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Back to Class: Build a Product Photo Light Booth for $25!

Welcome to Back to Class, where we’ll be helping you with tips and tricks to keep your store fresh and competitive! Don’t forget your Trapper Keeper.

Here’s a confession: I’m cheap.

When I say cheap, I’m not talking “clearance section and smart couponing” kind of cheap (although I probably should do that). I’m talking, “I will build a shelving system out of leftover packing products, hot glue and happy thoughts” kind of cheap (I actually did that, by the way. It’s held together better than I expected).  And because of that, every time I see a DIY blog post or video that claims to help you “build something for less than $50”, I tend to think to myself, I bet I could do it for under $20.

Because that’s a challenge right there, folks. And this gal doesn’t back down from a challenge.

So when the PayGo WooCommerce launch ….launched, I started researching product photography. After all, a picture sells a thousand bucks, or something like that. And in all of my research, I kept seeing promises that I could, with time and effort, build my very own amateur photography setup for less than $100!


Yes, you could probably build a very nice photobooth for $100. But sometimes $100 just isn’t in the budget, and sometimes you need results immediately. And when that happens, you have to get a bit creative.

According to the internet, which we all know is always right, in order to have a successful photobooth, you need:

  • a camera (…obviously)
  • a tripod or monopod
  • a backdrop
  • a surface
  • a good light source

With that in mind, along with a scrappy, can-do attitude (I’m basically Pollyanna with a glue gun), I assembled my equipment:


What we have here is two clamp lights and an extension cord, some painters tape, a roll of white kraft paper (I don’t know why, but according to the label it’s apparently very important to spell it with a K), a few big twist ties, and a selfie stick. Why a selfie stick, you might ask? Well, fellow responsible adults, I don’t have a real camera. I tried to find a tripod or monopod that you could use with a cell phone, and a $5 selfie stick was all I found. And what is a selfie stick if not a lame, tourist-y version of a monopod? Think outside the box! I also used two cheap dining room chairs and a coffee table. All in all, I spent about 25 bucks on my light booth setup.

So is it perfect? Most certainly not. But it worked!

To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work as well as it did.  I have a gypsy curse that causes me to ruin all photographs I come within 10 feet of, so I was expecting disaster. I had my toolbox, glue gun, a billion odds and ends I thought might be useful, and my dad on speed dial in case it all went sideways on me. But here’s my attempt:


Look at that little fella! And here’s the whole setup:

Not bad, right? I was also asked if my makeshift photography studio could work for portrait photography. Well, I didn’t have photogenic person onhand to test that theory, but I did have my assistant:

“will work for ham”

So I’m guessing it would work just as well for humans.

It took a bit of space and time to set up, granted. But in a pinch, it worked like a charm!

PayGo is a solution provider for independent retailers based in Rochester, Minnesota. Our primary focus is on point of sale / retail management software. We also offer a Merchant Account integration, a WooCommerce integration, Digital Marketing Services, and more.