In part one of this series, we covered some helpful tips on how to improve your photos of minifigures and LEGO creations. Today I'll explain how I was able to create a mini photo studio for under $30.
What we are going for is a photo light box. You can spend a fair amount of money buying something right off the shelf at photography specialty stores. Given that LEGO is an expensive enough hobby, I wasn't looking to try and break the bank. So, when the going get's tough, the tough get going...to IKEA. There are several IKEA hacks like this one on instructables.com.
Our shopping list is composed of one white SKUBB hamper ($9.99) and two LAGRA work lamps ($3.99).
To modify the hamper I rolled the top of the hamper and clipped it to the side of the box. The divider was unzipped and then secured to one side with Velcro strips I had left over from another project. The hamper will eventually sit on one of the narrow sides.
I then ran out to the store and bought two sheets of poster board in white and light blue. These were cut to fit as backdrops that ran along the bottom of the box itself. I would recommend buying a few more colors of poster board and experiment for the best effect. I personally found that the light blue backdrop had the best effect.
You'll have to experiment with the lighting as well to determine what the best angle might be for your shot. I would recommend setting the lights up on opposite sides of the box to help eliminate strong shadows while trying to have details in the figure pop, giving it depth. I discovered that setting the lights on their sides and then placing them on opposite sides of the box worked best for me. The light was kept low at minifig level.
As a final step I turned on my camera's macro setting and turned off my flash.
So how did the picture turn out? Take a look. I'm not going to quit my day job to become a professional photographer, but its a definite improvement. I now feel confident that I've got the tools to take a proper picture.
(Pictures from IKEA.com)