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Organising the way I photograph my work

I’m always experimenting with how to take pictures of my work – I want my scrapbook layouts, cards, and other craft projects, to look as good as possible in the photographs I take of them. I talked about some of the techniques I use to edit them in this post about PicMonkey, but today I’ll show you my actual set-up for taking the pictures in the first place!
My layouts are all photographed on my bathroom wall. When we moved in I didn’t really like these square blue stickers that the previous tennants had stuck on the bathroom wall to decorate it:

But then I discovered that they were 11¼” square, the perfect size for me to blue-tac a layout on top of, to guide me to place it level on the wall, but so the layout covers the square and no blue can be seen around the sides. It’s great that the wall around it is white, for a blank background, and a lot of good light in comes through the window to the side, and gets bounced back all around the white walls so there’s not too many shadows:

I don’t usually bother using a tripod, as I usually manage to get a good shot without one, but sometimes I might put it up if the light isn’t so good (if it’s a stormy day, or it’s getting late in the evening). I can normally manage to take the shot quite level, as I can use the squares either side to guide me a little when I look through the viewfinder. And not having a tripod means it’s quicker for me to keep moving around to get shots from a different angle, or closer.
When I’m taking shots of cards or other 3D projects, I usually photograph them on my daughter’s bed. This has become more difficult since we bought her a high bed with a slide! But it’s the place with the best light, so I manage. I use the white side of two large mount boards to create a base and backdrop – sometimes I will put the project straight onto this, and other times, if the project is small enough, I will put pieces of patterned paper or cardstock down first to make the backdrop look different and prettier:
If my kids are asleep and I can’t go into their room, then I use the same set up, but on my study floor – there’s really not a lot of space in there for this though, so I have to contort myself around a bit!
I also use these big mount boards when I’m snapping a kit or giveaway – if I’m snapping something big and flat I just lay a board or two on the floor, put the items on top, and stand above it to take the picture. Sometimes I might have to stand on a chair if it’s a big kit!
For almost all photographs of work I use the automatic ‘landscapes’ setting on my DSLR. Sometimes I might use it manually, or try a different setting like ‘macro’. But I usually go back to the landscapes setting, it’s quick and easy, and seems to work for me! I do take a ton of shots of each project though, just making slight movements to get the angle or light slightly different – I love the invention of digital photography and the ability to delete photos!
I’ve found it takes me so much less time to get my work photographed now that I have my set-up all planned out. I know a lot of crafters manage to add props to their photographs, which looks really cool, but it takes me too long to find the ‘right’ prop when I try this, so it’s not for me right now! I also know I could probably use my DSLR more professionally, and maybe one day I’ll achieve this!
If you want to see how a couple of other crafters photograph their work you can see how Maggie Holmes snaps hers here, tips from Helen Tilbury here, or a tutorial on the Pink Paislee blog here.
Do you have any more tips?
Remember that a comment on this post, or on any of my posts from this weekend, will count as an entry into the Grand Giveaway {NOW CLOSED}– but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that here!
See you at 2pm for another giveaway! x

23 thoughts on “Organising the way I photograph my work”

  1. Thanks for all the great tips – I really need to improve my photography skills. I used to scan my layouts in two halves (because I can’t fit 12X12 in my scanner) and then merge them using PS, but I’m finding that my layouts are getting lumpier as time goes on, so they don’t scan too well!

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  2. That’s amazing! I have a couple of spots at home, including some outside that work well, so I usually go there if I need to photograph something. Although I admit to being a bit more lazy than you. . . Rindaps just went and cleaned up my google reader – thanks for the nudge.

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  3. Thanks for the great tips! I’ve always struggled photographing my layouts. I recently got a 12 inch photo frame which I usually blue tack them too but I’m still trying to find the perfecr place in my house with the light just right!

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  4. Your bathroom wall looks perfect!!! I always have a lot of trouble with light indoors….we seem to have a very dark house.I loved your post on picmonkey and have started using the site….in fact the photo of my brother on my blog today was edited in it…..so thanks very much for that.

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  5. I also use a white foam board as my backdrop but I attach my layouts to it (with two spots of painter’s tape rolled on the back) and take it outside. That is the easiest for me. I enjoyed reading about your method!

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  6. Thanks for the tips. I have used several different methods and right now I just lay the project flat on a white board, but it on the floor and photograph it from above. But there always seems to be a little angle in the shot that makes the straight line on my layout bend. I hate that. What I really need to do is set up a dedicated spot with my tripod and everything. Maybe your post will nudge me to get that done.

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  7. I’ve had varying amounts of success photographing my layouts inside. I’m definitely not a fan of the flash, so often I’ve opted for outdoor pictures if the light inside is low. But I should probably get some mounting board and find the best natural light in the house. Thanks for the ideas and tips!

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  8. I started off trying to scan and stitch my pages but it was an epic fail and took twice as long as a quick tweak of a normal photo in Picasa – in the day I take a photo from above my page on the floor, at night I blu-tac it to the toilet door with all the lights on!

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  9. Love the ideas here. i missed this blog event in the summer…probably up at the lake…but trying to catch up now before your new blog event this weekend.I seriously need help with my photos.I only have a point and shoot and just learned how to crop in the last couple of days…I have no idea how to do the other things described in the second to the last linky, but am going to look for them in my program next time I do a photo.

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