DIY Mini Photo Studio

Our household is spawning blogs like bunnies. Since I need all the help I could get, I thought it would be good to up my photo game. We’ve been using a bay window to take some of our pictures. So I started researching a mini photo studio solution.

The goal was to combine a light tent and an infinity wall all in a desktop model. I started by mocking it up in Sketch-up.

All the wood was cut at i3 Detroit, my local hackerspace and brought home for assembly.

The hardest part was figuring out the curve. Sketch-up was a huge help and with little math I figured out the length while leaving a gap to wiggle it in. I used hardboard as it had the most flex and kept me from having to kerf plywood.

A few coats of flat white paint and some lights from the hardware store and this is starting to look like a little studio.

Cover the walls in ripstop nylon from the fabric store and you are all set.

Check out some more pictures here as well as the sketch-up files (right click save as).

30 Responses so far.

  1. Bethany says:

    looks great – can’t wait to see more pictures using it!

  2. […] totally need to build one of these! Nick Britsky of i3 Detroit designed his mini photo studio in Sketchup and cut the wood at the hackerspace for home assembly. Share this: Pin ItMoreEmailShare […]

  3. I’m going to check out the Sketchup files. I’ve been thinking about building a light tent for my woodworking business.

    Thanks for posting.


  4. […] totally need to build one of these! Nick Britsky of i3 Detroit designed his mini photo studio in Sketchup and cut the wood at the hackerspace for home […]

  5. kwixson says:

    Instead of hardboard or plywood you could have used some white Formica from your local big-box home improvement store. Already white (flat white, actually, which is good), durable, waterproof and bends pretty well. To save space I have the Formica sheet tacked to the wall and when I need to set up for photography I pull the bottom out and clamp it to a bit of plywood on top of a pair of sawhorses. The drawback there is that there isn’t the built-in mount/support for the scrim and lights that your setup has.

    • Nick says:

      Great idea. As long as it has a matte finish, which it looks like yours has, then you should be good. Sounds like your idea saves a lot of space too.

  6. Tim says:

    This is awesome. Is the back curve just a quarter circle, or is that some sort of parabolic thing going on?

  7. Kim says:

    Ohh that’s fantastic! Reminds me of a skateboard ramp. I should have built myself one of these when I was taking pictures of all the drinks for my iphone app. Would have saved a ton of photoshop work. Do you have any tips for reducing pesky reflections off cocktail glasses?

  8. Eduardo says:

    Can you please tell the dimensions of your mini-studio?


    • Nick says:

      The exact dimensions are in the Sketchup file. I think it was 60″ x 40″ x 40″. The height is based on the ceiling in my basement and you could scale it up or down. I would highly recommend learning Sketchup it’s free and there are many videos on it. I was using it after about 30 min of videos.

  9. Saptarshi says:

    Do you suppose this would be ideal for food photography? Or would it require more suffused light?

    • Nick says:

      It’s really good for anything. It is a DIY version especially for the lighting so if you up the game on that a bit, it would be better. I’m using it for cocktails (similar to food), my fiance is using it for craft projects and my father is using it for HO trains.

  10. […] DIY Mini Photo Studio | Nick Drinks […]

  11. Kevin says:

    Just wondering , is it possible , (for the really lazy people like me) to get sketch up to print out all the pieces you need annd then just take that list to the hardwood store ? or can I get a ” parts list” some other way ? Basicly I need to just get all the wood cut to the right sizes and so forth

  12. […] DIY Mini Photo Studio | Nick Drinks via How-To Geek […]

  13. Very nice, but seems little over done. How about just getting a light tent?

    They have up to 70 x 70 x 70 for less than $100.

  14. Francis says:

    If you’ve gone this far, you might as well go the next step and get yourself some real lights. A couple of used manual speedlights and a sync cord would do you good.

    • Nick says:

      Totally. That is the next step. I’m also using a really basic camera so that purchase will come too.

      • peter says:

        Speedlites(lights) are nice, but I think you could do just fine with the nylon diffusers and cheap work lights you’ve got (certainly makes all your lights one color temp, which is good).

        Looking at the images I think the next big improvement would be a better lens. A “nifty-fifty”, 50mm f/1.8, lens on just about any used entry-level dSLR would cost only a few hundred bucks and enable you to really adjust the depth of field and get very sharp images for web use.

        To answer the question on why not just buy one of the ready-made “light tents” (other than the DIY!), those things are a bitch to clean and you better not spill liquids on them. Your mini-cyc wall will be much more durable.

        Cool project.

  15. […] DIY Mini Photo Studio [Nick Drinks via Lifehacker] […]

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