Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photoshoot On My Desk.

I spent most of yesterday photographing new painted ceramic pieces to post in my Etsy shop. Normally I take pictures outside using natural light, but 15 degrees is not my idea of prime picture taking weather. Instead I made a tabletop light box (light cube, macro photo box, mini photo studio).

Here's a little Behind the Scenes How To ...
I used two pieces of white foam core board to build a small box.

QUICK TIP: Foam core is paper glued to stiff foam glued to paper. If you carefully cut through just the paper on one side, position the cut along the edge of a table and press down firmly you can create a 90 degree angle, making two sides for your box with one piece of board.

I then cut a piece that was the width of the box and half the height. This provides stability – also known as keeping the box from collapsing on itself – and allows me to "hang" backdrops (in this case a piece of handmade paper) using tape or bulldog clips.
Next I cut windows in the sides of the box for my light sources. Direct light from a flash or lightbulb creates a lot of glare and harsh shadows, causing you to lose details in your subject. Lining the window with tissue paper, velum, parchment paper, a white sheet or anything translucent will diffuse the light, making it softer and more flattering on your subject.

(SAFETY NOTE: Please don't put your light source right against whatever translucent material you choose. That would be a fire hazard.)
There are probably better, easier, faster ways to build a tabletop light box, but I'll be the first to admit I don't excel in three dimensions. Still, this method worked well for the majority of the shots I wanted to take.
Another alternative to a light box is natural light through a window. It just so happens we have a huge window, so I made use of that for a several "in use" photographs.
You probably already have areas in your home with "scenes" you can use to create similar photographs. The tops of bookcases ...
... or end tables, for instance. I need to get a better photographer's assistant – my current guy keeps falling asleep on the job.
Anyway, I could have set up something similar in the light box for these images, but using the natural light worked just as well.

So that's my little tutorial on making a light box and taking photographs of objects indoors. Hope you found it helpful and thanks for stopping by!

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