Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Taking better pictures...

Hey Ya'll,
I hope you are all doing well.  I hope to get to visit tomorrow.  As you know, I have been remodeling the craft room.  It's 99.5% done!  YAY!  So... you know what that means... I took lots of pictures and I am ready to show you what it looks like... tomorrow.  Hee! Hee!  Sorry... Still have to clean up the pics and things.  So... to start, I thought I would share something else with you.  It's kind of a teaser to the craft room pics.

I have had lots of e-mails on how I do my pictures.  Well, lately, they haven't been too fancy.  I have just been using a black screen because of time.  In remodeling the craft room, I was able to mount some lights to make my life a lot easier on taking the pictures.  You will see an empty counter in the future pics, but this shows when the tent is set up. There are all kinds of tutorials on the web for making your own, but I got this one with two lights and four screens on e-bay for just $30.00.  It's 18" x 18" x 18" and folds into it's own carry case with pockets for the lights and it even came with a tri-pod for the camera.  I have a floor stand tri-pod that I use, but it's always good to have a spare.  Hee! Hee!

This shows you how the tent deflects the light and has the red screen for the background.  It all holds together with velcro and I have been using this particular tent for 4 years now.  There are others available that roll up like a portable dog kennel.  I really liked this one and I find that having sides without wrinkles give better lighting.
 The arm lights are just very inexpensive - mountable lights that I have had for a long time.  I have seen these types at staples.  They take a standard type bulb, but I find that using the never style florescent type lights work better.  They do have to warm up for about a minute before shooting a picture because they start out a little dim.  The light on the right side came with the tent and it has the small diamond type light in it.  It works very well too, but I don't like them as much because they get REALLY hot.  This is a picture with the black screen that I have been using a lot lately.
 Going a little closer, you can see that I put my card in the center of the black.  You can see how it just makes the card the feature and not the background.  Whether there are wrinkles in the screen or not, really doesn't matter much because the camera focuses in on the card.  Of course, you would always shoot your image closer than this, but I just wanted you to see how the light is diffused through the sides of the tent and it keeps away the glare that is associated with a flash.  By the way, I disable the flash on my camera for any of these shots.
 Here is the actual close up picture of the card with the exact same conditions as above. As the camera focuses more on the card, it really takes on more of the details.  Now, these are lower quality pictures so that they will go on the blog, but it really does catch ever little detail.  Warning... it also catches ever mistake.  Hee! Hee!
 Once you have your picture taken, then you can go in an crop it and simply adjust the image to look more natural.  I used professional adobe photoshop for my pictures as it is what I was trained on, but photoshop elements is also a wonderful program for this.  For the picture below, I just used the softwares automatic adjustments to get the colors right.  I then just simply added a text box to add our blog address to it.
Well, that's the goods.  I hope this answers some questions for anyone wanting to know more about pictures tents and diffusing light.  There are so many different techniques out there, but this is... by far... the easiest and most cost effective way to work with your designs for a blog.  Now, you can use the tent for other things as well.  For example, you can put a coordinating paper, fabric, wood... whatever you want for the screen background.  I see this all the time.  Unfortunately, I am lucky lately to find time to shoot pictures and write posts about them, so I have to go with the absolute easiest method available.  For the other pictures I have done on the blog that have the standard background, I have actually taken the image as shown above with a white screen in the background and then using adobe photoshop's pen too, have cut out the card and then placed it on the background that I already created.  This is something that takes some training with the software, but can also be done with photoshop elements and the lasso tool.  The more basic the shape, the more accurate the lasso tool will be.  I was just trained using the pen tool and find it easier, but I certainly wouldn't recommend investing in adobe professional.  It's very expensive and really takes training to learn a lot of the program.  Photoshop Elements is extremely user friendly and has many, many more online tutorials to be able to follow.

If this is something you are interested in, I know of several friends who have also found wonderful deals on picture tents with e-bay.  I just love mine.

Thanks so much for visiting today!  I hope to have a few projects by the beginning of next week to share, but stay tuned!  Craft Room Pics are right around the corner!

So... let me know... did you learn anything you didn't already know?  Was it helpful?  I would love to hear your comments.


  1. great idea and your pictures are always so nice. hugs

  2. I have been wondering about tents lately...pondering investing in one, but I usually just use a neutral background next to some windows I have that let in lots of natural light. The downside is that I can't take pictures in the evening and have them turn out anywhere near as nice! Thanks for all the info!

  3. I too have been taking my photo in the natural sunlight but it really is a hassel on those rainy days and the project is now... this is great I will have to look into investing in one. TFS

  4. I am one of those friends that got mine on ebay and love it! It makes a world of difference in the photos. What is a 'never style' light bulb?

    1. Oh, and what wattage of these bulbs do you use?

  5. GREAT tutorial!!! Thanks...I got one as you suggested, but have to make room to set it up! Maybe I will have to do a "craftroom transformation" as well...UGH! lol

  6. Great tutorial!!! I use a bat man cape behind my project or a white sheet depending on the colors in my project. Need one of these boxes though!!