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Forum topic by TheDane posted 04-19-2015 08:46 PM 1126 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

04-19-2015 08:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip photography

I’m thinking about opening an Etsy store, so I figured I should work on improving my photography.

We have a large unfinished basement, and an old dining room table, so I got busy on Amazon and bought a few things to allow me to set up a tabletop ‘studio’.

I bought an Apollo Studio PH-Studio-T1 Kit ($35.30) that includes
— A Photo Box Tent (19.75” x 19.75” x 19.75)
— 2 – 50 Watt Lamps
— A camera mount (that I am, not using)
— 4 – Color backdrops (White, Black, Blue and Red)

I added a third light (CowboyStudio 50 watt $12.42), and a boom (LimoStudio Photo Reflector Arm Stand $24.90) to suspend a light over the tent.

I already had a tripod, and picked up a Nikon Coolpix L830 for under $200. The camera can do both stills and full HD video, and will come in handy in the shop and for snapshots, etc., replacing my ten year old digital camera.

So, for under $300, I feel like I have really stepped up my game.

Anyone have any thoughts, suggestions, questions?

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

8 replies so far

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2210 days

#1 posted 04-19-2015 09:25 PM

You’ve got yourself a number of variables to fiddle with with the lighting, but don’t forget the camera. Try different focal lengths (zoom) in combination with moving the camera to reframe the subject. That will affect the look and feel of your images as well. With other cameras that have either manual or aperture priority modes (the L830 doesn’t from my quick search) you can adjust your aperture for other effects. One thing that you will not get much of out of a compact camera like this is bokeh. That said, with the light box approach, that’s not what you’d be going for anyways.

If you do close up macro shots, don’t forget zoom. Just as with standard shots, focal length an have a significant effect on the look of the resulting image. In general, play around with the camera and see what it can do and which approach gets you the look and feel you want in the resulting images.

Have fun!

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1714 days

#2 posted 04-19-2015 09:39 PM

Lighting pens and other small items can easily get a bit flat and boring.
Consider not using the tent and use a low angle back light. Then perhaps add a fill or reflector from the front. And just one side light. Soft.

For serious lighting inspiration go read this blog:
But beware: Studio lighting is a large and intriguing subject that can easily get into a hobby of its own..

Let us know how it ends!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3231 days

#3 posted 04-19-2015 09:48 PM

Congrats on the setup.

I recently sold my Canon 1DMKIII to a wildlife photographer friend and bought the 60D that B&H was closing out. I realize it is going to take some practice dropping from 10 fps to 5, but I have retired from sports shooting and just want to be a regular Joe. The other camera was big and bulky and heavy. Now I can take the 60D, shoot a few shots in the shop and go straight to the PC. Lightroom fires up and imports the pics as soon as I stick the card in the reader. Sometimes simple is better.

But the drag races will be in town next weekend and I am sure I will miss the high speed shooting. :-(

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#4 posted 04-19-2015 09:53 PM

altendky—Thanks for the feedback!

I’m still working my way through the L830’s manual and figuring out some of the camera’s functions. It has some focus and aperture controls … I just need to find out what works for me.

I think the manufacturer actually intends the tent and related gear that I bought to be used with cell phone cameras ,which probably explains camera mount that they provide …

... that I doubt would be suitable for a camera like the L830 (or larger). I opted for the tripod so I can take advantage of the zoom.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#5 posted 04-19-2015 10:14 PM

kaerlighedsbamsen—Thanks for the link to the blog!

MT_Stringer—I’m kind of with you … I’m hoping to make this setup simple to use and still produce results that will help sell my stuff. Image quality from the L830 is excellent, and I can just plug the USB cable into my laptop and get on with editing. One downside is that it has no viewfinder … just the rear screen ‘monitor’. Every camera I have ever owned has had a viewfinder with an eyepiece so this takes a little getting used to.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View JAAune's profile


1799 posts in 2317 days

#6 posted 04-20-2015 01:40 AM

Proof is in the pudding. Do you have any product shots to show off?

Normally I prefer to keep light off the backdrop to get shadows and eliminate light bouncing back at the camera.

Get yourself some shiny bounce cards so you can throw strong lights to create highlights as necessary.

-- See my work at and

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3663 days

#7 posted 04-20-2015 02:06 AM

Do you have any product shots to show off?

I haven’t started shooting for the Etsy store yet, but my recent projects (14 in all) were photographed in this setup:
Click for details
Click for details
Click for details

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Dutchy's profile


2941 posts in 2169 days

#8 posted 04-20-2015 06:21 AM

I like the maple bowl picture the most..

Succes with your Etsy store.


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