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DIY Photo Booth Setup

Potters, artists, and other craftspeople are often looking for the best ways to photograph our work.  It's really not an easy thing to do.  Some pottery is shiny, which creates a glare or reflection that can be distracting.  It's three dimensional so often one photograph won't be enough to show the entire piece.  Light and shadows are important to any photo composition.  If we are taking pictures for Etsy we might want to have more shadows and background to give the viewer a sense of size and place.  When we are taking pictures to send to galleries we want them on a more neutral background so as not to distract from the piece.  The list of concerns goes on and on.

My studio is small so space is at a premium.  Of course I've been to a lot of other potter's studios and no matter the square footage it seems space is always at a premium.  Lucky is the artist who can leave a photo booth set up so they can always just run over and take a few pictures whenever they need one.

I did try making a lightbox cube setup once, it didn't work out really well because the box was too small for my pots.  It was a fairly large box but if I put a casserole or a pitcher in it I couldn't get the distance correct to look good and not show some of the box.  Plus it was hard to safely store a cardboard box with paper sides.  The other problem I had was that the background was all white, it made it look like the pot was just floating in space, it wasn't the look I was trying to get.

So I got some paper with a graduated background from B & H Foto and Electronics and a couple of binder clips.  I installed a couple of screws in the wall so I could hang the clips onto the screws.  Use a level when laying out where these screws should go otherwise your background may be tilty.  The paper makes a really nice background but it scratches easily.  I'm careful with it but I still know it will need to be replaced one day.

Background paper attachment by Future Relics Pottery
Clip Holding Background Paper

I use a desk lamp with a natural light bulb for overhead lighting and a pair of halogen lamps on the sides.  I don't love the lamps I use on the sides.  They have vents for cooling the bulb but that sometimes causes unwanted light patterns on the background.  It makes for a lot of adjusting.  I can fix this by making some diffusers.  One day I'll treat myself to a better setup like Emily Murphy has.
Light Box Setup by Lori Buff
Photo Booth Set Up

After the photos are shot then they need to be adjusted in photoshop but that's a blog for another day.  Let me know if you'd be interested in reading about it.

Time to read some other blogs, check out my blogroll and Mudcolony.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. Nice!
    I made a light tent out of pvc pipe and a white shower curtain that works pretty well.

    1. Hi Brian,

      I had actually considered making one with pvc but thought it would have some of the same issues as the box. I'd love to see a picture of yours.

    2. It's over on my G+ page here:

      It's plenty large, breaks down when I don't need it. It still needs a couple tweaks, but overall it works great.
      I need to get off my butt and do a proper blog post about it.

    3. That looks good. I like that it breaks down too.

  2. oh how VERY useful! looks better than my box and paper setup, actually...

    1. Thanks Gary, and it rolls back up and goes in the tube to save space.

  3. Perfect timing with the post Lori - I'm needing to do some photography this week.
    Thanks for the tips :)


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