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. :)