Better eBay Photos with a Portable Photo Studio

Today I built a Make Magazine inspired portable photo booth. I remember seeing a technique that lifted a sheet of glass or translucent plastic off the work surface and placed lighting beneath (Shadowless Closeups, Make #16). While browsing Home Depot this morning I found a great little item –  Painters Pyramid made by Hyde Tools.

Idea for a portable photo booth.

Idea for a portable photo booth.

These are little pyramid shaped plastic devices designed to hold freshly painted pieces up so you can paint all sides without waiting for one surface to dry. When I saw these I thought of the Make article and bought some to build a portable photo studio. I bought a  1/8″ thick sheet of 4′ x 8′ white panel board, a roll of Gorilla Tape and the Painter’s Pyramids.

The Workspaces.

The Workspaces.

Building the portable studio.

With some unfinished projects in the garage today, working off the pickup tailgate in the driveway will have to do. The location I’ll be using to take pictures is on top of a freezer. I’ve measured the freezer’s area and decided on 32″ x 48″ for my studio surface.

Getting Tools Ready.

Getting Tools Ready.

I need two pieces of the board cut at 32″ x 48″ each, so I’ll use the board’s width of 48″ but will cut a 32″ portion off of each end keeping the board’s nice manufactured edges. The two boards will fold together when finished so I want good straight cuts at 90 degree angles. I’m using a solid straight edge clamped to the board and adjusting for the width of my circular saw’s fence. I’m using a square to help get the nice right angle cutting positions. After getting the saw blade adjusted to a good depth I’m ready to make my cuts.

Assembling the Parts.

Assembling the Parts.

With the pieces cut I turn the white sides both facing inside. I square up the edges of the top and bottom sheets. With the cut edges aligned, I lay a strip of Gorilla Tape down to make a hinge. I’ve used Gorilla Tape on other projects and find it a great durable product.

Test Lighting

Test Lighting.

Test Lighting.

I already had two small fluorescent DC powered light fixtures to test the back lighting. One had a a blacklight bulb and the other white.

Test Photos.

Test Photos.

Test photos of the Painter’s Pyramid tools using various lighting techniques. I’ll be making a few additions to make the folding studio structure self supporting.

This is highly portable and easily adapted for photo shoots by using some fabric draping.

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