Custom shooting table

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Flotsam, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I don't know if anyone here has the slightest interest in tabletop but I spent many years doing product photography and still enjoy playing with multiple light studio setups. I recently ran across most of the disassembled pieces for this table that I used to use and, after a trip to Home Depot to fill in the missing bits, I spent the day restoring it back to working order.

    I always found that, even though everybody uses them, standard desk or dining height tables are awful for photography, either too high or too low for most shots. Since I was doing this eight to ten or more hours a day, I decided to purpose build a table expressly for convenience and versatility while shooting with a view camera. This one quickly converts from 21" high for shooting down from a higher angle without having to resort to using a step stool behind the camera to 37" for shooting more straight-on and it even folds up when you need the extra floorspace. It holds the seamless without using extra light stands and has a thick pegboard tabletop for poking up wires and rods to "invisibly" support or suspend product. I used this table every day when I worked as a full-time, in-house corporate teddy bear photographer for a major teddy bear company (yeah, really) and it made my work incalculably easier. Now I look forward to using it for more creative still lifes.

    Here are some photos*, hastily taken in advance of and approaching thunderstorm. The camera is there just for scale.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    *Please pardon the lousy photos. They were taken with a digigizmo that I got for a present last christmas and haven't touched since. I notice that it has a "record audio" feature. If that had been turned on while I was taking these crapshots, this post would definitely have had to be moderated for the non-stop string of profanity that I was uttering. :mad:
     
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I like it!

    I'm planning on building something like that in my garage (if I ever get it cleaned out)
    to do some still life work on.

    Very Nice.......

    Jim
     
  3. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I speak from recent experience...
    Cleaning out the garage is a far more formidable job than building the table. :smile:
     
  4. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    5,308
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Neal,
    Thanks for the post. I don't have a garage, but am planning on cleaning out my basement - just as formidable - to move my little attic studio down there. I am sick of hitting my head and shoulders on the beams. And I ain't that tall!!
    Your table's backdrop support is probably higher than my ceiling joists, but I think the design is workable for me also.
    Again, thanks for the idea.
    gene
     
  5. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ya know, Sean ought to set up a seperate forum for apug members that have come up with great ideas like this that want to sell them. There could be those lens sock thingys, this table, mayebe even talk Jeremy into making light boxes, who knows? We are inventive and we all have great ideas once in a while. Most of us are not in it for the big commercial end of it, but would like to pocket a few extra dollars towards film.
     
  6. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

    Messages:
    1,627
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Boy that apparatus reminds me of to many sore backs. Years of being bent over getting everything just right. Then an art director sitting in the shadows comfortably dictating changes. Endless detail changes, mind numbing hours of miniature movements.
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    Gene,
    That is the benefit of building it yourself. In exchange for the effort. you get to adapt it exctly to your fit your space and needs.

    Aggie,
    After spending the day rebuilding this one and ending up sunburned, mosquito bit and sore backed, I doubt if anyone would be willing to pay the million dollars that it would take to coax me to build another :smile:. I'm just offering it up as an idea for other do-it-yourselfers to copy, adapt and improve on.

    Thomas,
    Pretty accurate description. That's why I built this table. Even a little added convenience and saved effort goes a long way when you are repeating the motion a hundred times. (Look at the GG, tweak the set, Look at the GG, tweak the set, Look at the GG, tweak the set and on and on and on):rolleyes:
     
  8. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,439
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great table! Did you make the table height completely adjustable or just 2 position?
     
  9. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    Thanks, Bob.
    No, It just has the two positions. The back of the tabletop slides up and down in a channel so additional positions are simply a matter drilling a couple of holes. However the legs at the front just have two lengths, the the 37" just swing down and lock in place. I'm sure that with a little thought it could be made continuously adjustable but that would take it to another whole level of design and construction sophistication. I subscribe to the KISS principle.