I’m delighted that you are enjoying my little photography series, lime light! I’m hoping today’s subject will be popular as we all like to see someone’s room and how they set up their photographs, I know I do!
When we moved to our current house I had two small children and the ‘family room’ was perfectly located just off the kitchen and ideal for a playroom. We installed some units and moved all the toys in to there. However, the room is a bit of an oddity, it juts out from the main body of the house and as such has three external walls. Add in the laminate flooring and even though we put down rugs and tried to make it cosy, the room was still cold for wee ones and they used to pick up their boxes of toys and take them in to the main body of the house to play with them. Eventually we realised that we would be better relocating the playroom to elsewhere in the house. By this time I was crafting and the room was a perfect solution to my growing craft supplies and my need for some ‘me time’ – by now our third child had arrived. Fast forward a few years and my room is pretty full these days LOL, I have an eclectic mix of Ikea pieces rejected from the rest of the house. I’d love custom furniture but I know I’m fortunate to have the space I do. So here you go. This is my desk where I work.
It’s minimal isn’t it LOL, an expanse of work space, a cutting mat in the middle and a few acrylic storage items for my most used general supplies (scissors, glue, tweezers etc). Under my cutting mat I have a piece of Ranger craft sheet taped down so that I can quickly access it when I want to do some ink blending or the like. The printer sits at the back and then above I have a few of my less used items as these shelves are more difficult to reach. Most of my craft supplies are in drawers below the desk and shelves behind me on the back wall.
When I’m creating, this area and the table which runs off to the side are covered until I don’t even have the full area of my mat to work on! I do, however, like to tidy up after every card. I pile up the supplies I’ve used and enter them into the supplies list of a draft blog post before putting everything away. That doesn’t always happen but certainly I like a clear desk by the end of the day. Having a tidy desk to start a project keeps my mind clear and clutter free :)
With my draft blog post set up and my supplies away it’s time to take a photo of my card. The main point to note in my room as far as this is concerned is the big window which I look out on as I work. This runs almost the full length of the room and lets in lots of lovely light. In my last lime light post I mentioned how slight differences in the angling of the card to the light can give very different looks. To achieve that it is important to keep the light coming in from the window to the side of my card.
The card is set towards one end of the desk on a cheese board (which has an interesting grain) and at the other end I put a piece of white foam board. In the middle I add a few vases, jars and perhaps flowers. Not fancy at all is it LOL and if you like my photos then I’m hoping that by seeing this you will realise that anyone can take a similar picture! By taking the picture of my card low down at eye level, all the clutter disappears. All you see is the card, blurry accessories and a white backdrop.
Oh and if you’ve not managed to tidy up then put your card on a box and your vases on a box and no one will see that you still have half a dozen ink pads out on your desk :D In an ideal world I’d have a white washed wall with lovely antique furniture. In fact I do but they aren’t easily accessible with natural light streaming in from the side! So when the situation is less than ideal … fake it! I was delighted to realise that Elena got her husband to DIY her a great backdrop for her fabulous party spreads. Then there’s Mandi of Making Nice in the Midwest, she’s written a couple of cracking posts on photography – well worth a read. She has an interesting post on artificial lighting, something I’m yet to conquer but within her post she shows her home made set up. I think the more you look into it the more you will find that not every blogger has a place that’s perfect for photography but by working with what they have and adding in a little DIY they create photos of their projects which show them to their best.
Back to my set up and lets talk a few specifics. A photo with the card in focus and the background blurry is said to have a shallow depth of field; only a small portion of the photo is in focus. This helps the card stand out from the background and be the main focus. This effect is very difficult to achieve with a phone camera without adding lenses or fiddling with the photo afterwards, but with most other cameras you can achieve this effect to some degree or other. I will do a separate post on this topic another time talking about camera settings, but while looking at the photo set up it is worth noting that the camera being close to the card and the other items further away helps to achieve this look. So the more distance you can put in between the card and the vase behind the more blur you are likely to get. Being close to the subject with your camera can help, but if you have a zoom on your camera then taking a couple of steps back and zooming in to the subject can also help with achieving blur. Just a couple of things to think about when you set up for your picture.
Another thing to think about is the amount of light hitting your card vs the background. You want lots of lovely light on your card right? Well yes, but you need as much if not more on your backdrop if you want to get the light airy look.
Again, thinking of my last lime light post, in this picture the card is face on to the camera and is a bit ‘flat’ which isn’t ideal but one thing I want to point out is that having the card at this angle there is less light hitting the card front. Without any technical terms, focusing the camera on the card and adjusting for the light there will mean adjusting settings to allow more light in to brighten things up a bit and as a result the well lit background becomes even brighter and you get a nice airy look.
When the card is angled to the light so that there is more light hitting the card then the camera doesn’t need adjusting so much to allow more light in and as a result the background is slightly darker. This second card in my opinion is angled too far for my preferences but hopefully these two extremes help to show the differences in the amount of light hitting the card vs the backdrop. Does that make sense? To get the light airy look you need to take into account the light hitting both the card and what is behind it. Personally I try for light and airy but not one that has a total ‘cut out’ white look that you might find in product photography for a catalogue.
Before I go I just wanted to say that since I took the above photos of my set up I spoke very nicely with my husband who made me a quick make shift white wood board similar to Mandi’s. You can see the subtle difference it has made in this photo where you can see just a few blurry details of the backdrop instead of the flat white foam board I was using.
I’m always striving to improve and get my photos to be the best I can. I want to learn. I want to improve. I want to get better. And I’m loving the journey! I hope you are enjoying your own photography journey and that these lime light posts are helpful. I’d be delighted if just one person found taking a project photo that bit easier after reading this :D
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Supplies for ‘Dad’ card:
Supplies for ‘Congrats’ card: