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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Photographing Craft Projects

A couple weeks back Caca asked me how I photograph my projects so today I'm going to try to answer that question. First you should know, I am not a professional photographer nor do I claim to be. However, I have been taking photos of my projects for over five years now so I've learned a few tricks along the way. Here goes. . .

The Set Up

Almost all my projects are photographed by a window with natural light or outside, no flash.

*First I place a large white poster board on the table for a blank slate.

*Next I set up a bi-fold Foam board. This reflects the light and helps prevent shadows.

* I like to use scrapbook paper for my backgrounds since it's inexpensive and comes in so many styles . Some times I use fabric too. I try to stay away from prints that are too busy.


* Once I have everything set up, I find the best light. Since I've been doing this for a while now, I already know what window and time of day works best for me. This is something you'll have to troubleshoot on your own.

*Last I will angle the entire setup for the best light. I'll simply turn the bottom poster board to find the optimal light. Often I'll take a few pictures, see how it looks, and adjust accordingly.

Photo Editing

If the colors or lighting don't come out the way I like, I'll edit the pictures with Photoshop. Above is an example of this, the top picture was not edited, the bottom one was.

*First I adjust the lighting with the manual levels option.

*Next I'll dodge and burn (lighten & darken) specific spots. For example if a shadow is too dark, I'll lighten it up with the dodge tool.

*Last, I'll crop the photo to the size I want.

There are a lot of great sites online that dive deeper into these topics. If you're just starting out, I recommend iheartfaces and Photojojo for detailed tutorials.


Abbi said...

Thanks for the ideas! I am still working to improve my photography. Sometimes I think I need to get a better camera and other times I think I need to work better with what I have.

zakkalife said...


I used to have a little HP travel camera that I used for my blog pictures. Don't get discouraged, it is doable. But if you think you'll be using your camera for work/blog a lot, it's worth the investment.

emma @ frog, goose and bear said...

great post - thanks! I love your little make shift photo studio!

Hoppin' Up said...

Looks a lot like my photo studio! Maybe I'll try a coloured background too sometimes. Thanks for this sneak peek in the Zakka Life kitchen!

Caca said...

Jessica, thank you so much for the tips. I appreciate it.

Amber Greene said...

Thanks Jessica. I've been trying to set up my photo stuff in my new house and light is so different. Love the idea of the back up foam board. Where do you get this kind of thing? I also love scrapbook paper for backgrounds!! THanks again. Amber (MamaMoontime)

Natalie said...

Thanks for the great tips. I am just starting and need all the help I can get. This will be a good starting point for me.

Suzanne said...

This was incredibly helpful. You made a studio with next to nothing and it really makes a huge difference in the quality of your photos.

Amy @ Living Locurto said...

Great tip! Thanks for the shout out for I Heart Faces:-)

Liliana Lunares said...

¡Muchas gracias por estos consejos? son unos trucos muy pr├ícticos.
Thanks for these great tips.
Hugs from Spain

zakkalife said...


You can get the foam board at most craft stores. You probably can find it at office supply stores as well. I use the Elmer's bi-fold board. If you can't find bi-fold board, you can always tape two pieces of foam board together to make it open and close.


carla said...

What I don't know about taking good photographs is a lot. I appreciate the tips. Thanks!

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