Monday, October 3, 2011

Go towards the light!!! Lighting MINI TUTE

FULL SUN- shot early morning with page lying flat on the ground and
shooting from directly above. Shadows add dimension without hiding details or distracting the eye.
Morning sun gives a nice gold tone to the page-  rising sun light is "cooler"-
more blue in tone- which is also nice. Notice the overall "tone" is darker as well- This page was lightened
in photoshop but still looks "darker" than the ones I will show you next.
I see this question in scrap forums and facebook A LOT.
When shooting your scrapbook pages or altered projects it best to use natural light.
Seriously- use. natural. light.

"But the only time I have for crafting is at night!" You say.
Shooting your project is just as important as actually making it. A good photo can make a mediocre project shine but a great project will be ignored if the photo is bad.

So here's what you do: during your lunch break, whip out that LO and shoot it outside. Answer all the bewildered questions you get- maybe you'll make some new scrap friends!

"But I work in a public place with no privacy!" or my excuse-  "I have no 'lunch break'!!! I am a MOM!"
Shoot in natural light. Your babies/co-workers/the building wall are all camera assistants!
Ofcourse if you have a toddler like I do, you will need a distraction for him or her or they will tear your wonderful creation to pieces before your very eyes- and they will giggle as they stomp on the remains- but I don't have to tell YOU that!
SIDE LIGHT- shot inside with white card board opposite the light coming in from the window in
 order to bounce light onto the page. NOTICE THE VELUM IS MORE VISIBLE NOW.
"But it's snowing/hailing/raining kittens and it's due tomorrow!" (It's a card / gift OR you, like me, waited till the day before to complete your DT assignment/contest entry)
Ok that is a very legitimate concern!
TRY THIS: Bounce light tutorial. Seriously- click on those words!
All you need is a window with direct light, aluminum foil, cardboard and a clamp- 12 bucks mostly for the clamp! The result are catalogue worthy product shots- TRUST- it's from Etsy.

AND- for best results stick your creation to the building wall using pop dots or high tack double sided tape and shoot it STRAIGHT ON AT EYE LEVEL.
You can also put it on the floor and stand over it but this requires lots of fussing around to make sure the corners are straight and that you aren't shooting at angle which makes your page all wonky looking- it's harder to do- skip it.
CLOUDY DAY- overall color change to a cooler "blue" tint.
Top vellum piece is completely gone- if you want colors to "pop" and vellum or transparent
 pieces to show more wait for a brighter day.
There is no real way to shoot your work inside and get good color using artificial light UNLESS you buy special equipment or use photoshop (which I avoid as it never looks as good as actual sunlight). Why bother? The sun is free mi gente!
Here are some other examples:
Bright natural SIDE light from a window
NOTE: Normal color tones, lots of detail in the shadows- this is good for your project.
If you want less "dark" in the shadows prop a piece of cardboard with foil taped to it and
 "bounce" light from the window onto the subject.
Full artificial light AND frontal on camera flash
NOTE: What looks good on people (especially young cuties like my nephew Ty) won't work as well
   for your project. The orange tint, frontal flash that creates harsh background shadows and pure white highlights on anything shiny will distract from your project and obscure details- not good.
Does this help? I'm thinking my examples all look the same right? Perhaps more stark examples are called for. I was checking how light falls on my projects over the weekend and realized this may be a good time to WRITE DOWN what I noticed- so I'm also telling MYSELF this- we're all in the same boat. Please leave a comment letting me know if I helped you out!!  I would love to hear from you.
This photo is only "interesting" because of the shadows- make shadows work for
you and add texture and visual complexity to your projects.
MuChOS SmOoChEs!


  1. Great tute, girl. With winter approaching, the tips will help for sure! I may splurge on a light box, we'll see though...not much in the way of crafty funds right now!

  2. really great tips. I second the comment about mediocre projects being made to look fantastic with good photography - and the same goes for anything that is being photographed.

  3. Great tips - I always try and shoot outside in full sunlight - but in the shade. One thing I also found amazing over the last 12 months I have been doing this - is that light in winter is really blue and in summer is really yellow!

    Love the idea of taping something to the wall instead of trying to stand over it - I NEVER thought of that - genius!

  4. Very helpful, Michelle! Thanks for the tips!

  5. You are brilliant and so awesome for sharing this!!! I am definitely helped and will be referring back to this post. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


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