Getting the hang of home studio product photography

New Happy Sleepies piled up for a group photo at the end of a photo session.
New Happy Sleepies piled up for a group photo at the end of a photo session.

Cloudy days have lovely diffused light and big pieces of styrofoam make really good light reflectors.

That sums up the most recent advancements in my skills as a still life photographer. I’m relieved, too, because I’ve figured out a way to take the shots at our studio, which means I can do it any time (well, during daylight hours) and to a quality that doesn’t require hours of Photoshop afterwards to cut out the background or get the colours right.


My setup right now is on a table next to a window, out of the sun. Prop a large piece of paper on a big piece of styrofoam to make a seamless tabletop and background curve. Stand the Happy Sleepy in the middle, held away from the background to minimize shadows by leaning in the back against an empty toilet paper roll and masking tape. Use another giant piece of styrofoam as a reflector on the side of the toy away from the window, to bounce some light into the shadows. And bracket like mad.

I’ve also been experimenting with darker, colourful, and textured backgrounds that lend a lot more atmosphere to the final presentation than a gallery-white background. What I’d like to do in the online shop is have a mix of contextualized photos, with props and whatnot, and some on white backgrounds.

Check out my fledgling product photography skills and the goods in the Happy Sleepy Art and Toys Shop on Etsy.

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