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How to build a sofa support for great portrait photos ' s

The post ' How to build a bank support for large portrait photos ' s ' first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Simon Ringsmuth.

When I started with family and child photography, I thought I had covered all my bases. Between my cameras, lenses, locations and shooting lists, I thought I was ready to make some fantastic portraits that families would cherish for generations. Then I first ran to a practical problem for which I didn't really have a good solution; where are people All camera equipment in the world does not help in the right location without parents, children or high school students being able to sit and pose in their photos. I finally made my own solution, which went smoothly, and it is something that you can make in an afternoon with a few tools that you may already have in your garage.

Before I built sofas this way, I tried to use things I had, such as bar stools, folding chairs, and even the coffee table in the living room. None of these worked really well or looked very professional. When I realized that I could make my own couch supports, my portraits improved almost immediately.

This tutorial deals with a sturdy single-person bench that is 16 inches high, 16 inches deep and 18 inches wide. This design is easy to adjust if you want something wider, deeper or shorter, but it's a great place to start if you're looking for a simple option for one person.

This boy is sitting on a wider version of the couch that you will build in this tutorial.

Necessary materials

The wood and hardware that you need to make a photo bank are quite minimal:

  • Two 2 × 4 ' s, 8-foot long
  • 3/4-inch thick wood, 8-feet long and 11-inches wide. I like to use low shelves, but any comparable wood works great.
  • 1.5-inch deck screws
  • A saw to saw the wood

The signs on the right, plus some screws, are all you need to build the bank on the left. It is a simple afternoon project and your customers will appreciate having this very practical prop. I spent about $ 40 on the four pieces of wood at a local timber trade.

The following tools help you with the construction process, but your own situation may be different. This is what I used, but feel free to adjust where necessary. For example, you can use a circular saw instead of a miter saw. This is a fun project to do with someone else, so if you don't have any of these tools, you can ask a friend for help.

  • miter saw
  • Table saw
  • Drilling
  • Sandpaper or electric sander
  • Kreg Jig *
  • Kreg Jig screws 2.5 inch in length with coarse yarn *
  • If you do not use a Kreg Jig, you will need additional cutting deck screws with a length of 2.5 inches.
  • Wood glue (optional)

A table saw is really handy for ripping the practical racks to a uniform width of 3 inches.

* A Kreg Jig is one of many do-it-yourself projects, but if you don't have one yet, you probably don't have to buy one for this photo bank alone. Traditional wood screws are fine.

A view of the bank from below. You could probably make it from thinner, lighter materials, but it would be much less durable.

Phase 1: Cut the wood

For this photo bank you must cut the following pieces of wood in the following lengths.

A miter saw makes this project a lot easier, but other cutting tools would also work great.

  • 2 × 4 plates, 7.5 cm long – 5 pieces
  • 2 × 4 plates, 15-inch long – 4 pieces
  • 2 × 4 plates, 15.5 cm long – 4 pieces
  • 3/4-inch thick plates, 3-inch wide and 16-inch long – 8 pieces
  • 3/4-inch thick planks, 3-inch wide and 18-inch long – 12 pieces

It is a lot easier to first cut everything and then assemble the couch in one go.

Phase 2: Build the frame

If you have a Kreg Jig, you can use it here to construct the frame of the sofa. But if that is not the case, you can only use traditional screws. If you want an extra firm grip, you can also use wood glue in the joints, but that is not necessary. However, I would recommend that you do not use nails, as they will loosen over time and you want this sofa to be as sturdy as possible.

A Kreg Jig is really handy, but not necessary.

If you go with this method, you must use your Kreg Jig to drill two holes in each end of the 15-inch, 2 × 4 planks.

15-inch cards with two pocket holes in each end.

When you have finished placing pocket holes in the 15-inch boards, repeat the process with the 7-inch boards.

7-inch cards with two holes in each end.

Once your pocket holes are ready, you can start mounting the frame of the sofa. Attach a 15.5-inch board to each end of one of the 15-inch cards to create a U-shape.

This shape forms a side of the couch.

Repeat the process with the other two 15.5-inch board and another 15-inch board. When done, you have two identical U-shapes.

Both sides of the couch, not yet attached to each other.

If you don't have a Kreg Jig, or don't want to make the effort to use pocket holes, you can use regular screws to attach the 15.5-inch cards to the 15-inch board. As long as you end up with two U-shaped pieces as shown above, you'll be fine.

After creating the U-shapes, attach the other 15-inch board to the open side, but rotate it 90 degrees as shown below.

Attach the second 15-inch board to the open side of each U shape.

Repeat this step with the other U-shape, which gives you two of these square pieces as you can see in the following image.

These form the sides of the sofa and you must attach them by first securing all 7-inch cards on one side.

I find it easiest to attach all five 7-inch cards on one side and then attach the entire assembly to the other side.

Again, I like to use a Kreg Jig and pocket holes, but you might as well use regular board screws to do this. Do not worry too much about the appearance, as if you are using deck screws, you will not really see them in the end product. They are covered with the slats that you attach in phase 3.

The finished frame, upside down on my table saw, that also serves as a small workbench.

If you finally use a hole in the bag, you can work in some very small situations if you put the screws in it. An angle confirmation for your exercise can be a huge lifesaver in this step! When you're done, turn the device over and you're ready to attach the slats to the sides.

The support in the middle gives the bank extra support. Children can jump on this thing all day and it will not be harmed.

It is important to know that this sofa is both sturdy and aesthetically designed, as you can see in the photo above. You might find something similar in a store, but it probably won't be built so solidly. It will also not withstand years of use and abuse.

Also note the extra 7-inch plate on top, which you can see in the photo above. This provides even more structural support for the bank, so that it does not collapse under the weight of people who use it over the years.

Phase 3: Attach the slats

Once you have built the basic frame, you can become a little creative in how you want to finish everything. I like to stitch the boards about 1/2-inch apart, but you can put yours closer or further away. However, I would not go too far, especially at the top where people will sit.

Attaching the boards is fairly simple: just place them in the desired location and secure them to the deck with the screws. Other types of screws would also work, but I like cutting deck screws because they are self-tapping and hold very tightly. Nails can work for this step, but I prefer screws on the deck because of their firmer grip.

I like to use four slats on each side and the top and to set them apart at 1/2-inch spacing. But this is also up to you. You can use fewer cards and make them wider. Or you can use multiple thin plates or a giant board that covers the entire surface. It's up to you, and don't be afraid to get a little creative. In this example, the 18-inch cards are attached to the front, top, and back, while the 16-inch cards are placed on the sides.

Drilling holes in the drill holes will increase the working time required for this step, but it will prevent the wood from cracking and splitting when you install the screws. When you are finished, all the basic work is complete.

In the background you see a couch with some holes that I have cut out to make it easier to carry.

I recommend sanding the entire sofa to smooth out any rough edges. If you have a jigsaw, you can cut holes to wear as you can see in the photo above.

Phase 4: finishing

Now that you have built the standard bench, the air is your only limit in terms of how you want the final product to look. I like to use tea coloring, which is not expensive, non-toxic and gives the wood a beautiful, aged look. However, the results are inconsistent, so you can give preference to real wood stains or even paint.

This is your chance to change the look of your couch, so have fun and be creative!

Your customers will appreciate having a nice place to sit, stand or otherwise pose when you take their photos. And as a bonus, they will be double impressed if you tell them that you made the bench yourself!

We would like to see some photos of your bank as soon as you have built it. Please share with us in the comments below.

The post ' How to build a bank support for large portrait photos ' s ' first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Simon Ringsmuth.

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