I’ve had some mixed experiences with kickstarted projects. I’ve back a camera app that has dramatically changed direction from it’s initial release. I’ve had a notebook and pencil holder delivered early, I’ve back campaigns that didn’t get enough funds and I’ve also had projects overrun (with no end in sight). That’s part of the nature of Kickstarter, you back ideas but don’t necessarily expect to get a perfect product on time.
So when I backed the Foldio studio last year I was cautiously optimistic about it arriving and as expected. Well a couple of weeks ago it did arrive. In case you missed the initial post, Foldio is a foldable studio for taking high quality product photos on the go.
What I Like
The premise of Foldio is that it is a super light and portable photography studio that is targeted at those who need to regularly take photos of small items, such as online shop owners, those who sell jewellery or figures. The device lives up to this premise and is small, light and portable enough to be taken in a backpack if you need to head off somewhere to take photos of some products.
I went for a set containing 4 different coloured backgrounds but there is another option which gives you more colour backgrounds (sacrificing one LED light stick). The different colours are a nice touch if you are using the device often, you can show some variety on your promotion pictures.
As the devices uses magnets to hold it in place it is really quick and simple to set up. All you need to do is take the Foldio out of its carry bag, unfold a couple of flaps, move them next to each other so they lock in place. Insert your background and then plug a battery to the LED strips and your ready. Very easy.
The LED lights are also much more powerful than I had anticipated. They really luminate the foldio and whatever object you are taking a photo of. Although my set came with two LED strips you really only need one as they are so bright. They permanently attach onto the foldio with a strong adhesive strip.
What I Don’t Like
Although the product in the whole is really well conceived there are a few little issues with the implementation (and a couple of user errors). The first thing that surprised me (which really shouldn’t have) is that it is smaller than I expected. I had tried to fit the groovboard into it for some promo shots…it didn’t fit. I was (unrealistically) expecting something about twice the size. Of course, this would add a lot to the overall size and greatly reduce portability but the overall lesson is don’t expect to fit larger objects inside.
Another issue which reduced the size of image that you can take is the presence of gaps in the side of the foldio once it is assembled. To compensate, I have used the background screens round lengthways but as you get 4 unique colours, you can’t really use two different colours. Instead you have to take closer pictures, reducing the size of the item you can use.
I also had to fiddle a bit to insure the magnets would hold in place. Although they are strong, when you assemble the foldio you need to place them in a certain order to insure it is stable. I’m still learning how I can find this position quicker and set up the device faster. It rather limits the speedy deployment of the device (especially when you add in the awkward set up of the ).
The final issue is with the lighting. In general photography, it’s a good idea to have a light to light the background as well as one in front of the object. It makes it appear more professional. If you get the set with a single LED strip, you can’t do this. If you get the strip with two (like me) you can…if you can figure out how to position the strip well so it still folds. You also only have once change as when you remove the sticky strip…it’s stuck. I didn’t set mine up perfectly and now it will always be that way.
I know some of these issues are self inflicted and down to user error, but if you want to create a simple to use device for anyone then you need to make it idiot proof. So far it is not strong enough to avoid this idiots errors.
If you sell small products online and regularly take product pictures but don’t want to have to pay for costly backlighting and screens, then this device will improve the quality of product images you take. The simple design, great LED strips for lighting and quick to set up system is great for the small Etsy or ebay seller.
However, if you are looking to sell objects that are around the size of legal pad or larger, you’ll probably need a different solution. The Foldio just isn’t quite right for larger items, if you are interested in getting one then sign up to the mailing list at orange monkie.