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I posted this in Blogs & Blogging, but did not get any response, so I am hoping you all will be willing to share!
What method do you use photograph your projects? Have you invested in a light box, or just use natural light? Do you prop up your project, or shoot from above? Do you use a plain background, or try to add something that goes with the theme of your project? There are some great photos in the gallery, so I know that there are some experts out there. Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated.
(if there is already a thread about this topic, please share the link. Search did not find anything). Thanks!
Where I live when not at SplitCoast: Pink Persimmon
I know there have been discussions about this before. I've been searching the forums for days, but can't find any previous threads. Hopefully someone will answer because I've been wondering that, too. My pictures never look right.
I'm not a very good photographer but I seem to have the best luck when I prop them up in an area that I made. It's kinda like a black box except the top and one side is open. I have black paper on the back and two sides and on the bottom. At least I don't have a lot extraneous stuff in the background.
I usually photograph mine in front of my window. I bought a small display easel, only cost a couple of pounds, and use that to stand my projects on, usually.I put a piece of cardstock behind in either a neutral or contrasting colour. I used to scan them, that works too.
I use two white poster boards that I put on my couch and depending on what the project is either prop them up or lay them down. I use natural lighting to photograph them. It is an elementary way but it works for me.
I finally purchased a very inexpensive light box after being so unhappy with the quality of my card pictures. Lighting is key, and the light box came with two small high intensity lamps that work well for me. I usually use a small plate holder or a "frog" (old flower arrangement holder) to stand the card up. Adding somthing to the display is really a personal opinion choice. Before I got the light box, I used an old white sheet as a background for interesting folds and dimensions. White usually "pops" the card as opposed to a black background. Hope this helps.
I have two white foam boards taped together with clear wide tape. I set it up one flat and one in the back, near a window. I use a tripod most of the time, but have gotten good photos by just holding the camera. I use the ISO setting (for taking photos in low light conditions). I have a Kodak DX7630 Digital Camera; it's small, nothing fancy, and no special lens. I'm sure most cameras have this setting, mine is in the section of the menu that says Scenes. Found this by accident while trying different functions on the camera. Hope this helps someone.
When photographing my cards, I usually take them out on the front stoop and stand them up on the brick wall next to our steps. I do it in the afternoon, when the sun isn't glaring on them. Cloudy days work well too. As for my scrapbook layouts, I'm going to try doing the same thing next time I photograph them.
If it's a still day outside I like to pose my art in front of or on my thick spruce trees which make for a very cool background. Inside I use a three sided box that I can wrap with either white or black cloth depending on what I am putting in it....
Location: Mt Albert, north of Toronto, Ontario, Can
I use a cheap light box with white fabric draped inside set up with large construction lights. They are very yellow so I always set my white balance to tungsten (light bulb symbol) and also colour correct them later as well. I'd recommend day light bulb lamps if you can.
I stand my cards up and try to photograph them head on meaning as straight in front as possible. So my angle is lower for a side fold card than for a top fold one. This prevents distortion of the lines. I love seeing other peoples cards taken at an angle, for some reason that doesn't work for me unless I am photographing the details.
I recommend macro mode on a POS camera or a fast (low max aperture like 1.8 or 2.4) macro lens for a DSLR camera. If you have a DSLR, setting your aperture makes a huge difference in how your picture looks. If you normally shoot in auto, try out aperture priority mode! It lets you control the ISO and aperture but figures out the rest. Low numbers like 1.8, 3.5 etc will give you that tight focus on your focal point with the rest of the card's focus blurring away from that center point. If you set it up at 4+, you will start getting more of the card in focus. All of this depends on how far away you are too as the further back, the more of the card is in focus and vice versa. These are just the settings I've used. I use small numbers for details and larger ones for the whole card and even higher numbers for photographing a 3-D project or a group of cards like 8.0. If you have a card with very dimensional bellies on it, treat it like a 3-D project if you want it all in focus. This principle works with groups of people too. Use higher apertures for larger groups to get everyone in focus.
If you find you photos are blurry, especially at higher aperture numbers, use a mini tripod and self timer to take your pictures. The camera is compensating for low light caused by a small aperture (large numbers reflect a small size opening to let light through) by opening the camera's shutter for longer. Any hand shake is recorded as blur where with a faster shutter, there isn't time for the camera to record that movement because it isn't open long enough.
A too small aperture can also cause blurriness. Look carefully at your photo. Is anything in focus? Even a tiny element? Perhaps the rest is blurry because you have too much of that artistic blurriness (called bokeh) where the focus is tight on one element then fades out around that. Your tight focus area may be smaller than you want or in the wrong place. A damaged lens can also cause this but if some photos are ok but others aren't, that clearly isn't the problem.
If you like to add props to your photos, you can use the principles above to determine where to place them based on whether you want them in focus or not. The further away you place them, to the side or back to front, the more blurry they will appear!