A big part of blogging is photography. And a big part of photography is perfect lighting. I have made some really nice pieces – but unless you photograph them well, no one will ever know it… So I started researching how to build a light tent or light box at home. One site I read had a woman making hers out of an old laundry basket. Well, I don’t use those kinds of laundry baskets, I use the collapsible kind… But I did have one of those that was getting pretty beat up, and I was willing to sacrifice it to the DIY Gods. Per the recommendation, I bought a plastic table cloth to drape the frame with, and cut up the hamper.
The first problem I noticed was that the frame is really floppy without the supporting mesh. So I had to prop it up to keep it from folding in on itself. I got one or two decent pictures out of it, but because of it’s lack of stability and small size, there was no way this was going to be a viable long term solution. So scratch the first attempt.
The second attempt was using a frame built of PVC. The whole get up cost about $40 at Home Depot, and consisted of 3/4″ pipes in 24″ length rigged together with what I can only describe as a threeway elbow… Bigger, but still not very effective. It just wasn’t what I was looking for. I got a few more decent pictures and then decided I had fulfilled my prerequisite “Hack It Before You Buy It”… I had two “meh” lights, and a $40 frame. But for $70 on Amazon, I could get a set up with 4 lights, a 24″ square collapsible frame, a table top tripod and four color backgrounds. Sold.
I set it up, and right away I was happier with the quality of the pictures I was getting… The box is big (though I’m still wondering if I should have gone with the 36″ size) and came with four lights. The lights are ok – not great, but definitely still a step up from where I was. The 36″ size comes without lights – but really, couldn’t I just get desk lamps or shop lights??? I’m still thinking about it. In the meantime, here’s a “No Lightbox, vs Lightbox” side by side shot of one of my projects:
I had been getting a lot of requests on Ravelry for additional pictures of my Dots & Dashes Cowl. It currently has 195 likes, and I am sure better pictures will only drive that number up. Unfortunately, it was a Christmas gift! My Mother-In-Law commissioned it for a friend, and I stitched it up, took two documentarian snap shots, and mailed it out for the holidays. And then had the genius idea to post the pattern for it on Ravelry. (Well, they say hindsight is 20/20….) My fabulous MIL put me in touch with the recipient, and I made a date to drive up to Annapolis MD to have a photoshoot with this cowl. I planned to pack my pretty portable lightbox, and started looking around at forms to pose the cowl with.
And of course, none of them will arrive in time for the shoot. Thankfully, my wonderful Local Yarn Store, Woolwinders, has agreed to lend me one of theirs.
Which led to this ridiculous moment. But it’s not mine… I wanted to keep it safe on the drive home from the store. And I promise I didn’t cheat and drive in any HOV lanes…
Alas, it was not to be, as the woman who had the cowl wanted to meet at Target, and the last thing I wanted to do was show up at a store with a half naked (or should I say half a naked) woman mannequin to shoot my cowl with. So I left it behind, and got some pretty good shots against the white boxes they use as displays in Target, and a few on actual Target mannequins. Not ideal, but not bad in a pinch either. See those photos here.
And in the end, I’m glad I didn’t order the half naked lady thingee. I think what I’d really like is one of these babies:
You can actually pin your piece to the form, and there are no super disturbing nipples to cover up! Bonus!
But for now, I’ll just keep trying to get the best shots I can of my work, and maybe, someday, start populating an Etsy store!