I recently saw a brilliant webcast on the Etsy blog about photography tips and am slowly trying out my own interpretations of the same. I don’t know about you but lighting and poor colour integrity is a really big gripe I have with my photos. It may be that I’m still learning how to use my Canon EOS 500D so incompetence is playing a part!Still, I figured that if I could get all the other elements as good as possible, they would compensate for me! And lighting is the biggy. I live in a pretty small city flat, much akin to a shoe box, so natural light and shooting space is hard to come by. I look on in awe at other peoples crispy white backgrounds so when I saw this awesome little trick, I couldn’t resist. The photo above is the not so attractive result; please excuse the kitchen paraphernalia.
It was surprisingly quick to make and if you’ve got a cardboard box lying around doesn’t require a lot more effort. You need to create a series of windows in your box which work to diffuse artificial light and avoid those harsh shadows. I cut a 2″ border around the top and two sides of the box and taped tracing paper over the hole. You could also use a thin cotton or muslin fabric and it’ll have the same effect.
Then you can line the box with whatever backdrop you like. I went for crisp white by tacking A3 card onto the back and bottom of the box, but you could use any fabric, or string mini bunting along the back, depending on the look you want to achieve. It might be an idea to line the box with white paper first anyway to cut down on the orange-y box glow. Then light the box from the top, sides, or both. Here are my first few test shots:
I think they’re pretty good as a starting point. I’m hoping to improve the crispness by getting some daylight bulbs, and another light. The ikea halogens that came with the lamp pictured are still awfully orange. I read that a detachable camera flash is the best to use but i’m sure they’re way out of my price range at the moment.
As you can see the teacup is casting a slight shadow over the bow on my necklace and, as I only had the one light available, I used two mirrors to reflect the light where I needed it and brightened up the bow. Tinfoil or any reflective material would be just as good here.
Now, a very important point for shooting with artificial light, if you have a DSLR or are able to adjust the white balance on your digital camera, make sure it is set to tungsten (artificial lightbulb) to cut own the horrendous yellow tinge. Big relief when I found that little setting!
Then it’s just up to you to play with props, styling and backdrops to really bring out the character in your products. I can’t wait to really perfect my set up and take the stress out of shooting. Hope this is useful to someone out there and let me know if you have any top tips yourself, what do you use to photograph your own items?
P.S Preparation for the craft fair is coming along nicely. This weekend’s task is packaging and price tags. Hopefully I’ll have something funky to show you later in the week. 13 days to go!!!