Hump Day Hardware: Portable Lighting Studio

August 13, 2008

Do you have to take pictures of products for use in marketing materials or a Web site? How much time do you spend masking out the product after you take the picture?

In order to save your self time and trouble in masking out the product, you have to take a well-lit photo against a contrasting background. For this, you might want to get yourself a portable lighting studio as they can easily be found for under $100 and sometimes much less.

These studios include a lightbox into which you place your product. Typically you get at least two different backgrounds (light and dark colors), two lights and some sort of tripod for your camera. At right is Digital Concepts PS-101 Portable Lighting Studio and it is currently selling for $35.58 at

It certainly isn’t the only choice in this size and price range. Another option is American Recorder SIB-101CS Classic Photo Studio-in-a-Box which is selling for $59.71. Yet another is Portable Mini Studio-in-a-box which is selling for $72.78.

Maybe you are one of those people who would prefer to make your own. The Strobist blog has instructions for making your own for less than $10. You’ll also find instructions for constructing a box on Wikihow. Yes, I agree that using a cardboard box as your base studio is less expensive, but the look and lack of portability would sway me towards paying for a better looking, more portable solution like the products listed above. Not to mention the time involved in rounding up the parts and putting it all together.

No matter which solution you choose, I hope this will help all of you get better pictures of your products that are easier to manipulate in your favorite image editor.

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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