Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photography trials



Hi friends,
I spent much of yesterday figuring out what I needed to do to try and get more professional-looking shots of my portfolio work. Note that I didn't say "professional." I'm no professional when it comes to product shots, so I can only do the best I can! I spent hours experimenting with lights and with a hand-made lightbox/studio in a box. Nothing was working.
I went out to Joanne Fabric and bought a handful of options for backdrop material and ended up favoring a light colored burlap. I put together little layouts of my invitations on paper beforehand and then once I was happy, moved them to the fabric. The planning was because I have a certain size and scale and shape the photo has to be to fit on my website I had to design my "layouts" of the elements to fit this size and shape. I ended up getting rid of the lightbox and lights and simply just used my flash. Something I would NEVER normally do. But it was the most bright and true-to-life option without having to worry about shadows and uneven light. Who knew, after all that work?! I added some props here and there just for effect but probably didn't really need it. I've posted the shots from before (using lights and a makeshift lightbox in the beginning of this week) and the afters (the ones I just did) to show the difference. I'm happy with how they are coming out (after a little work in Photoshop) and I think I'll continue to photograph most of my portfolio in this method. I'll likely change up the background material depending on the subject. This is definitely a learning experience!


mary said...

These came out great! You know, it's all about trial & error, which definitely takes some time and patience...but they turned out great.

(Did you get that yellow & white fabric from Joann's?! It's gorgeous!)

Megan said...

Hey Mary!
Thanks! The yellow and white backdrop is flocked paper I got at Paper Source. It ended up casting a yellow tinge on everything and was simply too busy for what I needed. I think it would make a nice backdrop for an actual non-paper item/still life photo.

five dot design said...

just a thought- maybe see if you can get a piece of thin, gauze-y fabric and make a little cover for your flash- it will diffuse the light a bit more and maybe help give a softer light to the pieces? i'm going to experiment with this as well, but if you look in studios, they have the vinyl-y covers over the flashes they use to spread out the light more.

good luck!

Anonymous said...

Susan Mahoney lives in Westford Ma. She could take your photos for you, or help. Her website is Picture, You and she have a lot in common actually... artsy girls both!

Megan said...

Hi Anon,
I'm actually friendly with Susan. She's great! I hadn't even thought to ask her; but I will have to do so! Thanks for the reminder!

Megan said...

Five dot:
Thanks for the tip! I think I will try it out going forward just to see what happens. I'm thinking like a piece of tissue paper? I'll give it a whirl.

sophia said...

i love the before and after shots. it's amazing how much you can learn through trial and error.

a couple of tidbits that may or may not help:

1)a white foam board can help reflect more light onto objects...a tried and true trick of the trade. try propping it up against something on the opposite side of where the light source is coming can help even out the light on your subject.
(this may not be helpful for your strait on-camera flash shots, but may be helpful for other shoots?)

2)a neutral grey works well for backgrounds as it provides a nice contrast, yet it won't reflect funky colors on your object.

much success with your photos megan!

Allyson said...

Lookin' good! I was just going to suggest a flash diffuser, but five dot beat me to it! They really help soften the light, especially if you end up shooting something glossy or reflective. (not too often for your letterpress work, I know.)

I've actually been meaning to get one of these for over a year. Maybe I should pick one up too!

Check out B&H: