Board member meczilla on skullbrain.org (Andy Chang) posted this cool little how-to showing a light tent for taking some cool, professional style photos of your toys. I will definitely be making one of these! I will post an update when I get mine set up.
Check out some of Andy's photos on his Flickr page
I've been looking into taking clean studio-style shots of my toys for a while and everything was pointing me towards a light tent setup. A Smith Victor two light kit runs about 100 bucks. When I added "DIY" to my Google search I found some very practical and extremely cheap ways to get the same effect.
-A compact 6.1 megapixel Nikon S1 point-and-shoot camera.
-Mini tripod (10 bucks) - You could use a stack of books or boxes too but you'll be restricted to 90 degree angle shots.
- A banker's box (Free) - Cut windows out of the sides and top. Cut all the way to the back of the box on top so you can affix a...
-Chip Clip (pack of two for a dollar)
-Backdrop (Free) - I used the back of a Borat mini poster. Colored posterboard would probably work well too.
-Paper towels (cheap) - Drape them over your box windows.
-Two desklamps (Free-$???) - You probably have some laying around. I used 60 watt flourescent bulbs for nice cool light.
Experiment with your camera's exposure settings, lighting angles, camera placement, and framing your composition. Toys are very patient and will put up with your artsy wankering. Be careful about those paper towels though, probably flammable if you are going for a marathon shoot.
Turn the flash off and use the self-timer feature to minimize shake from your hand pressing the shutter button. There should be a way to adjust the timer to something minimal. Check your manual. In my case it's 10 seconds.
Presto! Fresh out of the camera with no Photoshop.
I think these photos turned out great. Like I said, I will post my set up also when I get around to it. I would like to experiment with different color backdrops, lighting angles, and maybe thickness of the paper around the box to diffuse the light even more.