Monday, December 9, 2013

Tutorial: Project Set Up and Photo Taking Process

I've had a number of people ask how I go about taking photos of my projects, specifically layouts, so I thought I'd share a bit about my set up and process.

This set up allows me to get square images without having to compensate for slant or distortion using a photo editing program. I am not the world's foremost Photoshop expert, that's for sure. The only thing I do with my finished images is edit them (for color, definition, and contrast) in iPhoto and crop/resize them in Photoshop Elements.


The sliding doors off of our kitchen let in a lot of light so I take the majority of my photos here, using just a few basic supplies. The most important is a piece of foam core board. Foam core board is basically poster board with a foam center which makes it more durable. You can find it at craft stores and dollar stores.


Here's what I do:


1. Place a piece of white foam core board on the floor, flush with the edge of the slider frame. This ensures you are starting with a straight edge. You could also use the edge of a wall or another area where you know you'll have a straight edge.





2. Place a 1/4" thick strip of wood (cut slightly longer than the foam core board) along the edge of the board that is not against the slider , making sure the edges are parallel and flush.



Pull a kitchen chair up to the edge of the wood strip, making sure the back legs of the chair are right up against the piece of wood. The whole idea is to keep the set up as square as possible.

Place your layout on the foam core board, right up against the strip of wood. With my set up, the wood strip is slightly higher than the foam core board so there's a little lip (kind of like on an easel) that allows me to set the layout down below the depth of the wood a bit, again helping to keep things square.


3. My model, Alexa, demonstrates how I kneel on the chair, hanging over the back, getting a view of the layout from above. 

Using either the top or bottom edge of the layout as your guides, square up your shot in your camera's view finder. I usually take about 8-10 pictures in order to have a couple of good ones to work with. Some of them I align using the top edge of the layout as my guide, some of them with the bottom.




4. The end result, after cropping and editing a bit in iPhoto and Photoshop. If you'd like the details on this layout, I blogged about it here.




I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I will update this post, as needed, with any input I receive. :)
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34 comments:

  1. Awesome tips!!! Thanks for sharing how you get your photos of your projects!!!!

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  2. Thank you Lisa. I do have problems with getting a straight photo of my layouts. I spend too much time on Photoshop trying to get it straight. I'll try your idea. Thanks

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  3. Thanks for taking the time to share your process!

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  4. ooo Thanks! great tutorial. love it.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your photo process! Getting the layout square is my biggest challenge.

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing your method, Lisa!!! I'm going to try this. Getting those square edges has never been a sure thing.

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  7. Morning Lisa! Thanks for this - I enjoyed reading it. I just started throwing my layouts on a piece of white poster board - I need to try your squaring up technique! Hope you have a good day.

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  8. What a smart way to take photos. TFS!

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  9. Really useful tutorial. I'm impressed by your thoroughness and will have to give this a try myself.

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  10. great tips~I tape mine to the door in my craft room and shoot straight on. Whatever works, right:):)

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  11. great tip! I tape mine to the siding on our patio but this might work when it's chilly outside! Thanks so much!

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  12. Great instructions and useful tips. What an adorable model too!

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  13. I do mine in almost the same way using foam core! I also use another piece of foam core to reflect more light if needed! Thanks lisa!

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  14. Awesome tips! I will attempt your method next time!!

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  15. Great page and tutorial, Lisa!
    And tell Alexa, great modeling job! :)

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  16. Great tips! I have been photographing mine next to a window, but I bet they would turn out even better next to our sliding glass door.

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  17. Thanks for sharing. I scan mine and edit it Photoshop, but lots of the times the colors are off. also if you have bulking embellishments you get shadows. I will have to try this!

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  18. cool! thanks for sharing this! my photos are alright right now, but i'm always looking to make them better...

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  19. Thanks for sharing your technique!!

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  20. I'll definitely have to try this. Thanks for the tips!!

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  21. Love how you get your photos, Lisa! I use basically the same ideas, but usually have to do mine right outside on our front porch. Unfortunately, for some reason, no where in our house ever gets any good natural light! HA!

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  22. This is exactly what I do minus the chair, I never thought of that. Great tip , thanks for sharing.

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  23. yep, I have a similair method I use but I stand up over mine :)

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  24. Thank you Lisa for these great tips !

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  25. Wow, such an amazing layout!!! This is so great and I love the color combination :)
    And thanks for the tips, so nice of you :)

    - L
    livelovescrap.wordpress.com :)

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  26. Great tips. Thank you for sharing your process!

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  27. Thank you for easy tip! I was trying to make one of those light boxes to do my photos. This is so much easier.

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  28. Awesome tips Lisa! I'm going to give this a go!

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  29. Thanks Lisa! Definitely giving this a try! I always have a hard time taking perfectly square pics (might have something to do with the wooden floors being not 100% flat).

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Thank you so much for visiting and taking the time to share your comments and thoughts with me. :)

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