How to Set up a Product Photography Studio on a Budget

How to Set up a Product Photography Studio

A full-fledged studio is essential for capturing high-quality product shots. However various factors matter in setting up a professional product photography studio. Location, equipment, lighting, and budget are some of them.

No matter whether you are an ecommerce store owner, online marketplace vendor, or simply a product photographer, you must choose your product photography studio location, pick gadgets, and set up studio lighting.

And the good news is that you can do all this stuff in a budget-friendly way if you operate smartly. This write-up is all about guiding you on how to set up a photography studio on a budget. By following the tips provided in this post, you can easily find a way to create a budget photography studio.

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How to Set up Your Budget Product Photography Studio

Setting up a product photography studio requires you to follow a step-by-step process. We have put together the nitty-gritty of setting up a cost-effective photography studio for product photographers in the following sections. Let’s dive deep —

Select a Location for Your Product Photo Studio

Look for a clean and clutter-free location for your product photo studio.  A clean spot is instrumental in creating professional-looking images. So, hunt for a space that is free from dust or any potential distractions that could impact the quality of your photos.

Likewise, a clutter-free atmosphere lets your products take center spot, seizing the attention of your audience which is essential in product photography.

Apart from that, go for simplicity as it will complement your background. Search for a location with a white background or the one where you can create one easily. This allows your products to stand out and makes sure that the focus remains on them, unlike a cluttered or distracting environment.

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Vital Gadgets for Product Photo Studio

Vital Gadgets for Product Photo Studio

Picking up necessary equipment is one of the primary requirements of setting up a photo studio. To ensure professional and top-quality results, you must gather them. Here’s a breakdown of the gear you will need to crush your product photography —  


Depending on your budget and needs, you can pump anywhere from nothing (if you tap into a smartphone with a good camera) to thousands of dollars on a high-end camera. Understand your needs, considering factors like image quality & control so that you make a worthwhile investment.


A tripod is required to notch up stability and stave off camera shake. You can get tripods at varying prices, starting from nearly $50 or more. Consider your capturing style and the weight of your camera to pick a tripod that suits your needs. Investing in a durable and adjustable tripod is worth it!

White Bounce Boards

Bounce boards are tools that help control lighting and minimize shadows. You can save money by leveraging foam boards or white cardboard, which are not only low-cost, but also readily available. These can be found for approximately $10 or more, depending on the size and quantity.

Table and Props

As for tables and props, you can save money by repurposing items you already have at home or purchasing affordable options from flea markets, thrift stores, or local marketplaces. Get creative and think outside the box to find suitable surfaces and catchy props that boost your product’s visual appeal.

Small Toolbox

A small toolbox is useful for laying out and storing vital photography accessories like spare batteries, memory cards, and lens cleaning tools. You can find affordable toolboxes for around $30. Consider investing in a compact and durable one to keep your gadgets neat and protected.

Set up the Backdrop

The backdrop or background is a salient issue in product photography. You can arrange the product photo background manually while doing photography or you can also fix it in the post-processing phase.

When it comes to product photography, set a white background attached to the back corner of the photography table.

You can use white paper, foam, or fabrics to create a white background for your product photography. White background enhances the visibility rate of images while eliminating distortion and putting forth objects with a mesmerizing appearance.

Additionally, you can attach a white background through Photoshop as well. If you don’t have a knack for Photoshop, you can approach a professional photo editing service provider to get the background removal or replacement service.

All you have to do is send them all your product images and they will apply several editing processes to create white backgrounds for your imagery.

Organize Tabletop & Props

The following steps will help you arrange your tabletop & props and take your studio setup ahead —

Organize tabletop and props

Clean the Tabletop Surface

Kick off by clearing the tabletop surface of any redundant items or dust. Make sure that the surface is clean and free from dirt and debris to build a professional setting for your product photographs.

Figure out the Size & Type of Tabletop Required

Take into account the size and nature of your products to determine the proper tabletop size and material. A flat and robust surface such as a table or a dedicated photography table works well.

Your table should be large enough to accommodate products and allow space for positioning them at various angles.

Position the Tabletop

It’s time to place the tabletop in your preferred location within the studio. Make sure that the tabletop complements the white background you set at the back corner of the photography table.

You can also go for a neutral-colored background to the wall or hang a large sheet of backdrop paper. Ensure it is seamless and wrinkle-free to notch up a clean and professional look.

Lay out the Props

Your props should be complementary to your products and enhance the ­­­visuals. Take into consideration the style and theme you want to convey and opt for props accordingly.

For instance, if you’re shooting jewelry, you may use jewelry stands, decorative trays, or textured fabrics. Test with different combos to find the most compelling setup that highlights your products.

Bring out Depth & Layers

Put props at different distances from the camera to produce depth and visual interest. Leverage props of different sizes, heights, and textures to inject layers into your composition. This assists in creating a sense of depth and perspective, making your product photos more visually appealing.

Focus on Spacing & Arrangement

Place the props in a way that highlights your product without overwhelming it. Leave enough room to keep the focus on the primary subject. Apply the rule of thirds, which entails dividing the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically, and position products and props accordingly.

Play around with Angles & Compositions

Experiment with various camera angles and compositions to shoot your products from different perspectives. Try capturing from above, at eye level, or from a unique angle to display different features and details.

Don’t be scared to take multiple shots and adjust the compositions to notch up the most visually enticing outcome.

Bear in mind, that the composition of your tabletop and props should support and display your products fruitfully. Be wary of visual balance, aesthetics, and how the props boost the overall composition without deflecting from the main focus – your products.

Install Your Light Source: Natural Vs. Artificial

While setting up your product photography studio, you can pick between natural light and artificial lighting for your light source. You can set up each of them in the following way —

Natural Light:

Natural Lighting

If your priority is the presence of natural light in the product photography studio, the strategy is different altogether.

Locate a Window or Area with Enough Natural Light:

Place your tabletop setup close to a window or in an area with adequate natural light. North-facing windows often radiate soft and diffused light, while south-facing windows offer brighter and more direct light. Monitor the quality and direction of light throughout the day to discover the best spot.

Diffuse Bright Sunlight:

If the natural light is excessively bright or harsh, go for diffusing it to create a softer lighting effect. You can do this by hanging sheer curtains, tapping into a diffusion panel, or putting a sheer fabric over the window. This helps to produce even and diffused lighting on your subject.

Avail of Reflectors or Bounce Boards:

Amplify natural light by utilizing reflectors or bounce boards. White foam boards, reflector discs, or even simple white poster boards can be used as reflectors or bounce boards.

Position them tactically to bounce the light back onto the subject, filling in shadows and bringing out a more balanced and flattering lighting setup. 

Perfect the Positioning & Angle of Your Products:

Experiment with the positioning of the products by moving them closer or farther from the window and altering the angle at which they are placed to capture different lighting effects. Monitor how the light falls on your subject and make adjustments accordingly to attain the anticipated result.

Artificial Lighting

Artificial Lighting

Unlike natural lighting, you have to leverage external light sources like studio lights, strobes, softboxes, LED lights, backlights, etc. to let artificial lighting fall into your tabletop, including the subject.

Select the Right Lighting Equipment:

Don’t go for random lighting equipment. Instead, go for artificial lighting gadgets such as studio lights, continuous lights, or strobes based on your budget and specific photography needs. Try LED lights for their energy efficiency and versatility.

Place Your Lights Properly:

Position your lights at different angles to produce the expected effect. Avail of a key light as the main light source that brightens your subject, a fill light to minimize shadows, and a backlight for added depth & isolation from the background. Adjust the intensity & distance of the lights to regulate the overall lighting.

Leverage Light Modifiers:

Light modifiers pack a punch, so experiment with light modifiers like softboxes, umbrellas, and diffusers to soften and control the artificial light. These tools help to diffuse the light evenly over your products, slashing harsh shadows and creating an eye-pleasing lighting setup.

Don’t Ignore Color Temperature Control:

If you want consistent color reproduction, deploy light sources with adjustable color temperature or invest in color correction gels. This will let you match the lighting to your specific needs and ensure precise color representation of your products.

Keep in mind, whether you pick natural light or artificial lighting, take the time to experiment and adjust the setup to notch up the desired results.

Each lighting option has its upsides, so consider your particular product, the desired mood, and the level of control you require over the lighting conditions when taking the plunge. 

Stabilize Camera and Test Camera Settings

Stabilize Camera and Test Camera Settings

Are your product and props well-organized? Is your lighting perfectly set up? If the answer is affirmative to both, it’s time for a test shoot.

Once your camera or smartphone is placed on a tripod, start taking shots from different directions and angles.

Test shots are a pivotal step, but this phase shouldn’t take the bulk of your time — especially once you get more used to working in your space.

Ideally, you will test shots, make a few tweaks, and then move on to the primary job – doing photography work for the day.

A key thing to note is that – For amateur photographers, a test shoot may be used to create portfolio images or refine skills. However, for competent and seasoned photographers, test shoots are mainly to better understand how to go about or if they need to try new equipment to revamp their photography.

Balance Your Camera with the Tripod

Balance Your Camera with the Tripod

After finishing all the above steps, you are now all set for product photography. Use the tripod to reduce trouble and also make sure the optimal image forms without any distortion and camera shake. Remember, shaking hands can be a big issue in product photography.

Holding the camera for a long time creates a camera shake which can make the image blurry. In this regard, the tripod is the right option that can relieve and keep you focused all the time.

A tripod makes sure that your photography ends up being stable and consistent and there are tripods available through which you can get ultra-flexibility in product photography.

After setting the camera on the tripod, position the product on the table, and create the best angle for your camera. You can try out different angles to perceive where the product gets a catchy look through the camera. Take multiple shots and pick the best one for the final adjustment.

Not Done Yet! Go for Photography Touch-up

Once you are done shooting all the products, it’s time for product photo retouching. For your information, photo retouching is vital for e-commerce product imagery. RAW images can’t be used as the final product display on websites.

This is because they look shoddy in many aspects, so you have to fine-tune them to get the best outcome. When buyers land on an e-commerce website, they just view the product images on display. If images are visually enthralling, they can easily draw the visitors’ and customers’ attention.

Product images also play a vital role in pitching visitors. So, you have to consider post-processing for your product photography and accomplish it properly.

You can edit your product photos with photo editing software like Photoshop. Several post-processing actions, you can apply in your product photos. Here are some of the key ones listed —

  • Product Photo Background removal
  • Product Photo Retouching
  • Product Image Natural, Drop shadow, and Mirror Shadow Effect
  • Photo Scratch and Glare Removing
  • Image Sharpening
  • Photo Color correction
  • Image Optimization

All these product photo editing actions have selective impacts on the images. Having Photoshop expertise will allow you to retouch your product photography accurately. Or else, you have to look for professional assistance in this regard.

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It’s a Wrap!

Setting up a product photography studio requires you to focus on multiple factors like location, backdrop, lighting, props, and of course, budget. Out of all these factors, budget carries a lot of weight as it will dictate the other factors.

But in this write-up, we have shared with you some tips that you can follow and apply even with a tight budget. Consequently, your product photography will end up with top-notch outcomes.