The goal of this project is to produce low-cost closet photo lighting studio that saves space, stays organized, and always ready. This guide shows how to set up a small but completely functional DIY photo studio in a space no bigger than a closet with the use of some basic framing and material. This avoids having to dig out the lights and tripod for the setup when needing a high quality photograph.
The proper lighting and tent setup to create those perfect studio-quality photographs will always be ready every time with the flick of a switch. The image below shows the closet photography tent. A convenient drop-down camera mount that features a flex arm for quickly positioning the camera can be made for those who want to save the time and space of setting up the camera tripod.
During the construction of the closet photography studio, an end table or short bookshelf can be used for the tent base. An old audio cabinet was used in this case which can provide tripods, chargers, Acrylic risers, fabric backdrops, lens, and several shelves for storing the cameras. The closet size dictates the size of the tent. A 20” square tent will fit nicely since the closet has a 24” depth.
Two 10” photo flood lights and 30 Watt Trumpet Daylight Balanced 5000K high CRI compact fluorescent bulbs were used for the main side lighting. The closet lighting is shown in the below image. The main side lights were easily mounted due to the top shelf on most closets. A cheap adjustable arm light was used for the top lighting. It was mounted to the shelf using a C-clamp although the light fixture comes with a magnetic base.
The top light is not often used since most of the requirements need soft lighting from the side lights. Because this is all the light typically needed, the flash on the camera will be disabled. A spot/sparkler lighting tripod in front will be used for diamond jewelry or chrome. Impressive contrast shadows on bright metals can be created by using the front lighting in conjunction with a small strip of dark cardboard. One or more switchable outlets to the closet photography studio are needed when the lighting configuration is in place in order to provide quick power-on for the lights.
A good lighting is as important as a good camera since proper lighting often gets it right in the first place. The following couple photos were taken using a cheap digital camera with the objectives photographed in the closet photography studio to show the importance of proper lighting.
The drop-down camera mount was built to save space using the flexible arm with aluminum mounting bracket as shown in the images below along with the assembly. To accommodate the pipe coupling, some slots were cut in one end. For the camera bolt, a hole was drilled and to allow room for the e-clip to slip over the knob threads, a hole was drilled on the top side. A commercial-grade bracket needs to be purchased if an expensive professional camera that is much heavier will be used. The NPT coupler is mounted with epoxy after the aluminum is cut and drilled. Several coats of rubberized spray paint are applied after the surface is cleaned to protect the aluminum and provide flexible base for the camera to sit on.
To eliminate the white reflection from the top of the tent, some black board was used. A glass can also be used to produce much creativity on the result as shown in the below images.