won’t exist comfortable or easy for you to take photographs of your product. I propose a foldable bill of fare table for piece of cake clean up. You can use the photo table anywhere, making its portability very convenient as well! Yous tin can find tables similar this under $l at your local hardware store or online.

$100 – Cosco Blackness Square Folding Table 34″x34″

7. Duct Tape or Clamps ($9-$22)

Yous will likewise desire a few rolls of tape or clamps to secure your white paper sweep backdrop to your photograph table then naught moves while you are photographing your production. Duct record is quick, convenient and easy to find, while clamps brand for piece of cake clean up and reusability. You can find both at your local hardware store.

8. Window ($0)

Last on our list (and most important) is having access to a big window that allows for a lot of natural light. Make certain you practise a fiddling firm cleaning and clear some space in the room to piece of work effectually the window. The fundamental is having ample natural light and a workspace that allows you to move around comfortably while taking photographs.

Whatever the size of your product, yous will want the window to be significantly larger. The bigger the window/lite source the more than even and soft low-cal there will be. The smaller the window/calorie-free source the less light and more directional it will be. If you are photographing small-scale earrings, a smaller window will work fine—only in my case I am photographing shoes, so the bigger and wider the better.

In most cases, utilize the largest window in your home. The windows I have used are in my dining room and mensurate l” by 50″. Only remember, when it comes to DIY studio lighting, the bigger the window is the amend.

So that’southward it! Now but caput out to the store, and for under $300 you lot will be converting your spare bedchamber room into a home product photography studio. Just don’t tell your spouse that you learned these tips from us! At present that yous accept all the necessary equipment to photograph your products, follow my next steps and become your dwelling photo studio gear up in 10 minutes or less!

Part 2: How to Set Upwards Your DIY Photo Studio

Diagram positioning camera, backdrop, light, and products in a DIY product photography studio

Step one: Table & Window (ane minute)

Get-go past positioning your foldable tabular array near your window. Our goal is to accept even, natural light on the product. That being said, it’s important to betoken out that we do non desire straight sunlight to hit the set. I volition embrace the optimal time to photograph your products in Part 2 of this post. You should also be sure to permit yourself enough room to motility around the tabular array to style and shoot your production once the backdrop is set up. I’ve learned that being in a small space tin literally cramp your style.

Pace 2: Seamless White Properties Newspaper & Record (3 minutes)

Now unroll your white background newspaper roll and tape it to a wall, ceiling, or something that can concur it upwardly (like a big box or a book stand). I will be using my ceiling, because my window is in the eye of the room and this will let my newspaper sweep to fall nicely onto the photo tabular array. Record the sides of the newspaper to the table equally well, and then your setup doesn’t move while y’all are shooting pictures. Stabilizing the white photo properties also helps me keep things clean and organized which allows me to focus on my camera.

Step three: Product (3 minutes)

Before placing your product on the white background sweep, brand sure to make clean and prep your object before you photo it. This sounds like common sense, simply you would exist surprised how many people forget this critical step! Keep in mind that a little cleaning can save y’all a lot of post-production work. If you are photographing jewelry, make sure to clean and shine all your bondage and gems.

Camera, shoe, duct tape, fill light, seamless backdrop, and natural window light

If you lot are photographing footwear, make sure to castor, shine or make clean off any dust or scuff marks. This tin reduce your post-production time profoundly, but don’t worry if your product isn’t 100% perfect, equally it is possible to fix the remaining defects in Photoshop.

Make sure to clean and prep your object before you photograph it.

Now place your product in the center of your white backdrop and directly in front of where your camera volition exist placed. I am photographing a pair of women’south heeled pumps, and I volition be taking multiple images of this shoe to capture equally many angles as possible for my production listing. When you rotate your production, make sure to go along your tripod, camera, and object in the exact same place for each shot, so that the product is framed the same way for all images. Doing so will make your images more consistent and will reduce the amount of mail service-production time needed to perfect the images.

Step 4: White Foam Board “Fill Light” (2 minutes)

Depending on the window light that enters your room and the colour of your product, yous may need to add extra “make full light” to complete your DIY photography lighting with even lighting on each side of the product. As I explained before, the larger the calorie-free source the more light on your subject.

Black shoe product image with and without fill light

Without Fill Low-cal

With Fill Low-cal

In my instance, I have a slap-up large light source, but I am photographing a black suede pump and generally black products need an extra make full to meet texture and detail (because it’s darker). To practice and then, I cutting a pocket-size slice from my cream cadre board and propped information technology up vertically using a roll of duct record. Yous can get artistic with what you lot use for the prop. The important things are that your foam lath stands straight, is positioned opposite to the window, and is the same size every bit your subject or larger. When set up, the lite coming through the window volition bounciness off the bright white board and “fill” the shadows on the left (darker) side of the shoe. As you can see in my images above, the bounced light fills in the back and side of the shoe nicely allowing for detail to be present.

Step 5: Camera & Tripod (1 infinitesimal)

Extend the legs of your tripod and adjust it until the peak of the tripod is flush with the surface of the tabular array. Make sure your tripod is level because it volition be easier to adjust your photographic camera when information technology is attached. Now, attach the photographic camera to the screws or clip on your tripod.

Demonstration of how to frame a footwear product in camera

Practice: add extra free infinite on pinnacle and lesser

DON’T: too tight effectually product

It’due south good to fill your product in the frame of your camera, merely make sure to go out infinite around it.

One time your photographic camera is secure, outset playing with the position of the tripod by looking through the viewfinder on your camera while directed at your product. Y’all will desire to fill up your product in the frame of your camera, but brand sure to exit extra infinite around your subject so yous have room in the image.

You lot may need to raise the cervix of the tripod like I have, to ensure the all-time possible view of your product from top to bottom. If you feel similar y’all’re too close or too far away, try utilizing the zoom feature on your camera lens. In my case, I have a fixed (or “prime”) lens, which means I cannot zoom in and out with it. I will have to manually move my tripod and camera closer or farther from my subject area.

The benefit to using a prime lens is that you tin get closer with a lower discontinuity and achieve quality images. But since we need a higher discontinuity and won’t exist using lower ones, the benefit to having a zoom on your camera or lens is that you can position yourself shut or far from your product, which allows much more than versatility. This may alter what you set your aperture and shutter speed to, only I volition explain those in the next lesson!

So that’s information technology: one trip to an office supply store, a $300 dollar equipment investment, and 10 minutes worth of home photography studio prep time and you are at present set up to start shooting dandy looking product images! That wasn’t as bad as you thought information technology would exist, right? In the second part of this post I will explicate exactly how to optimize your images by using your photographic camera’due south manual settings. In part three, I’ll testify you how to edit product images, if you lot don’t desire to use an online photo retouching service.


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Originally posted 2022-02-13 04:40:01.