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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creating a tiny photo studio

I took photo classes, I really did. But now, only four years later, I think I have forgotten everything about taking a good photo manually. I can use the automatic setting like nobody's business on my new Nikon D3100...but the manual part I'm just scared to do. So I plan on sitting down one day and reading up on LGP EDU on former fellow art student Lily Glass's website (Check out her amazing photos on the rest of her site as well). I also plan on enlisting the knowledge of my dear friend and photographer Alison Ball (check out her site too!).
However, despite my overwhelming new and fabulous camera and my underwhelming ability to shoot a stellar photo...I was faced with the challenge of creating somewhat of a photo studio for some catalogue photos of instruments at work.
I absolutely love eHow and tend to go to this site for many different things. It's a very helpful DIY resource tool. After researching different ways to go about this, I set to work with the following tools:

CARDBOARD BOX (You want it to be about 4 times bigger than your photo subject)
WHITE PAPER (I bought a roll for continuous use)
DOUBLE STICK TAPE (Scotch brand works really well)

1) Assemble the box if it is not already assembled. Pick one of the sides to be the top and cut out a square, leaving about a 2" border of cardboard for support. Cut out the front of the box so that there is an opening, otherwise it's just going to be a box you can put some stray cats in or bunnies in.
2) Measure each side of the inside of the box and cut the white paper to fit each side, making sure to not have any cracks showing that will expose the awful brown cardboard color. The Xacto knife works wonders in this area, just be sure the blade is nice and sharp!
3) Lay down the double stick tape around the edges of each side in strips and carefully press the paper down being mindful not to wrinkle it. Do not cover the top opening.
4) After all sides are covered with the white paper, attach a final strip of paper to the very back of the box and pull it over the top cutout and fold under in the front. I would suggest using regular tape to attach this flap because you may need to take it off at some point in the picture-taking process. The purpose of the cutout in the top and the paper over it is to act as a diffuser of light.
5) Using a construction light or a similar light fixture, attach it overhead of the box and adjust accordingly to get the right amount of light streaming in.

This makes for a nice white space for objects to be photographed. If you have time to wait for multiple coats of spray paint to dry, using a very flat white spray paint would also create a seamless space and eliminate the pesky paper fitting. This little project is good for photographing objects that you are selling and need more of a professional look for the product pictures.

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