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Every other month our blog posts a tutorial showing how to take at home the pictures we create in the studio. If you have a question about our suggestions please don’t hold back - write to us.

Would you like Via U! to create your photography instead of doing it yourself? Anywhere in the world you live, we are here to help.

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About Me

I am an advertising photographer in NYC. My pictures help large corporations sell more and keep their brands looking fresh. I am also the founder of Via U!, an online studio dedicated to creating photography that helps people selling in Etsy increase their sales too.

1. February 2011 11:00

Studio Quality Product Photography With a $12 Set Up

Step by step photography tutorial showing how to get studio quality photography using stuff you have available in your kitchen right now.


Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A cardboard box you can use to cut a piece from.
2. A roll of aluminum foil, it’s easier with a wider one.
3. A piece of tracing paper of at least 20” of width and 3 feet in length. You can also use any white, no color, translucent material that you have around your home.
4. One 6” spring clamp.

This is one of those times when bigger is indeed better. Cut a flat panel from the box that is much bigger than the thing you want to photograph. Make it as big as you can but not so much that it becomes unhandy to move around.

1. Cut a piece of foil a bit larger than the cardboard. You can use several pieces of foil to cover the board if you need to.

2. The duller side of the aluminum foil will give a softer light than the shinny side - the shiny side will reflect much more light . I used the dull side for this picture.
3. Fold around the cardboard and tape it.
4. Congratulations! You just made a reflective card.

Now you will need to redecorate your home a bit, move a table as close to a window as you can.

Is your furniture high enough? Make sure that the top of the table is higher than the window sill.

Don’t let the neighbors watch. Tape the piece of tracing paper to the window. Use a single piece to avoid seeing seams and put the paper so it goes down the window well below the top of the table.

Put a long piece of aluminum foil on the table, I used the dull side up for this picture. Place your product close to the window.


Fold down the foil to have a clean edge.

Use the card so the light coming in from the window bounces back to reach the bottle.

Play with the angle of the card to find the position that puts the most light on your product.

Once you find an angle you like move the card as close as you can to the product - without showing it in the picture.

Now you are ready to take a picture! Take many. Try taking a few too light pictures and some too dark too. Try different camera angles as well. You can choose later the one you like best.




Comments (27) -

3/9/2011 5:51:30 PM #

Me encanta la fotografia y estos inventos y ayudas me viene geniales pero cuando puedas dame alguna idea para hacer fotos de autoretrato y de cuerpo entero me vendrian bien te sigo un besito

Kerkes Goldworks
Kerkes Goldworks
3/11/2011 12:11:53 AM #

This is a really fantastic method of photographing products.  I followed Mariano's above steps and achieved fantastic results for the ring I was photographing.  Check out the results on our homepage at:   or on our blog at: for the great helpful hints Mariano, you are awesome!

Product Photographer
Product Photographer
3/16/2011 6:05:59 PM #

Nice set up with natural light Smile

Thistle Cottage Studio
Thistle Cottage Studio
3/21/2011 7:06:09 PM #

Thank you so much for sharing this simple, and ingenious trick!!!  I've had minimal good results with a light box--this si SO much better!!  Can't wait to try it!!!

George Banis
George Banis
3/28/2011 5:13:44 AM #

Very helpful, thank you. We are going to use it for a new website with organic extra virgin olive oil from Greece.

4/22/2011 2:18:36 AM #

I am SO EXCITED to try this. That watery underneath look is something I've been after for a while. This is absolute genius, Mariano!

AmigurimiShop Desings
AmigurimiShop Desings
4/26/2011 3:48:39 PM #

This si SO much better!ThanksSmileMaijo

6/15/2011 4:16:39 AM #

Thank you for the tip

male enhancement
male enhancement United States
10/24/2011 1:50:32 AM #

great post.. i really enjoyed it

Linda Keesee
Linda Keesee United States
11/14/2011 9:20:12 AM #

Wow! I'm going to try this one out to. Maybe I will have better luck.  I have a light box and I thought I finally had it figured out. Put the next time I took my picture with same settings they just weren't as good as the week before. Maybe I had my lights placed different. I don't know. But I will try this out to .
Linda @

vimax United States
12/29/2011 11:17:14 AM #

great post... this article was very useful

Iryna United States
1/5/2012 3:51:24 PM #

Thank you so much for this tute!

Daisy United Kingdom
1/13/2012 6:11:12 PM #

I made my set but couldn't wait till morning to use natural light! I got impatient and used a lamp behind the tracing paper and got a really nice warm effect. Thank you so much for this! Was very very helpful!

Diane United States
3/4/2012 1:42:55 PM #

As soon as I write this I am running for your follow button to become your newest follower!  Awesome post, love your pics and your clean clear explanations!  I will have to look through your posts and see if you have any recommendations on how to use a light box.  Thanks for the fab tutorial!

Robert E. Kirsch
Robert E. Kirsch United States
5/18/2012 2:26:14 PM #

It's amazing what we can create when we put our minds to it. I also started out doing the same. I have since purchased a small setup from Adorama, in NYC. I also used green screen & chroma key photography & I create my own backgrounds. You don't need the biggest & best camera either. point & shoot auto focus work just as well. Best of all nobody will ever know unless you tell them. Keep shooting & enjoy what you do. It's your dream...Don't give it up!!!!

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photography courses United States
6/5/2012 2:39:00 AM #

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

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commodity tips United States
7/27/2012 6:38:19 AM #

As soon as I create this I am operating for your adhere to option to become your latest follower!  Amazing publish, really like your photos and your fresh obvious explanations!  I will have to look through your content and see if you have any suggestions on how to use a mild box.  Thanks for the fab tutorial!

Fremantle Photographers
Fremantle Photographers United States
8/21/2012 3:05:13 AM #

Such an interesting & useful collection of technical information, Thanks for contributing your important time to post It would be knowledgeable & resources are always of great need to everyone. Please keep continue sharing.

CT Wedding Photographers
CT Wedding Photographers United States
8/26/2012 5:58:19 AM #

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France Australia
11/8/2012 7:41:52 AM #

Wonderful tips!!! Very generous of you! Thank you.

Parajumpers Outlet
Parajumpers Outlet United States
11/13/2012 4:42:07 PM #

got to the point. what you mention is really correct.

Robert Godbolt
Robert Godbolt India
1/10/2013 2:16:42 AM #

Very nice tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing this simple and intelligent trick!!!  We must have to keep in mind some little but very useful things before taking product photographs.

Robert Godbolt
Robert Godbolt India
1/10/2013 2:18:42 AM #

Very nice tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing this simple and intelligent trick!!!  We must have to keep in mind some little but very useful things before taking product photographs.

Lynne N
Lynne N United States
1/22/2013 12:02:43 PM #

Wow, something I can afford.

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5/30/2013 8:46:13 PM #

Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this post. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

Pisos en venta
Pisos en venta
6/12/2013 3:10:45 PM #

Do you have any video of that? I'd want to find out some additional information.

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CT wedding photography United States
6/13/2013 1:32:11 AM #

Finally, I got what I was looking for. Don’t have enough words to thank you that you choose this particular topic to write about. Feeling really satisfied after reading..

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