DIY Thrifty Photo-Taking Station for Blog Posts and Reselling or Art Product Photos


I almost gave in and bought some expensive photo backdrops. The shopping cart was up to over $200 between 2 different color backgrounds and the frame to hold them up when I decided, "Nope, I can do this myself! And spend that money on food and bookshelves!" And so I did, for less than $4.00 and using what I have around the house!


Creativity is a fickle muse and it's important to have your work station ready to go at all times so you can snap photos when creativity strikes. I tried having my photo paper rolled up and set aside but it was hurting my flow to have to set-up it and put it away frequently. My photo station is in the far corner of my living room/dining room combo space. The inside of my counter/shelf combos hold merchandise and supplies.


From there it was as simple and tacking the fabric to the walls, I went out and got the dark gray specifically for my white items which are lost in my usual white background.The subtle thatched texture reminded me of mid century modern table tops I've seen. I'm going to replace the white felt (not recommended) pictured with a roll of photo paper my friend Jason (a cast off from his Engineering day-job. Yay for not-wasting!) gave me. I used binder clips as much as possible on the fabric so the thumbtacks wouldn't pierce the fabric and leave holes.

There are some draw backs to this ghetto-fied method! You have to watch for wrinkles in thin fabric and iron it thoroughly but I'm loving this so far and look forward to streamlining the process!

How do you take photos for your products or for your blog posts? I love taking it to the next level and finding ways to improve with it. This just proves you don't need fancy equipment to take professional-looking photos.
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38 comments:

  1. Love the tips! In a pinch, I use a Black T-Shirt! Will need to get just a plain piece of fabric.

    Lisa @ Happy Girl Thrift

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    1. I used to use white posted board but it's not big enough for the larger items and it gets dirty really easily (The pitfall of using paper in general, finds needs to be really clean & dry before you use it.) I've seen people use the back of a poster and a smart phone to good affect. Low-tech can do the trick!

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  2. Your photos are tops! At present, I use just a piece of poster board as a backdrop on a white table top. It's adequate.

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    1. I used a folded piece of poster board for a long while, it does the job indeed! When I had bigger items I'd piece poster board together.

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  3. I use poster board. I have both black and white but I really need to get something new. You're right they get dirty. I like your new set up.

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    1. I wanted to try out a black piece of poster board but like how the dark gray fabric had a subtle thatched texture that reminded me of mod table tops :)

      You almost have to wash your hands before touching poster board, they get THAT dirty. They're only 30 cents to 50 cents each depending where you shop but it adds up when you keep having to get more because they get wrinkled or dirty. I tried blue poster board but it was hard to keep the colors consistent.

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  4. I agree that gray/charcoal looks better in pics that straight black. I ordered some gray poster board, because I couldn't find in in the stores. I think I will try the fabric idea though, You can control the size. Poster board is too small for many items. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. No prob! I went looking for gray poster board too and didn't find it, and yep, the size makes it very limiting when you start to photograph larger items.

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  5. Love this. And I'm dying over your board games. Haha. I love old board games. :)

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    1. I have listed on the Etsy shop. Been trying to sell them off but they'll live with me in the meantime.

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  6. Grey!! It looks great. White on white is the worst! I agree on having a work station ready--- less hassle equals more work... I DREAM of an office/workshop/studio lolzzzzz

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    1. Haha, same here! Until then I'm always re-arranging things trying to figure out how to make my combo living room/dining room/office work efficiently! ;)

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  7. Good for you! The pics look great! I tried fabric but am too much of a perfectionist and the wrinkles drove me INSANE! I still use poster board every now and then. Silver plate really does a number on it! Amazing how quickly it gets marked up and dirty!

    I am going to incorporate more of my own pics in my blog this coming year. Can't wait to get started!

    It does make a huge difference having a work/picture station all ready to go. I am much more likely to take pics knowing it will only be a second or two to get things in order. It makes it harder to say oh I don't want to get everything out today....maybe tomorrow!

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    1. The wrinkles suck! I will probably upgrade to nice backdrops for that reason eventually but I'll make upgrades marginally. I'm excited to spend my money instead on a huge storage unit for merchandise and supplies tomorrow :D ! Sorely needed first-things-first!

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    2. Oh and congrats on incorporating your own photos, it really adds so much more to the posts.

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  8. How do you tackle lighting? We recently moved from a house with great lighting to one with bad bad bad lighting...it has made it so hard to take pictures and get items listed. I really need to find a solution for this one!

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    1. My past two apartments have INCREDIBLE lighting from ample windows so I've been spoiled. A couple of things I've done in low lighting scenarios:

      -move my set-up outside, this works especially well on a slightly overcast day to control any harsh shadows

      -shoot with tungsten light setting on the camera in a "yellow light" situation to correct the yellow of overhead lights with a blue filter, then correct the levels further in photoshop elements (control + L)

      Natural light is always king for me, but I will continue to play with using artificial light/studio light and chatting with professionals about it.

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  9. Oh my gosh! I've got to try that for taking the next pics of my items!!

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  10. Great idea. I use foam core board so I can skip ironing.

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    1. Do you use a piece for the bottom and bg? I've always considered the option. Just found another option today I'll have to write about later.

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  11. I typically use a piece of furniture against a white wall or a piece of foam core. It's definitely a drag having to set it up and take it down each time -- and move it around according to the position of the sunlight. I definitely dream of having an always-ready photo station! PS: LOVE the charcoal fabric background!

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    1. Thanks Heather! I would use a white wall if I had one, certainly easier than me having to edit each photo to get the "white" just right and people seem to love seeing the items in a real environment, but my walls are dark beige. Forces me to get creative at least!

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  12. very clever, your photos always look great

    retro rover

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    1. Thank you :) Got more photo post ideas coming soon.

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  13. I've tried different tricks, but they all end in fail. I don't have room to set up a space perminatly, or room to store a bulky photo box. I've about settled on, "Here is this picture of this thing that I obviously shot on my messy desk,

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    1. I used to use poster board that I then stuck behind a piece of furniture when done. Still made professional looking photos without costing more than 50 cents and storage was simple.

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    2. Nona, there are photo cubes that you can fold up to put away for storage. The one I got folds up like those round windshield covers people used to have for their cars. I got one off eBay very inexpensively with 2 lights and various colored detachable backdrops. It may or may not work for you; I'll admit folding the photo cube back up can be kind of tricky, but so far, so good.

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    3. I need to hunt for one of those! What's yours called? Would come in handy!

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    4. This is the eBay store where I got mine: http://stores.ebay.com/PartySaving/_i.html?rt=nc&_sid=36773526&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1513&_pgn=2

      I think they're sold out of the one I purchased, but there are others to choose from, depending on what you need.

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  14. I've pretty much always used a bed sheet as my backdrop. Sometimes I will use a roll of white paper that I got at the art supply store. My photo setup is in my sunroom, where the sun comes streaming in in the morning, and everything is bright. Only recently, after selling on eBay for 8 years did I invest in a photo cube for those instances where I have too much glare and need to minimize it. I do about 99% of my photography with just the bedsheet backdrop, and it has worked very well for me.

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    1. You don't have to invest much to be successful as an online seller, I love it :D

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  15. Why don't you recommend white felt?

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    1. Thefuzzy texture shows in photos. Yiy can adjust levels for a wuick photoshop fix but may have to go in and edit fuzzy edges and items. The fabric is cheap but it's a time suck. I'm donating my felt.

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    2. The fuzzy* that is, And "you" not "Yiy". I'm horrible at typing on my phone still. :)

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  16. I was just admiring the grey background on the top post before scrolling down to this one. Grey is one of my favorites - expecially when it has a pattern. I like the height of a bookcase too, I shoot on a tabletop and all that stooping can get tiring.

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    1. I love dark grey with a nice pattern too, adds a nice texture that makes items pop. I'm picky about height when taking pictures, been working behind-the-scenes to streamline the processes and make it as simple as possible.

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