If you have followed my posts then you probably know I am not a product photographer, nor do I typically photograph still life images, art objects or food. There are times, however, I have wanted to have some fun shooting flowers or other objects on a solid white background. That is how I came upon the Impact Desktop Shooting Table.
The aluminum table with a plexiglass top provides a convenient and affordable solution for photographing smaller objects on a white background. It folds up relatively small and thin, with the plexiglass dimensions at 24” x 36”. When the table is open, the legs stand 7” tall. It can be easily stored or carried on location, and is relatively lightweight at 6.9 pounds. The table does not necessarily have to be used on a table or desk. I sometimes place it on a floor, particularly if I am lighting the table with natural light from a window in my house.
Setting It Up
I did find the table somewhat awkward to assemble. The plexiglass is a very tight fit over the frame and difficult to attach. Holes must be lined up with a peg, and hooks attached to the bottom. The holes did not fit well, and the hooks were difficult to stretch and pull onto the frame.
The plexiglass has both a matte side and a glossy side. It scratches easily and so care must be taken with the glossy side. Because of the size of the table, and the way the plexiglass curves over the frame, there is only a very small flat area to work with, which can be problematic for some objects you may want to photograph.
There are different lighting solutions that can be used with the table—natural light with reflectors, studio lights, off-camera flash units, continuous lights on stands, or clip-on lights. Lights can easily be placed on the sides of the table, in the back, and underneath. Studio lights and off-camera flashes will need light stands and modifiers to diffuse the light and to cut down on harsh shadows. The bowl of cherries was photographed with off-camera flash units with diffusers, positioned on either side of the table.
Clip-on lights can be clipped anywhere. You just need to find a support. With some clip-on lights, depending on where the clip is, you may be able to clip the light to the sides of the table. I put the shooting table on my dining room table and attached clip-on lights to the tops of the dining room chairs. There is a tab with a hole on both the right and left side of the shooting table. I would presume a small pole could be placed in the hole with a clip-on light attached, although I did not try it. I was able to attach a clip-on light onto each tab. The plum was shot using three clip-on lights, with one light placed on dining room chairs on either side of the table and one at the foot of the table.
The beauty of the table is that you don’t have to have a lot of fancy lighting equipment to use it. Soft light from a window or open shade in the backyard, and a white or silver reflector is all you should need to get started. The flower was photographed using natural light from a window, with a silver reflector catching the window light and bouncing it back to the flower to fill in the shadow areas.
I suggest experimenting with different lighting solutions to see what works best in what situations, and to learn how to place the lighting to get the results you would like. For those in need of lights, the table is available in a kit with lights and stands.
Why Buy It
If you are interested in photographing jewelry, art or other objects, food, or flowers on a white background, in your home or on location, and want the convenience of a small table you can fold up and easily store and carry, at an affordable price of $89.95, the Impact Shooting Table might be what you are looking for. Or, you may enjoy using the table just because you want to have fun trying something new.