How to Make Money with only $5 and your Smartphone
How-To DIY White Studio Product Photography Box
Disclaimer: Other than some of the basics, I don’t know jack about photography or photo editing.
The more popular eCommerce becomes, the greater the demand for product photography. More specifically photos taken in a white studio that have an all-white background with a well-lit product are in higher demand.
Most people think you need a an expensive studio, a big white backdrop, expensive camera, and expensive editing software to take these photos. While people who do have these resources do take some great photos, you can produce similar results with just $5 worth of capital and your iPhone, Android, or just a regular digital camera.
Here’s the only materials you need to start.
- Large cardboard box, like a moving box from Lowe’s
- 4 pieces of white poster board large enough to cover the interior of the box
- A light source, such as a desk lamp
First thing to do is set the cardboard box up on desk or table. Open the flaps on each end. Cut about a 10”x10” square in the top of the box, discard the scrap.
Now measure the height or one side and mark that height on the poster board. Cut the poster board as straight as possible and insert it into the box.
Do the same for the other side and the bottom of the box.
For the bottom of the box, that’s standing on its side, I simply folded the flaps out, inserted the poster board around the back and pushed it against the wall. You can close the box if you wish and cut a square to fit that, but I was too lazy.
Make sure all the corners are mostly smooth where they meet. If not, do a little trimming if necessary.
Now you should have something that resembles the janky box that I made below. Notice the miscellaneous items I placed on the side to keep it from falling.
Now place your light source through the top square and any other light sources through the front of the box. A couple months ago, I invested in an inexpensive 3 point light set, which I’ve found invaluable when trying to shoot good video or photos. That set can be seen here.
Place a wallet, a mouse, or whatever you have laying around to see how well it’s lit. Make sure there no, or very faint, shadows around the object.
The whiter the bulb the better, otherwise you may your photos will need more in post processing. If you got to Lowe’s or another store with a large selection of light bulbs, look for ones that have a higher color temperature, at least 5000K, like this one. Most will have scale somewhere on the box, similar to the one below.
If you’re using an iPhone or Android device, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of photo editing apps you can download. The only preference I have is Photoshop express or lightroom, which can both be downloaded for free.
In these apps, adjust the white balance if necessary, and fix any minor blemishes if necessary. If you’re not familiar with the app, play around with it for a little bit. The learning curve doesn’t take too long and basic photo editing skills are good to have.
Below is a photo I took of an extra wallet in my room with my iPhone 6s without editing.
This is a skill that is great to have if it’s coupled with another skill like being able to build a WordPress site. If you don’t know anything about web design or even how to build a WordPress website, don’t worry.
Here’s a couple ways you can make money with this skill
- Join a freelance site
- Fiverr, Elance, Freelancer, and other sites are a great way to pick up freelance photography work for this skill. Orders will be very slow at first, but this will at least give you time to hone in on your skill
- Same with the freelance sites, post a craigslist ad with a couple example of the items you took pictures of in your own home.
- Contact local businesses
- Cold calling sucks, but you can find work this way. Ideally you’ll want to try and find businesses with a website, but no products on their website. Contact them explaining the benefit of, at least, showing their products online and show them what you can do.