Happy Wednesday! I'm participating in a week-long craft photography blog-hop featuring Sister Diane from CraftyPod, Haley from The Zen of Making, Stacey from FreshStitches, Michele from Michele Made Me, and me, Megan from RadMegan.
Haley and Diane thought it would be fun to get all of us together to share our favorite tips, tricks and at-home fixes for craft photography (a subject near and dear to my heart.)
My tip for you is one I shared with my Craftcation Conference students earlier this year and it was a HUGE hit:
* * * Crafting a Light Box to Eliminate Shadows and Harsh Light * * *
Above photos courtesy of Craftcation Conference and Make Shop Live
In my opinion, natural light, aka the light from the sun, is the BEST light to photograph in. You don't have to worry about expensive set-ups or the "temperature" of your light bulbs, all you need is a couple of neat tricks to diffuse the light.
Diffusing the light means "softening" the light in photography terms. If you go outside at noon on a sunny day and look in a mirror, you will see a shadow from your nose casting down on your lips. Your lips, eyes, cheeks, hair, and any little wrinkles you may have will also cast shadows. This can be very distracting. You may see the sun's reflection, like a big white blob on your forehead...
When you go outside on a cloudy day at noon and look in a mirror, you probably look great! No shadows at all, and instead there is a nice even light across your face and hair.
Unless you live in an area that is overcast or cloudy all the time, you could probably use a light box to take nice, evenly-lit photos of your crafts. Here's how you can make one.
You will need the following:
- A Cardboard box larger than the majority of the crafts you make
- Box Cutter
- Metal Ruler
- Masking Tape
- Wax Paper (a large roll) or white, plastic trash bags, an old, translucent shower curtain, or even cheese cloth
- A large piece of heavy stock white paper
Step 1.) Tape the box closed.
Step 2.) Using your metal ruler as a guide, cut out three panels from the box: Two opposite sides, one front facing, and one on top. I like to leave about an inch and a half border when I cut my panels out for better overall stability.
Note, leave the back and bottom panels in tact.
Step 3.) Cut out three pieces of wax paper that are large enough to cover the top, and side panels. I like using my discarded cardboard cut-outs as a template for the correct amount of wax paper I will need.
Step 5.) Your light box is nearly done, and only needs a backdrop! Take your heavy stock white paper, and measure it so that it is the same length of your "back wall" in the light box. (The back wall is the one opposite of the only open panel in your box.) Insert the white paper through the opening, and tape it to the very very top of the back wall. It's fine if the paper is too long and spills out of the box. Avoid folding or creasing this paper, and instead shoot for a gentle curve in the back of your light box.
Note, the fewer wrinkles or creases in your backdrop, the less photo editing you will have to do
Step 6.) Take your light box outside in the sunshine, place your handcrafted item inside the box and start snapping photos! The wax paper will diffuse the light for you and give you an even, well-light photo!
When I taught this workshop at Craftcation, my students were so excited, they went outside with their light boxes to see the difference. Below are two student photos snapped with a cell phone. Even with a camera phone, you can see the difference!
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Japel