A table top photo studio kit is a great way to take professional-looking photos of your homemade crafts and products without taking up too much space or spending a lot of money.
Many of table top photo studio kits on the market right now give you everything you need to get started with product photography at home. Most include a couple lamps, a collection of backdrops, light tents, and camera stands. Some offer convenient space-saving features, such as being easy to collapse and store in a carrying case.
The variety and the jargon can be overwhelming to beginners eager to just start photographing their crafts and getting them online, but this straightforward guide will help you choose a table top photo studio kit that’s perfect for your needs.
Determine Your Size Needs
Measure the largest object (or objects) you intend to photograph in your table top photo studio. Be sure to measure depth, height, and width. Write these measurements down so you can easily compare them with studio kits you find online. Don’t forget to also measure any props you might want to photograph with your craft, such as jewelry stand or display hooks.
Your photo studio should be large enough to hold everything with plenty of space on the sides. Remember, you don’t want to see the corners or sides of the photo studio box when photographing your product. Many table top photo studios come with light tents between 12″ x 12″ x 12″ and 30″ x 30″ x 30″.
If your crafts are too big for a 30″ x 30″ x 30″ light tent, you might be better off photographing them in their “natural environment”, such as on a bed if your crafts are quilts or on a bookshelf if your craft is decorative wood carvings. This will help viewers understand the size of your object and more easily picture your crafts in their own home!
One last tip about size: if you can afford to, go a little larger than you think you might need. You’ll be less likely to outgrow your photo studio if you add, say, a new product that’s several inches taller than your existing product line.
Consider your Budget
Most table top photo studio kits cost between $30 and $200. Good, usable kits exist at all price points, but you might miss out on extras, general durability, or higher quality lamps by buying a less kit.
If you’re handy and don’t mind a DIY project, you can save a little money by making your own light tent box. You’ll still have to find your own lamps, backdrops, and diffusion materials, but this sort of project could easily fit into a weekend and everything you build could be customized to your needs.
Here are two great tutorials:
What Extras Do You Really Need?
Table top studio kits attempt to be “all inclusive”, giving you everything you need in one convenient package. These kits also tend to be a better deal than purchasing all of their components individually.
However, you may not need a carrier case unless you intend to take your photography on the road regularly. You may also not need a variety of backgrounds or a camera stand, or you may already have a decent lighting setup (or intend to shoot outdoors).
Where to Buy?
The very best selection is online. While specialty photography stores do carry photography equipment and accessories, they tend to cater to professionals and sell big-ticket items. You might be able to find a few photo studio kits in stores, but expect to pay top dollar.
For a convenient, interactive guide to highly-rated photo studios available on Amazon.com, check out our Table Top Photo Studio Kit Comparison Chart!