Saturday, February 12, 2011

Small Parts Photo Studio

The working laboratory of most evil genius inventors can be a messy place.  Mine is no exception.  I am in the process of designing, building, and documenting the construction of several Stirling Engines and I needed a way to photograph the small parts as they were created.  I also needed a way to photograph the completed Stirling Engines.

I was tempted to buy the Portable Photo Studio sold by ThinkGeek.com for $50 (http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cameras-photography/a205/). But the dimensions of that setup are not tall enough for some of my completed projects.  So I created a similar setup on my own for about $30.

The backdrop is a display board like the kind kids use for science fair displays.  Cardboard versions are about $5.  This one is made from paper covered foam core poster board and sells for about $15.  The floor of the studio is made from another piece of foam core poster board.  One side of the floor board is white, the other is black.  Some small parts are light in color and need a dark background for best results.  I simply turn the bottom piece over and use the black side when I need the dark background.

I already had two movable lights.  One contains an old incandescent bulb and the other has a bright energy saving bulb. That provides a little light balance for the pictures, which I will reduce to B&W anyway for publication.  I use a 10MP snapshot camera with a flash and I am getting very good results. The second image here is an un-edited photo taken in the homemade studio.

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