Party Crafts and DIY

How to Improve Your Photos for Under $10

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There are a few questions I get asked regularly — and How do I get noticed on Etsy? as well as How can I take better photos? are two of them. Certainly, the answer to the first question is complex but, at the end of the day, it usually boils down to one simple answer “take better photos.” And that always leads to the second question.

With more than 500 products in our Etsy shop, I’m not going to lie, photography is a constant struggle — both to keep up with new products as well as go back and tweak old photos. Mike (my husband and personal photographer) and I shudder when we look at the first photo shoots we did together. But we’re not afraid of trial and error. As a result, we’ve developed a few things that really work for us along the way. Some of the things we have done have been quite expensive, such as investing in a camera, backdrop, reflectors and lighting. But I wanted to share a photography tip that has cost us less than $10. It’s the whitebox that Mike built. It can be used for product shots as well as taking photos of cakes, cookies, props, etc.

Here’s what you need:

  • Three pieces of 3ft x 2ft foam core
  • Utility knife to cut one piece of foam core in half for sides of box
  • 1 piece of poster board
  • Masking tape to construct the box (see below)
  • Low tack painter’s tape to adhere

Now the cool thing about the poster board is that you can switch it the white for any color – including a pretty wallpaper. Using the painter’s tape ensures that you don’t rip the foam core.

What does a whitebox do? It reflects light evenly, which eliminates shadows. We put it in front of our large window (with the opening facing the window) to take advantage of natural light. When Mike’s taking photos, he adjusts the flash so that it is bouncing off our white ceiling (as the natural lighting isn’t enough). But you could easily use any other type of lighting, including a lamp.

Hope this helps!


Stephanie Keeping

Stephanie is in love with a boy named Sam. He has taught her that it’s okay to jump first and look later, to wear a dirty shirt to the park and to decide that today is a good day to take a nap in your rubber boots. She hangs out here blogging at Spaceships and Laser Beams and at our printable party shop on Etsy.