Turn limited space into a instant small-subject studio!
February 27, 2013
A novel Nofovlex sweep turns any tabletop into a tiny little studio. Great for eBay—or food—photography.
Sweeps are wonderful things for photographers. They allow you to take an object out of its context and isolate it against a plain white or other color background. But most sweeps are on the large size and if you only need one for shooting small objects (like a collectable boxcar for an eBay auction, for instance) and are tight on space, a small sweep may just do the trick. The smallest sweep I've seen is the Novoflex Magic Studio MS30 24x12-inch Sweep, which is available at Adorama for $66.99.
The Novoflex Magic Studio MS30 is a very specialized tool. It travels flat (in fact, if you need a small, plain white or blue surface, just lay it on a table and you've got one), but is flexible and can be converted into a mini-sweep in about a minute. Simply take the two supplied beaded strings and thread one end through the bottom holes on either side, and then the other end, with the adjustable stop, through the other hole. You can adjust the stop so the curve is 90 degrees, or more, or less, depending on your needs.
My desk, a bit busy: This space is just right for photographing a spotty banana, or other similar-sized objects. Oh, if only I could get rid of that distracting background!
A clean sweep: I set up the Novoflex Magic Studio MS30 and turned a cluttered space into a plain white background.
Yes, we have a (spotty) banana: The Novoflex Magic Studio MS30 was just the right size for me to photograph this banana, isolating it from its rather busy surroundings. I bounced my Canon Speedlight 430EX II flash off the wall and shot this with a Canon EOS 7D and my workhorse lens, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L.
I found the operation of getting the length of the string right a bit awkward, but quickly got used to it, and in almost no time was able to turn a cluttered desk area into a mini-sweep, isolating my subject (yes, it's a banana; what can I say? I was hungry!)
We've got the bead: Beaded string and stopper holds the background up. Getting it right takes a bit of practice! Flip it around to switch from white surface to blue.
The plain white background can come in handy, but the flip side—a powdery blue—may work well if you need to knock out the background for stills or video.
The Novoflex Magic Studio doesn't come with a camera or lighting. That's strictly BYO. If you are looking for an inexpensive pair of desktop photo-friendly lights, consider the Lowell Ego LLE2LS two-light set, which will bathe your subject in diffuse continuous fluorescent light. If you are on a tighter budget, consider the Photoek
Need a bigger surface? The Novoflex Magic Stuido system is also available from Adorama in 39x20-inch (Adorama price: $89.99) and 31.5x47.25-inch (Adorama price: $224.95) sizes and operate on the same general principle.