Shooting small products can be a lot of fun. It can also be quite challenging, too. In the case of Clayton Parker of 3D printing YouTube channel Uncle Jessy, he wanted to photograph the models he’d been creating on his resin printers. He essentially wanted to build a studio for them, in miniature. He decided to go for what is essentially a seamless backdrop.
It is exactly the sort of thing you see in human-sized studios for shooting portraits. Only smaller. Clayton tried some not-so-great solutions in the past and just learned to deal with them before finally stumbling across this locking Photographic Sweet Stand by HPaul over on Thingiverse. And, well, judging by the video, it seems to do the job pretty well.
3D printing has opened up a lot of cool ways to make your own custom tools for photography and filmmaking and this is a perfect example. The typical small light tents you see on the likes of Amazon that are often recommended for shooting small items are around $50 or more and they’re really not very good. You’re just blasting flat soft light from all directions. It’s not very creative.
HPaul’s design, though, allows you to essentially build a miniature studio for your small products and other items. And it gives you the room to place lights wherever you want without everything being diffused from every single angle. Anybody who’s ever used one of those light tents I mentioned earlier knows exactly what I mean. it’s the most boring light for products you could ever imagine. This solves that.
Clayton uses the printed background stands with various colours of paper and several different types of lights, too. Personally, I’m a fan of the Spiffy Gear KYU-6 LED lights and the DigitalFoto Tree Frogs when I’m photographing small products and 3D printed models but there are plenty of options out there. These stands that clamp onto your paper also look like they should work with paper of pretty much any size, too – within reason. You’re not going to be using this for humans, but it looks like it should do the job for most stuff you’d shoot on a tabletop.
If you’re a photographer who owns a 3D printer (or knows somebody who owns one), these look very useful for when you want to put a background behind something small. I just received a new printer myself this week that I need to build up soon. I think once that’s done, I’ll be adding a set of these to the to-do list.