My other favorite hobby is photography. I’m not great, but I’m good enough to realize when I’m taking bad photos. Such was the case with my first few model shots after my first build. So I immediately looked for cheap ways to make a photo tent. I found a great video about building one with fabric panels and a PVC frame. A quick trip to Lowes, a stop at Joann for some white ripstop fabric (on sale!), and a few hours of cutting and snap installation and I had a photo tent. I pulled out some of my studio lights and stands and started shooting.
A few pointers:
- Here’s the article that talks about how I built mine with PVC. There are also prefab pop-up tents, and cardboard box options. If you go with PVC, make sure to spend the extra $20 on a pair of PVC cutters. No sawing and super fast. Well worth the money.
- My studio lights are a cheap set I bought a number of years back. They come with stands, lights, and appropriate mounting hardware. This is the set, although I think you can find them cheaper. You don’t need anything this fancy, but it helps. Of course you can probably rig some cheap hardware store work lights and have perfectly acceptable results.
- Make sure to manually adjust your white balance. It really saves a lot of post-production time. If you’re interested, The Strobist blog tackles this topic with some good pointers.
- I used button snaps to mount my fabric panels as a way to be able to easily break down the tent when I’m not using it. I made sure to mark which panels go where and which PVC part goes where with Sharpie… otherwise there’d be tons of sag and misalignment when I reassembled it.
- I’ve been reading about people using a glass platform to add a nice reflective base to their shots. There are tasty products that help you do this, or DIY option. I’m considering working on adding this DIY option to my photo tent. Pretty cool!
Flip through the gallery at the top of this post to see the results. This is one of the best shots from my first go:
If you’re interested, check out this modeler’s story about his experiments with lighting for model shots.