Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tutorial: Card Set Up and Photo Taking Process

Toward the end of last year, I shared my layout set up and photo taking process. Since then I've had questions about how I photograph my cards. Today I'll walk you through just how I do this. :)

Supplies Needed:

1. Two (2) pieces of sturdy, white foam core board.
2. One (1) 24" x 24" vinyl backdrop (optional).
3. Two (2) metal clamp on work lights, each fitted with a 1450 lumen, 6500 Kelvin (daylight/natural light) compact fluorescent bulb. You can find these, and the lights, at Lowe's. I use Sylvania bulbs with a 23 watt output.

4. Two (2) portable, positionable stands or tripods to clamp the lights onto. My handy husband built stands out of wood.
5. One (1) dining/kitchen chair.

Set Up:

1. Position the chair next to (parallel) a natural light source. In my case it's the windows in my craft room. I pull the shades up to let in as much natural light as possible.
2. Place one (1) piece of foam core board vertically against the back of the chair.
3. Adhere the backdrop to the board. I use washi tape because it's easy to remove.
4. Place a second piece of foam core board on the seat of the chair, perpendicular to the other board.
5. Position the lights so they are focused on the spot where you are going to place your card, about halfway up the project. The left-hand light should be angled toward the right and the right-hand light is angled to the left. Think of it like the three points on a triangle. Where the light beams meet would be the top-most point of the triangle (or the center of your card).

6. Turn the lights on and let them warm up for about five (5) minutes to achieve full brightness.
7. While the lights are warming up, place your card in the center of the horizontal board.
8. Sit on the floor, between the two lights, and photograph the card straight on.

When it comes to positioning your card, think about the following options:

  • Do you want to use props? If you're taking photos for submission purposes, it's best NOT to use props. Magazines want straight on, clutter-free photos. 
  • Do you want to use a vinyl backdrop or a complementary patterned paper instead?
  • When you edit your photo think about adding add frames, icons or even text for added interest.
Here are some examples of each of the options mentioned above.

1. Vinyl backdrop, no props.

2. Vinyl backdrop, with props.

3. Vinyl backdrop adhered halfway down the vertical board and draped onto the horizontal board, with props.

4. No backdrop, no props. This is the set up you'd want to use when taking a photo for submission purposes.

5. Patterned paper backdrop, no props.

6. No backdrop, with props. Use PicMonkey to add frames, text or icons to your photo. This is a free, easy-to-use photo editing program.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you're inspired to try out some different ways of staging and setting up your card projects. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. I'll be back with a new post on Monday.

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  1. Thank you so much for these tips, Lisa ! I always struggle to take pictures of my cards...Now I will have better ones !

  2. Great post, thanks for the tips!

  3. Such awesome tips!! Thanks for sharing them!!!!

  4. Great information, Lisa, thanks for letting us in on your set up! I always love your cards with the props, but that makes sense about not doing that for submissions. :)

  5. Such a useful post! Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. awesome post...thanks for sharing this!

  7. Great tutorial, I have lights but I never seem to want to drag them out, maybe I need to just start getting into that habit and do some props. TFS!

  8. great tips and information~thanks for sharing with us!!!

  9. What a great set up! I've got to get some of those lights!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing this, Lisa! I see that I need to borrow hubby's task lights for a trial run.

  11. awesome cards and thanks for sharing how you take pictures! I need a set up like this!

  12. Thanks for sharing! I just love those photos of your beautiful cards!

  13. So fun to get a peek into your process.

  14. So neat to see how you photograph all your amazing cards!!!

  15. Great tips, Lisa!! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Thanks for sharing. You sure have some good tips here. i am going to pick up those light bulbs you recommend.

  17. Great tutorial! You always have the prettiest staging...and cards!!!

  18. Oh, thank you so much for posting this, Lisa! All your cards are just stunning!

  19. Awesome Lisa! Thanks for showing how you take your pics! Love all your cards!!!!

  20. I love your photo taking set-up! I must try some of these tips. Love your cards too!

  21. Awesome post Lisa!! I just loved seeing your different photo options. They all ended up looking great of course. Your cards are amazing!! :-)

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