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Foldio is a mini portable studio perfect for product photography

The Foldio is a tiny portable light box for easy product photography.

Sites like Etsy and Ebay have made selling items online easy, but it's hard to reach customers without high-quality images of your product. Even though some sellers are willing to shell out the big bucks for a top of the line camera, they often don't have any clue how to light their items.

A new product is Kickstarting its way into entry-level product photography. The Foldio lightbox aims to help inexperienced photographers on a budget capture their items in the best light possible. Folding down flat enough to fit in a briefcase, the Foldio easily props up with the use of magnets.

A sheet falls diagonally down the interior of the box to give a horizonless clean background. LED lights stay on to illuminate the Foldio from the top, casting an even light across your product. The Foldio is made out of a waterproof material and the background sheets are washable, so you could use it for food photography as well.

Foldio is marketing directly to smartphone photographers. If you prefer to use your 8MP smartphone instead of purchasing a separate, pricey camera, you are not likely to shell out another $300 for a lighting set up. By keeping prices low — $34 for the basic white Foldio and a carrying case — Foldio is reaching out to the smartphone photography community. But Foldio could also be used with any other camera, and it's small enough to slide into any photographer's backpack.

Unlike other tabletop lightbox kits, Foldio is affordable and appears extremely easy to use. It's designed in such a way that you don't need a lot of knowledge about photography and lighting to take a good photo. And its design steps away from the common spring-loaded tents that can be tricky to fold back down.

One of the possible downsides of Foldio is that you will be getting the same light in every shot. But top-light bounced from the bright white sides is better than fluorescent lights or busy, distracting backgrounds. 

Any uncertainty about the need for Foldio will be quelled by taking one look at Foldio's Kickstarter numbers. As of this post, Foldio has raised over $68,000 of its $10,000 goal, appealing to artisans and photographers alike.

One limitation of Foldio is its size; measuring at 10.2 x 10.2 inches, the Foldio is not big enough for a lot of items, but for Etsy sellers with small product or others who need to take some well-lit macro shots, the forthcoming Foldio could be a good addition to your photography tool kit — smartphone or not.


Total comments: 24

Hold up, wasn't the 'Foldio' the name of a product created by one of the Teams on BBC's 'The Apprentice'? It was a folding chair or table or suchlike.


I wouldn't buy one because I only rarely shoot things like this but for what it's worth and speaking from personal experience, this thing will fold nicely and be easy to set up again, compared to the lightbox you build which won't be folding away as nicely and will be a pain to set up each time. You pay for the convenience and design.

Edited 6 minutes after posting

Need bigger size too. And also is the lamp using rechargeable A A battery? Also include the other color background as bonus


$27 for folded paper?! I wonder how much they want for the shipping? What are these guys smoking? And, they put the entire design on their site. Anyone can simply make it themselves out of cheap white poster board and contact cement.

1 upvote

a lot of this kind of stuff is "easy" if you've got the time and skill to build it.
It's been proven over and over that people will pay for convenience.
Heck ... just consider the fact that a lot of people prefer to use P-mode or a smarter equivalent instead of fiddling with aperture and shutter speed.

1 upvote

I hope this isn't typical of the level of innovation in Kickstarter projects. Nothing wrong with it, but the alternative--$35 collapsible box/tents have been on eBay for years. They're larger, but that just means softer light and the ability to shoot larger objects.

1 upvote

What's wrong with just taking a picture of your eBay item in the bath tub for a quick and dirty picture?


What a great idea. But how do you get modeling, how do you make one side lighter and one side darker to show the shape of the object?


Maybe this product will be the death knell for the grossly-overpriced PhotoStudio solutions.


Couldn't a guy just grab one of those folded up doughnut boxes from the pastry section?



that's probably what they did until their friends starting asking how they got their cool shots and they saw the possibility of earning a bit of money ...

1 upvote

Learn to light.


nice idea, but the LED lighting looks like a weak point. High quality LED lighting (with good color and sufficient brightness) is expensive, and having a heavy duty battery or power supply will make it no longer 'portable'.

If you just need a softbox / photo tent there are plenty to chose from on Ebay around this price level; including larger and more practical sizes.

1 upvote

It's only "weak" when compared to pro level equipment.
To the average smart phone user it's going to be a revelation ...


these sort of things are crutches for newbies and those who don't care to learn the craft of product shooting. You can do far better work with a couple inexpensive off camera flashes and some inexpensive foamcore board or just white craft paper.

These things are FINE if you want a sloppy shot for ebay I suppose (I honestly never noticed an increase in selling price with good photo's on ebay items. In fact I often suspected the opposite...people are fickle and thing Facebook quality photos are "good" photography.) And it's not bad for the price. However for a bit more cash and a few hours practice you can achieve far superior results even if using used flash units bought that a thrift shop (I have a number of those I bought for $5/ea & still use).

Google DIY product photography or visit a Flickr group "Creative Tabletop Photography". A useful group.

Last spend the cash to buy "Light: Science & Magic" by Fil Hunter. It's the best book for understanding lighting objects.


This product is for convenience, maybe some people simply don't care about learning about product photography? People have different needs and priorities. Why do we buy takeout when we can just make everything at home? Convenience.

Howard Prendergast

I think the main point may be that this is not designed for photographers but for the product seller who wants to capture images of a product cheaply. I am a professional photographer and I want to shoot every item and person I can and get paid for it, however, I understand that not every product needs a high end image to sell it. This product is fine for that.
I go after the clients who can and are willing to spend the money and don't wast time chasing those who have no photo budget to speak of. Where the quality is needed, the client will seek out the professional.


"These things are FINE if you want a sloppy shot for ebay I suppose..."
On the other hand, isn't a fair amount of sloppiness kind of reassuring when looking for used stuff?
I mean, it implies the photo is most probably of the actual item the seller is offering, rather than a photo from a promo brochure...

1 upvote

To foldio's creator: I can see you're using a 9V battery for the LEDs; this is a bit of a nuisance inasmuch you need to carry a thick battery besides and apart from the folded panels. (That is, if you don't forget the battery at home.)
So, hmm... what if you try to mount 3 lithium coin batteries side by side instead?
(e.g. CR2032: 3V, 240 mAh, 20mm D x 3.2mm H, 3 grams, about 50¢ ea. for 500 pc.)


I'm not very familiar with how much light generally lights a lightbox (whew), but I'm pretty sure they're going to need rather high-powered LEDs and run them hard for sufficient brightness to pull this off.

Runtime would suck big time with coin cells.

1 upvote

OK, Juhaz and Foldio's creator: I'll settle for 6 AAA alkalines, inside a thin tubular holder running next to the LEDs.
BTW, do you know what you'll find inside if you pry open a 9V batt? Six AAAA cells connected in series, indeed...
IOW, 6xAAA will run longer than a single 9V "transistor battery", besides fitting inside the device!


Better to use A A rechargeable battery

1 upvote

Looks pretty cool but, of course, needs to be larger.


This size is wonderful for watches and earrings. Nevertheless, rumor has that over the next few months we'll see sizes for wall clocks and necklaces, small trucks and furniture, yachts and refurbished space shuttles.

Total comments: 24
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