During the pandemic lockdown, I am photographing my guitar collection. I started a guitar podcast and blog and I also decided to write a book about how to photograph guitars. Because of those things, I have been testing various products that might make photographing guitars (and other subjects a little bit easier.) Whether it’s guitars, or other products that you want to document with your camera, you’re going to constantly be dealing with how to light things and how to deal with reflections and/or specular highlights. If you are a portrait photographer and need to be able to photograph people in a controlled environment, and you have very little space to work with, then a photo booth also comes to mind.
The Impact Photo Pro LED Booth 400 is a real problem solver. It takes the guesswork out of setting up a nicely lit photograph. It can be used for product or people photography, still life, macro, etc. And at $300 it’s a bargain. Here’s why I say that.
I used it to make the guitar photographs that accompany this post. One of the reasons I wanted to try using this booth is that I need a constant setup in my studio that I know I can use without a lot of hassle. I want that set up to allow me to photograph all the guitars in my collection under similar circumstances so there is continuity in the imagery. This unit fits that bill perfectly.
Let’s look at the specs of the Impact Photo Pro LED Booth:
47 x 39 x 78″ Booth
Daylight Balanced: 5600K LED Lights (eight in total)
Fully Enclosed, Dimmable LED Strips
Bright Silver Interior Maximizes Output
White, Black & Blue Vinyl Backgrounds
LED Strip Diffusers
Large Front Diffuser & 2 Strip Diffusers
Portable with Included Carry Case
As I said, this booth could be used for a variety of things, including portraiture, but for me and my particular use case, it’s ideal for guitar and product photography. The obvious limitation is that it is designed for verticals, but creative camera work can literally turn that on its end and you can position the instruments for what ends up looking like horizontal framing.
The box it comes in is quite heavy. That’s because the included parts are very well made. Inside the box you find the following:
4 x H1 Rod
4 x H2 Rod
4 x Depth Rod
4 x Width Rod
5 x Pole Connector
9 x Corner Connector
3 x Background Connector
3 x Background Clip
8 x LED Strip
8 x Dimmable Power Supply
3 x Backdrop
2 x Diffuser Strip (Height)
2 x Diffuser Strip (Width)
Extra Magnet for LED Strip
While this product surely could be used on location, it’s not something I would enjoy setting up and tearing down on a regular basis. That said, it’s not terribly difficult to set up. My experience tells me that these sorts of things always look good on the camera store website, but they can be a nightmare to set up and actually use. That is NOT the case with the Impact Photo Booth.
It can be done with one person although there are a few times when a second set of hands would be helpful. I put it together from start to finish in about 40 minutes and could easily shave 15 minutes off that time if I did it more often.
My first piece of advice is that you should actually read (carefully) the instructions for setup. They are well written and I found them helpful. But the most valuable piece of advice I can give you is that you should also watch the setup video on the B&H Photo product page. (https://bhpho.to/2ZiXtXM)
I watched the video twice just to be safe but unfortunately, I watched the video about half way into the setup process. I could have saved time and hassle if I had just watched it first. So do that.
Once the booth is set up, it’s a breeze to operate. Just place your subject inside the booth, turn on the LED light bars and start making images. The entire interior of the booth is finished with textured silver fabric that maximizes the output of the LEDs. It ships with white, black, and blue vinyl backgrounds but you can use any background you want as long as it fits. You can even hang fabrics if you prefer.
The booth is designed with one end being completely open, but there are flaps on each side that you can use to make images from the side angle. You can also use these flaps (or the main opening) to position your own lighting if you prefer.
While the LED light bars that are included with the Impact booth are fine, they are nothing special. In this price range one wouldn’t expect any different. But the design of the booth is such that these LED lights are sufficient for most tasks. There may be situations where they are too effective so each light bar cab be dimmed using a dimmer switch that is included.
If you’re looking for more precise control over the light direction and intensity, then you might want to use your own lights. For all of my projects, I found the included LED lights to be fine. I would like one more to backlight the guitar a little better, but I could simply re-position the existing lights if it became something I thought was important. The LED lights just attach to the cross bars with a magnet and yes, it really works and works well. It is surprisingly effective.
For $300.00, photographers can buy, setup and use an affordable yet highly effective solution for making portraits or product photos. For guitar photographers like me, it’s really a great solution. If you cannot afford a more complex, sophisticated setup, you can spend $300 and get yourself something that will do the job well. As an added bonus, if you are a beginner or new to product photography, this booth will make you look like a seasoned pro.
The Impact photo booth feels to me like something that was actually designed by a photographer. It is well constructed, and while I am not sure how long the LED lights will last, the cloth covering for the booth is very stout and I would doubt it would ever fail.
It’s a simple and even elegant solution that I think most photographers would really enjoy. Highly recommended.