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Make Your Own DIY Photography Studio

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 2/18/2009

Everyone wants his or her own photography studio because it's a great way to take pictures and make those pictures look great. But, not everyone can afford a studio. Well, make your own. Learn some simple steps to create your own DIY studio.

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    Having a nice photography studio - where you can take portraits or pictures of items you want to sell on eBay - is the key to making your photographs look more appealing. Having the money to do this, however, can be tricky. But, there are some simple, cheap things that you can buy and make yourself to create the most out of your photos.

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    Using What Nature Gives Us

    Ebay Item Against Background 


    • Tape
    • Thick paper (Polypropylene sheets preferred)
    • Cardboard
    • Firm item, such as a chair or wall
    • Sun and shade

    The first thing that you need to do is go to your hardware store. Buy some tape and polypropylene sheets (or, if you can't find these, any solid color paper will do) in various colors. The polyprolene sheets depending on the grade will cost you between $15.00 and $50.00, but you should go with the lower grade material to cut costs.

    The sheets will allow you to create your background. Find some place on your deck or porch that will allow you to naturally illuminate the object, but will also provide some shade for contrast. To set up your studio, tape the top and bottom of your colored paper to either a wall or chair. Make sure that it is pulled tight. Then set up your object in front of the paper. Make sure that the paper is a good contrast to your object. This is a great way to make pictures of your eBay items.

    Another way to create your background is to buy a piece of cardboard (get a big box for free from a local grocery store) and tape your thick paper to the cardboard. Pull it tight just like you did with the above background. Lean the cardboard against against a chair, deck, or fence. Position your object in front of the background. Take your shots.

    For under $30.00, you can set up your DIY studio outside on a sunny day and use the natural lighting to illuminate your pictures.

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    DIY Portrait Studio


    • Muslin fabric (about $10.00)
    • Dye ($10.00 to $20.00)
    • Cord ($10.00)
    • Bucket ($5.00)
    • Place to hang your background.

    To create your own indoor background, buy a piece of muslin fabric. Wash it to get out all the impurities in the fabric. Fill a bucket with hot water, and mix in the dye. Most dyes only require hot water, but you should read your directions beforehand. Mix the dye in the water well. You want extremely hot water as this will allow the fabric to absorb the dye more readily. Crumple up your fabric, and roll it into a tight, but not too tight ball. Tie the cord around it.

    Put your fabric into the water, and hold it down with either a stick or the end of a map or broom. Hold the fabric down for at least thirty minutes, rolling it every few minutes to make sure that it absorbs evenly. Remove from water, and cut cord. Hang up the fabric to dry.

    If the fabric is too light in any particular area, stick back into the dye for additional minutes. Once the fabric is completely dry, you can hang it up in a spare bedroom or on a wall for a custom-made background for less than $50.00.

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    Additional Useful Items for A Studio 


    • Shop lights ($20.00 to $30.00)
    • Clamps (approximately $10.00)
    • Translucent Fabric (approximately $10.00)
    • Stool/Seat

    To make your indoor studio even more useful, try using some of these additional materials. Go to a hardware store, and purchase shop lights and clamps. Use the clamps to secure your lights to a wall or floor. If the light is too bright, use some translucent fabric to create diffused/softened light by taping it to the front of the lamp. Just leave enough room so that the fabric does not create a fire hazard. Place a stool or seat in front of the background so that your subject can sit on it. Place the lights as close to the subject as possible. Remember if you are taking portraits, two lights should be hung in the back and one in the front.

    Combined with the above background, you have created an indoor studio for less than $100.00.