I had several hours of free time during the Christmas holiday and I grabbed my camera and experimented on how to make a small item shot that looks decent, with a small/no budget. This exercise is pretty useful in real life if you are someone who put a lot of stuff on Ebay or online listing (ie. craigslist, etc).
The goal is to be portable, cheap, and quick - but also produces nicely lit object. I want a fairly soft light to create a nice even light. So, I am thinking either bounced light or diffused light. I went with diffused light, since it is easier to control the power that way.
So here are items that I used, which most if not all you can find in your house or buy cheaply:
- Parchment paper or wax paper. This is for the diffuser.
- Open cardboard box for creating a boxed controlled environment, cut out to attach the parchment paper (see setup shot for an example).
- A black or dark surface. Or glass/reflective surface will also work.
- A piece of blank white paper/carton to be a reflector.
I happen to have a black dining table that is a fairly smooth surface - so I used that as my surface. I put my box above the object, with another cut-out hole on the top of the box to let the light go through.
I setup my flash about 2-3 ft above the box facing down into the box. Attach the parchment paper on the cut-out hole to diffuse the light. Place the paper reflector inside the box on the other side of where the flash is.
Setup up the max sync speed on your camera and adjust your aperture to get a complete darkness exposure - this is for making sure that your only source light is your flash, not the dining room lamp, the sun, etc etc. Now turn on your flash and adjust the power of your flash to get a good exposure. Tweak the distance between your flash and the box as necessary, or add another layer of parchment paper if needed.
Here is my setup shot:
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