Martin Sotelano

Dome for small items

Dome for small items

Build your own accessory:

DOME FOR SMALL PRODUCTS

 

Nowadays it is easy and common to sell things we are not using any more on internet markets such as E-bay© , it can be large items but small too.
It is usually complicated to take a photograph of small objects for many reasons such as finding the right light, with no shadows; keeping the camera still to avoid blurring pictures, if the objects have a reflecting surface we need to take care not to be in the picture by reflection, and more.


As we did see before, if our smartphone has a camera with certain technical characteristics, it will be possible to take very good pictures with it in order to use them on internet and leaflets, flyers, and more.
Coins, jewellery, stamps, small ornaments, gems, flowers, details of large objects and many more things will be easy to photograph.
We only need to find the way to solve the problems we already mentioned.
Keeping the camera still is a big problem as the mobiles are designed to be held by one hand and they are usually very thin which makes it very complicated to hold.
In addition, the shutter button is not easy to access as it is usually on the screen.
A traditional camera is easier to hold because of its shape, the shutter buttons have easy access and they usually include the tripod adaptor.
However, in this project we will turn these disadvantages to advantages.

The idea of the dome is quite simple and you will find commercial options of it, such as “Cloud Dome” (http://www.clouddome.com/)
However, to build our own dome, we will spend just a few pounds or nothing if we already have the materials at home and we do not use them anymore. Recycling is always a good idea.
As you can see in the pictures, the principle of the dome is quite simple. It is finding an object that we can use to cover the item we want to take a picture of.

It needs to be translucent but with no colour. It can be white, sometimes this is better.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

 

  • I did use a 4 litre mixing/salad bowl, an 8 litre can be used too and it will be better if you want to take pictures of ornaments.
  • We also need four bolts and eight nuts. They need to be at least 20 mm long.
  • Some rubber bands, twelve will be nice; can be less, but no less than four.

We will need some tools too:

  • A screwdriver
  • A drill river
  • An adjustable wrench or combination pliers or similar
  • Two drill bits, one to make a hole of the size of the screws, so it will depend of the size of the screw you choose, and another to make the hole for the lens of your smartphone, I will say no smaller than Nº 13 but not bigger than Nº 22.
  • A snap off knife or similar
  • A pencil or a felt pen
  • As we are going to drill the bowl, wearing a pair of protector glasses will be wise.

Shall we start?

If we choose to build the dome with the salad/mixing bowl, the first thing we need to do is to cut off the small border which is to keep the bowl stable on the table, as a base when we use it as a bowl.
We need to cut it off as we need that surface plain (the base of the bowl) in order to keep the phone perpendicular to the item we will take a picture of.

As the bowl is made of a soft plastic, it will be easy just to use the knife to cut it. Be extremely careful as those knives are really sharp and we do not want to tint the bowl with a red colour.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Always trim the border using the knife away from your body.
The next step is to draw four points, like the vertices of a square on the base of the bowl.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

I will suggest drawing them outside of the circumference where the border was.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Now we will make the four holes using the drill drive and the drill bit of the size of your bolts.

 

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Ok, we now will make the hole for the camera (lens). It needs to be in the middle.
Change the drill bit to the Nº 13 or bigger and carefully make the hole.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Once we finish we will proceed to insert the bolts but with a nut already inserted half way of the length of the bolt.

Phone Mobiles Photography course
Phone Mobiles Photography course

We will use the other bolt to fit it.

Fit the camera to the dome

As we mentioned before, the shape of the smartphone, in this case, is perfect to fit in to the dome.
We will use the rubber bands to hold the smartphone simply attaching them from one bolt to another.

Phone Mobiles Photography course
Phone Mobiles Photography course

Slide the smartphone gently with the screen facing up.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Turn on the camera application and be sure the lens is aligned with the hole.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Using the dome

Using the dome is quite simple, just put the object you want to take a picture of inside the dome facing to the top, where the camera is, and using the camera application just take the picture.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

Try to find a place with a nice light, it will help you to take better pictures, I will not recommend you to use under the sunlight, as it is too strong. You probably will not see the screen of the smartphone properly either.
Nevertheless, you can use it in the shadows where the light is soft and you can see the screen properly.
If you think you will use the dome a lot I will recommend you to buy some led lights.
You can get very cheap “Stick and Click” Led Lights with three led on each of them that will do the job perfectly.
Alternatively, you can get a pack of three “wind up” 3 led torch light. They are used on bicycles, camping, picnic, etc. You will save money on batteries and take care of the environment at the same time.

Phone Mobiles Photography course

 

Distribute the lights around the dome, more or less ten centimetres (four inches) from the dome and you will get a very nice light.

 

Be creative

Remember always to explore different possibilities.
With the dome, you can use anything as a background: A piece of cloth, grass, sand, carpets, anything.

Phone Mobiles Photography course
Phone Mobiles Photography course
Phone Mobiles Photography course

 

DOME FOR SMALL PRODUCTS

Samples

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