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Inexpensive Product Photography | DIY Shooting Table

By Max Bridge on September 24th 2015

 

This video from Photigy shows us a great method for creating an inexpensive but highly effective shooting table for product photography. Alex Koloskov of Photigy, a voice I have become very familiar with as of late (more on that below), shows us that with just a few simple things, we can create the perfect shooting table.

[REWIND: DIY TABLETOP PHOTOGRAPHY WITH A SMARTPHONE | PHOTIGY TUTORIAL REVIEW]

What Do You Need?

A lighting stand with a standard 5/8” mount, an Avenger 301 Baby Wall Plate or the Impact 3.0” Baby Pin Wall Plate (depending on the stand your using) and some double sided tape. As you’ll see from the video, using those three things we can create the perfect shooting table for the majority of products. Alex even has a solution if you need to photograph items that are a little larger.

Here are some links to find the various items you’ll need:

SIDE NOTE – For those of you in the UK, it was difficult to find this item at a reasonable price. I eventually found it here.

tabletop-photography-cheap-table

Why Can’t I Just Use A Normal Table

Great question. In fact, it’s one which I only recently discovered the answer to. When working with products, this type of shooting table has two distinct benefits over using a bog standard table. Firstly, due to its size you’ll be able to get your modifiers in much closer to your subject, which can be really useful when photographing anything small (most products). Secondly, so much of product photography is about controlling reflections. In the last few weeks, I have come to realize this through no small amount of frustration.

If you photograph a subject with any shape to it, you will suddenly realize that EVERYTHING in your studio can suddenly become visible, even the table you are shooting on. It sounds so obvious when I write it now though it was anything but when I began delving into this world. By using a small table like this, you are reducing the amount that table will reflect on your product.

Upcoming Review Of the Photigy Membership

I’ve recently been watching and listening to a lot of Alex. Having been given the chance to review the Photigy Pro membership, I have been watching as many videos as time will allow and will soon be writing the 1st part of my review. For those that are not aware, Photigy is a photography site that produces instructional videos focusing on all things product photography. Certain courses are available individually whereas others can be accessed through their two memberships, the “Studio Basics” and the “Pro Club”.

[REWIND: PHOTIGY: STARTING IN STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY WITH SPEEDLIGHTS COURSE 9BUNDLE PARTS 1-3) REVIEW]

Look out for my review and let me know what you think of this useful shooting table.

About

Max began his career within the film industry. He’s worked on everything from a banned horror film to multi-million-pound commercials crewed by top industry professionals. After suffering a back injury, Max left the film industry and is now using his knowledge to pursue a career within photography.

Website: SquareMountain 
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6 Comments

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  1. Bill Bentley

    More great DIY ideas from Alex. He is always helpful in that regard.

    For my studio setup I used a folding musical keyboard stand. I put a piece of plywood across it and then I place my sheets of black/white plexiglass or whatever on top of it. The stand is adjustable to several different heights. I put a sandbag across the feet of the stand for stability. But Alex’s kit is even more portable/collapsible than mine.

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  2. Imants Ozolins

    How about using LED Panel light when I need completely white background?
    The biggest I have found is 62x62cm or 120x30cm and I’m not sure how powerful should I buy.

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    • Max Bridge

      Would you mind elaborating a little. Although I don’t use LED lights myself so may not be the best person to ask.

      Are you using / planning to use LED lights plural for subject and background or are you just looking to get one light for both?

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  3. Stan Rogers

    Baby plates (socket or pin) are easy to find if you’re not hung up on brand names. Before this, though, Alex was using an inexpensive pan-and-tilt video tripod, and that still works fine for smaller/lighter tables — a 1/4″-20 T-nut and a piece of plywood or MDF about 4″ (10cm) square and double-sided tape solves the mounting issue.

    And I’ll echo Lauchlan’s vote: you can learn a lot from Alex. Honestly, most of it is common sense. The trick is to clear away all of the nonsense and mysticism and really pare everything down to basics — the same basics they tried to teach you in elementary/middle school (or maybe it was in Grade 9 science class; it’s been a long, long time for me). If there’s one thing that Alex is good at, it’s pointing out that you already know this stuff, both intellectually *and* intuitively, and that most of what can go wrong happens when you try to make things more complicated than they really are (because apparently when it’s photography we expect the most basic laws of physics to change). Yes, there are a lot of tips and tricks (including things like post-processing and compositing when “straight” photgraphy would be too difficult or expensive) but the most valuable thing you’ll learn, and the thing that’s most worth the price of admission, is how many slaps you can give your own forehead before it leaves a mark. I’ve seen people in the Photigy community go from clueless to near-wizard in a surprisingly short period of time once it clicked (and the forehead bruise went away).

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  4. Lauchlan Toal

    Alex is the man – learned half the stuff I know about light from him. Very talented photographer and educator, I look forward to seeing your review of Photigy Pro.

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