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Old 06-22-2020, 06:41 AM   #1
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Default photo trends - flat lays and props

As I'm looking through photos on social media, I suddenly feel like I am the only one who's just taking pictures of a card standing up with a white background.

Did I miss some universal memo that we're all doing flat lay photos with props now?

Do you prefer one 'style' of photo over another?

Those who take flat lay photos or add props to an upright photo, does collecting and arranging props become a new hobby in itself? 

Do you feel pressure to make the props different in every photo or do you have a standard set?
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Old 06-22-2020, 07:17 AM   #2
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If you check my gallery you can see that i take pics standing up. I used to put a basket of some sort behind my cards so people would not see what was in the background of the picture, like a Christmas tree, refrigerator or the tv on or someone sitting at the computer. LOL

I just recently bought a IKEA desk and put two potted plants in a corner of the desk. I now just take a pic of my cards with the potted IKEA plants for a background.

I always saw people using special cameras and lights along with the white back drop. People would post how much they spent on these items just to take pics of their cards. That stuff cost so much money I was not willing to spend that money just to post a picture on SCS of my card. I work with what I have a very old camera or my iphone.

But I must say I haven't seen pictures with cards laying flat, I think I did that years ago before I started buying thicker paper for card bases. With thick card bases, my cards don't lay flat for picture taking.


Guess I must visit the gallery to check out the new picture taking style.
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:21 AM   #3
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I know a lot of contributors "style" the setting for their card photos. For years, I 've just photographed mine against a black matte bg since I want the focus on the card...not the objects surrounding it. The other trend I have noticed(which I don't find pleasing) is the HUGE watermarks of the cardmaker's name, etc. splashed across a goodly portion of their card photo. I find it very distracting....guessing they don't want someone to "steal" their card/card design.
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:22 AM   #4
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Dina, you made me smile when I read your post. I've basically been thinking the very same things. For years I have preferred the standing card views with close cropping. On those rare times when lighting is great outside and the winds of the plains are still, I take advantage & might end up with a flat-lay view in natural daylight.

I agree that photo props & carefully arranged card/prop 'scenes' are becoming more & more common. I've often thought that since many people are doing videos on a very regular basis, it's probably just easier to snap flat layouts while all set up for the video process. In all honesty, I think I moved away from props years ago just to make the whole process move along quicker. CAS I suppose~    Plus, I'm sure it's possible that some design teams prefer a few accessories in the pics.  
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Old 06-22-2020, 09:52 AM   #5
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I know for SCS tutorials it's much easier to work with photos that are on a plain background (sometimes they have to be stretched to fit a template, for example - so if there is a branch there, or even wood grain, that will distort in an altered photo). I also do some cards for catalog samples and marketing, and those are sometimes cropped right to the edge of the card, so I'm used to taking photos straight on. I'm not feeling pressured in any way, just noticed that my cards stood out from others in a recent guest post and wondered if it mattered.
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Old 06-22-2020, 10:31 AM   #6
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I have noticed it and I figured it was just a quirk that if you were into it you'd do it and if not you would not.. I have a collection of "props" and sometimes I use them mostly when I have multiple items being photographed and the piece of lace is not wide enough to block the view of the clutter of props around the edges of the photo ha ha. ( I have some mini brush trees that make me happy to see so I use them during the winter mostly)

I do not do flat cards, my thought when I see them is I wonder if its glued or if they just play move the stuff after ( yeah, my mind wanders) I do however shoot tilted and angled things to show dimensions when things I make are not flat. to show depth.
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Old 06-22-2020, 11:19 AM   #7
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I take the majority of my pictures with the card stood on a small easel, with either a black or white piece of card behind it. On occasions I do take them lay flat, but that tends to be if I've made multiples of something. No, I don't dress mine up, I'm usually more concerned with getting extraneous stuff out of shot, lol.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:33 PM   #8
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I just use a white background and get as close as I can. If I want to save a photo I've seen (for casing), I usually crop off an object behind or near it. I don't want to have too print the other object. So, I prefer just the card or project.
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Old 06-22-2020, 05:24 PM   #9
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I take photos with my cards upright, no props. It takes too much time to stage the card and it doesn't seem worth it to me. When I look at photos of other people's cards, I don't care how it's taken, as long as I can clearly see the card itself in good detail.
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Old 06-22-2020, 08:01 PM   #10
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I'm lucky enough if I find time to make a card in the first place, so I'm certainly not going to push that luck by staging a photo shoot for the poor thing! I usually take the photo on the bar between my kitchen and living room, as that's where I have the best light. Behind the card is either the box that my Tim Holtz stamp positioner came in (it's kraft color and will stand up by itself) or a white very, very sturdy envelope (will lean basically upright against the corner of the wall), depending on the color of the card. That's as staged as it's gonna get.

If I was on a design team or attempting to sell my cards or something I may put more time and effort into it, but it's also incredibly possible that I still wouldn't bother...
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Old 06-23-2020, 05:32 AM   #11
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I like photos with simple props that go with the colours in the card and aren't too distracting. I very occasionally add one myself if I have something suitable. I don't mind whether they're flat or upright, I just envy their good lighting. Yes, I do have a light tent and daylight lamps, but no space to keep it set up, and the natural light here is not to be counted on. I prefer to take my own upright, but now that DH has his home work station in front of my best spot, I more often have to resort to flat. And then I wonder how people keep theirs looking flat unless they tape them closed or they are only card fronts.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:21 AM   #12
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Hmm, mine are ALWAYS flat so maybe I need to rethink my pics. LOL I just do whatever is quickest and fastest but maybe that's not the thing to do?
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:40 AM   #13
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I am not on a DT. If and the rare times I do take photo's of my cards I use anything as a prop that is convenient. I don't care if the cat is my easel, lol.

If I was on a DT or Social Influencer I would follow trends for the props. I would find the trend prop that I find the most influencing for my personality and to stay authentic. I definitely would follow trends because I would want to generate the type audience that is new and fresh. I have the mantra that those who you inspire will inspire you.

I do admit the flat lay photo's with prop's always catch my eye on Instagram over the white backgrounds and the card standing by itself.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:09 AM   #14
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I used to photo my cards standing up, but I also don't have a lot of room. I have a home made light box, but it is a pain to set up, since I don't have a "studio/ craft room." I noticed this trend too Dina, & I have been following it becauseit is easier to photograph my cards. Now, I just move my Tonic Glass Mat off my desk & I have a nice background for my cards. (An old desk covered with "marbled" contact paper) I use props too, that I try to match to the subject of the card, usually a pen though. I also use the pen to prop up my card for different angles & to be sure to get the dimension. I have noticed though, there are some cards, that just need to be photographed standing up. I then use designer paper- (A recommendation from Susie Australia). I use 2 sheets, 1 for the ground & 1 for the background, usually matching. As for collecting props, I have collected a few, but not that many. Special ones for Christmas & some things I just pull from my home decor for holidays or a knick-knack. I also use a block (Back of a rubber stamp) with my "logo" on it that I designed for my logo/watermark. I had it specially made with Magnuson- ( A company recommended by you, Dina)
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:59 AM   #15
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I sometimes like the props when they are some of the supplies used to make the card. I feel like that is not just an advertisement (which of course it is) but also makes it easy for me to figure out how they did the card without reading a long set of directions.

I also think that sometimes props may help focus the photo better. At times, I have difficulty with that.

The props often look pretty, but I don’t currently have the wherewithal to purchase props and time to set it up. I am just as happy looking at the card alone.


I do think it is important to put a watermark on your photo, and have it over at least part of the card. People have stolen photos and entered them in challenges in order to win a prize. And now, many fraudulent sellers are using other peoples photos in order to sell counterfeit goods. So the watermark may be a little distracting, but it is for good reason.
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:18 AM   #16
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Really interesting question Dina. I have noticed this too.

I am going to make a guess as a person who has only taken of pics of my cards for my own records:

If I am demo, or someone who earns based on the card art which is like marketing for me...I might make the effort to display it better. (a professional blogger, etc) Lime Doodle uses props and I find her choices enhance for example.

It can be good or bad. Some people go really far and then I am thinking the card is a prop for something else in the picture.

Second: It depends on what I am doing with the card.

If I wanted you guys to see my "work"...I would do what you do and keep it straight plain background. Esp if I was doing a technique demo. As a student, I want to see the biggest version of the card I can. I have been known to take my mag glass to look at cards on the computer if isn't. 

If I wanted to SELL the card, I might well "display" it just out of years of being in retail. Some people here are really good at it and if I was looking at a selling site it would promote the desire to buy it. But that is a skill. You can actually make the card look bad.

My two cents:

It can be bad for me personally if I am being introduced to the card in a thumbnail vs a large picture on a blog bc there is less card.

Someone here-I forget who, props hers on an easel on a white table outside on a large porch. I love that look. It is casual and elegant to me and just screams "relaxed"....like she was sitting on the veranda painting/coloring the panel and maybe left it there to dry....Which make me jealous as all get out LOL

Watermarks in the corner don't bother me. And many people who again may be demos, or sending it for posting in blogs or in mags, or selling it...etc I guess do have to be concerned about people casing but I dont know that you can really do much about that.

Across the image does...and honestly I am seeing that happen at the store sites across a stamp really obscuring it that I am considering buying. If you do that AND don't have clear sample cards...I have walked away. But I digress.

Some people really create little works of true art and displaying them kind of makes sense.
I totally agree with Cook22 about lighting. As a viewer, I am most interested in seeing a card in bright real light to appreciate the colors best. Esp color blended or water colors.

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Old 06-24-2020, 05:23 AM   #17
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When I first started doing the props with my photos, it was Lexy Daly of PTI, who talked about how to photograph your cards. She too used the product you used on her card. But with little space for me, I put things away immediately after use & to use the product can get frustrating at times after I've already put them away! LOL

I believe this is the post Lexi did at the time:
Design Team Tips With Lexi Daly – Papertrey Ink Blog
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:29 AM   #18
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Here is a photo tutorial by Yana Smakula:
Photo Tutorial | | Yana Smakula

And here is a tutorial on props by Yana:
Cardmaking Photography – Photo Props and Backgrounds I Love and Use (Photo-Heavy Post) | | Yana Smakula

These, along with the link to Lexi, (above) might help you understand why they do the props! <3
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Old 06-24-2020, 05:45 AM   #19
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"Did I miss some universal memo that we're all doing flat lay photos with props now?"

Even if there is such a memo (I know the comment is tongue in cheek) I'm not going follow it. I photos of my cards standing on an easel and will continue to do so.
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:19 AM   #20
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I basically take photos of my cards for my own gallery. I don't have the time, space, nor props to do anything fancy so I just take them flat (sometimes still in the plastic sleeve).
I appreciate the photos that are out there with props or easels.
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:38 AM   #21
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Quote:








Originally Posted by TLady
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When I first started doing the props with my photos, it was Lexy Daly of PTI, who talked about how to photograph your cards. She too used the product you used on her card. But with little space for me, I put things away immediately after use & to use the product can get frustrating at times after I've already put them away! LOL

I believe this is the post Lexi did at the time:
Design Team Tips With Lexi Daly – Papertrey Ink Blog





I went and looked at this link.
What are the tips?? is it just those 2 photos? not very informative or am I missing it?
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Old 06-24-2020, 07:44 AM   #22
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Most of the cards I make I use #110 white paper for a base. These cards don't lay flat at all. How do you get a card to lay flat? Or are people going back to thin based card stock?

Question of the day....How do you make a card lay flat without top layer popping up????

I did notice that the last time I did a major upload of cards I did take pictures of them flat on a wood tabletop because I was in a rush.

And a few didn't lay flat at all, the front popped up and I don't think that is a good look.
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Old 06-24-2020, 07:51 AM   #23
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Ok, things have changed over on Lexi's Blog, but what she taught is to use the product, like the colors you use on your cards---such as inks, markers etc. that you've used on your card, to draw your eye into your card. She is into photography... Kind of creating a collage affect in your photo with your items & your card. You can use other items, like dies in your photos too. Let me see if I can find it on my blog....
Yep, it is the same post that I used on my post the day I did my card.

Here is my post, using her technique in photography, but I did refer to her post already referred to here:
TLady Designs: Make It Monday #319, PLUS!
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:04 AM   #24
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Ok, here's a WHOLE BUNCH of sites you can filter through on the topic:

design team tips on lay flat photography - Google Search
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:10 AM   #25
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Quote:








Originally Posted by lesliespringer
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Most of the cards I make I use #110 white paper for a base. These cards don't lay flat at all. How do you get a card to lay flat? Or are people going back to thin based card stock?

Question of the day....How do you make a card lay flat without top layer popping up????

I did notice that the last time I did a major upload of cards I did take pictures of them flat on a wood tabletop because I was in a rush.

And a few didn't lay flat at all, the front popped up and I don't think that is a good look.




Sometimes, my cards pop up, but I use my Logo Stamp(Wood Stamp), as a water mark & I ALWAYS have that stamp over lapping my card some. It usually holds down an edge too. Just my way of doing this! <3
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Old 06-24-2020, 09:34 AM   #26
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Quote:








Originally Posted by lesliespringer
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Most of the cards I make I use #110 white paper for a base. These cards don't lay flat at all. How do you get a card to lay flat? Or are people going back to thin based card stock?

Question of the day....How do you make a card lay flat without top layer popping up????

I did notice that the last time I did a major upload of cards I did take pictures of them flat on a wood tabletop because I was in a rush.

And a few didn't lay flat at all, the front popped up and I don't think that is a good look.



A bit of temporary tape inside the card. Carefully removed.

I’m not a blogger, don’t sell, and my photos aren’t good - just a gallery record (which is why I try to list all supplies), and if anyone happens to enjoy them or wants a link that makes me happy. So I don’t get a vote.

But as a blog visitor (or rarely other social media), whether a card is flat or upright isn’t on my radar, doesn’t matter in the slightest. Neither does the staging, though occasionally I’ve been distracted by staging.

Dini’s question reminded me of a complaint on a wrist watch forum about how some people post photos of their watches in odd ways that don’t relate to the watch. Of course, then some people posted photos of watches in even weirder settings. (I was there on a mission to identify a vintage watch that was left to me.)

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Old 06-24-2020, 10:34 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLady View Post
Quote:

Originally Posted by lesliespringer
Most of the cards I make I use #110 white paper for a base. These cards don't lay flat at all. How do you get a card to lay flat? Or are people going back to thin based card stock?

Question of the day....How do you make a card lay flat without top layer popping up????

I did notice that the last time I did a major upload of cards I did take pictures of them flat on a wood tabletop because I was in a rush.

And a few didn't lay flat at all, the front popped up and I don't think that is a good look.



Sometimes, my cards pop up, but I use my Logo Stamp(Wood Stamp), as a water mark & I ALWAYS have that stamp over lapping my card some. It usually holds down an edge too. Just my way of doing this! <3


I really like your custom stamp from Magnuson. Been thinking of getting one of my own. I'm checking out unity show and tell fb page like 20 times a day
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:54 AM   #28
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I'm not on a Design Team either, but I want to make sure that I do the best I can to make my cards shine! Doing something a little more with the photo taking does that for me. Laying the cards flat for photo taking is a trend, but I like it. AND if you read some of the posts from the google links I gave, you will see: There is a theory to photography, just like there is a theory for card making! It's nice to blend them! <3
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Old 06-24-2020, 11:56 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by lesliespringer
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I really like your custom stamp from Magnuson. Been thinking of getting one of my own. I'm checking out unity show and tell fb page like 20 times a day




They're SO NICE to work with, to get the stamp that you want too! <3
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:04 PM   #30
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I also wonder about people who "stage" their cards. I know Kelly Latevola & Debby Hughes are 2 who always seem to have a beautiful setup. I have never photographed my cards flat, but a few years ago maybe I tried adding props to my Christmas card photos. Yeah, um...no. I have a homemade "lightbox" made from white foamcore board pieces that I glued together. Bottom, 2 sides, and a back, with the top open. I have a small collection of 12x12" patterned paper I use solely for backdrops. I stand the card up, use 2 mini binder clips to "hang" the paper (which I try to have complement or contrast with the card) on the back of the box, and take my photo. I use a DSLR on a tripod, with a lamp above my lightbox (shining down) with a daylight bulb in it. I realize you don't need such a camera, but I have it anyway for general photography, and I know how to use it better than fussing with my phone's camera. I also process my photos in Photoshop. Again--not necessary, but I have it anyway, so why not? Actually, setting up to take photos can sometimes take me longer than processing them (not that it takes that long), especially since I generally photograph several cards in one session, mostly to make the setup time shorter per card. With all that, storing props and setting everything up, trying to "match" props to card designs--just too much trouble for me. I do watermark my cards, though I try to make it at least a little subtle--semi-transparent and not covering the whole card. I just don't want people stealing my images and using them for contest entries or marketing. Some might call that paranoid, but I personally disagree, since I have heard of that happening. Anyway, just my two-cents' worth.
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:33 PM   #31
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One of the benefits of laying your cards flat for photographing, whether you use props or not, is SPACE or LACK THERE OF! LOL <3
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Old 06-25-2020, 03:51 AM   #32
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Pinterest is full of wooden backgrounds...real or imitation. And upside-down Ikea crates seem to be the thing for card sets.
As for space, there's always a chair seat or bed..my bedsheets have been on ebay as background a few times as the light was best in that room.
These days you can buy "mockup templates" to which you add your own photo using Photoshop etc. eg https://creativemarket.com/PitchStoc...otoshop-Mockup
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:43 AM   #33
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I usually use whatever embellishments, dies, ink, markers, etc I used on the card as my photo "props". I mostly do the flat, over head shot just because I can't seem to get the background looking right if the card is standing up.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:32 AM   #34
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love flat lay photography but very few can pull off props well

one hint -- don't spend $$ on big backgrounds. 12 x 12 patterned paper in wood or other textures works well.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:04 PM   #35
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As for a white background...My cards are usually white and a white background makes a good photo almost impossible. I read where white cards are better with a color background.


I have done many different types of "setups" in the past, all of them simple. Colored paper leaned up against a wall or similar. I don't have the space to store elaborate props.


I decided to try the card laying flat. I ended up covering a couple of 12x12 canvasses with some nice neutral gray textured linen and it works well. I can put the canvas flat on any surface in the best light I have available at the time.


No, I don't do a fancy layout. I love some that I see, but it's all too much work (and more "stuff" to find a place for) and I have enough trouble getting my cards photographed, let alone getting them posted. My iPhone takes better pictures than my nice digital camera, so I'm all for really, really easy!
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:22 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by fionna51
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As for a white background...My cards are usually white and a white background makes a good photo almost impossible. I read where white cards are better with a color background.


I have done many different types of "setups" in the past, all of them simple. Colored paper leaned up against a wall or similar. I don't have the space to store elaborate props.


I decided to try the card laying flat. I ended up covering a couple of 12x12 canvasses with some nice neutral gray textured linen and it works well. I can put the canvas flat on any surface in the best light I have available at the time.


No, I don't do a fancy layout. I love some that I see, but it's all too much work (and more "stuff" to find a place for) and I have enough trouble getting my cards photographed, let alone getting them posted. My iPhone takes better pictures than my nice digital camera, so I'm all for really, really easy!





White cards look good against black - makes them pop. Or as you say, a neutral gray. A photography gray backdrop works too.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:10 AM   #37
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I typically prop up a sheet of either black or white foam board, then put a couple of push pins into it to hold my card, then photograph. As others have said- I want the focus to be on the card, not extraneous "trimmings". I almost always crop the photo, since (on my computer) I cannot usually post a photo that's "too large a file". Yes, I know it's not a Splitcoast problem, it's my system's problem, but resizing works for me for that, and if I'm resizing, might just as well crop while I'm at it.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:19 AM   #38
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Interesting conversation! I've ALWAYS simply scanned my cards until the past couple of years, when I realized my iPhone camera did a better job! I only want to photograph the card, the rest is irrelevant. Just received a Tim Holtz "spat box" and realized it's pretty cool for DIY lightbox/backdrop! It's small and folds up when not in use. May need to order a second one for it's intended purpose now! Only $5 on Stampers Anonymous.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:24 AM   #39
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I am still a work in progress and mostly do the flat layouts out of convenience...and...lack of space in my tiny craft room! Adjacent to my woman cave is my dining room table where I have four large windows. I keep a couple of background (wooden) panels on the end chair with only minimal props and some Tombow temporary adhesive (to hold the card closed when they tend to "pop" open; it can easily be rolled off the card with your finger and leaves no residue). I can move the chair to the side and then photograph with my iPhone using natural light from the windows. I still have to edit the color with Photoshop but it works better for me than the many years I stood my cards up on my desk in a room with no windows and a harsh fluorescent light. I like a few props but am not big on the photos where the card is only a small blurb in the center of a huge array of props. This is a great question, Dina, and am glad you brought it up. I'm off to look at some of the links people posted.
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Old 06-30-2020, 08:42 AM   #40
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I changed to flat photography a couple of years ago mainly to take advantage of good natural light in a place I couldn't stand up the card and photograph it comfortably or with a steady hand. This was after years of struggling to achieve good photos with artificial lighting without the expense of light tents, etc.

I have one background I use that is white woodgrain that is pretty subtle to me. I do add props like flowers just because I like them and products used to make my card just because I think it highlights to the viewer what was used. If I have cards that won't stay shut I just roll up a little piece of low tack tape and put it inside the card while I take the picture.

I guess bottom line you have to do what works best for you personally.
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