Stupid, Simple Photography

Salko asked about the setup I used to take the pictures of the marking gauges in my last post. So here it is.


The setup is ridiculously simple and cheap to boot. It starts with lighting. I use 3 utility clamp lights from Home Depot. These lights are easily moved around the shop for task lighting as well as photography lighting. The stand for the overhead “boom” light is simply a light clamped to a stick in a can.

The lamps are 100W equivalent compact fluorescent bulbs. Ideally they would be daylight balanced (6500 K) but I think I’m just using bright white (3500 K). To diffuse the light I’ve used small binder clips to attach parchment paper to the lamps. Because the CFLs don’t get hot, it’s safe to have the paper right next to the lamp without the risk of fire.

The backdrop is just a piece of poster board. I’m using black here (as I did for the marking gauges), but white works good too and I keep a piece of white around for shooting dark items. Other neutral colors would work too. You want it to curve down the back for a nice seamless background.

I shoot the “good” pictures (like the marking gauge pictures) with a tripod mounted DSLR. But quick shots for the blog like the ones above and below are just shot with my iPhone. Here’s how the one above came out.


So that’s it. Nothing fancy or expensive. But this setup has sufficed for taking photos that were good enough for publishing. I’ve debated getting a “real” photography light kit like the inexpensive one Chris Schwarz uses. I still likely will at some point. But for now, this seems to work sufficiently.


2 thoughts on “Stupid, Simple Photography

  1. You may call it silly I call it clever thanks for that Bob and for the link this has given my some ideas. His setup is cheap but it’s expensive here in Australia that is why I order almost everything from overseas.

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