DIY: Crafty Photography Set Up


I've had a few readers and ask about how I take my photos for the blog and I thought it would be fun to do a behind the scenes post. I'm pretty new to photography and am still learning as I go, but here's a peak into my current set up for crafty photos.

The diagram above pretty much shows how simple my set up is, but break it down:

1. A furry photo assistant is, of course, optional, but cute and recommended... ;)

2. I use a window as a natural light source. This room faces west, so early afternoon when light is flooding through the window is best for photos. I avoid taking photos in the late afternoon when harsh, direct sunlight is coming through the window, because I don't like the sharp shadows it creates. You can experiment with taking photos near a window in your home at different times during the day to see what time of day works best for you.

3. I bought some foam board at the craft store that I use as a backdrop. The ones I bought have a shiny side and a matte side. I like using the matte side facing up so that there is no reflection in the photo.  I just lay one board on the table and the other one I prop up at the back of the table as a backdrop.

4. I use a small, short table (this one is from Ikea and super affordable). I like using a short table so that I can stand above it and take bird's eye view photos. I can also kneel in front of the table to take pictures at eye level. Here's a better look at the full set up with the table... 


And, finally, here is the shot I got with this set up... 


Pretty simple, huh?!  I'm a firm believer that photography doesn't have to be overly complicated. Natural light and a clean background is sometimes all you need for a good crisp photo.  Of course, you can always experiment and grow from there. 

So, how do you guys set up for your photographs? Do you have any photography tips to share?

(Thanks to Caleisha and Mackenzie for asking about my photography set up. Also, stay tuned, because I'm working on some more photography tip posts to help give you some more ideas on how to spice up your photos!)

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43 comments:

  1. Oh I like the furry photo assistant! I take photos of things that are happening more than objects, so I'm always battling with the light! (I can't ask the wallabies or chickens to hold that pose for another hour when the light is better ;-) )

    I still haven't found the right spot in our house though to photograph my knitting projects and things :-)

    Sarah xx

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    1. I can just imagine how hard it can be to take pics of farm critters! Also, I think finding the perfect spot to take photos is the hardest part, but once you find that spot it is great because you know you'll be able to recreate great photos there time after time. Good luck finding your own spot. :)

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  2. very good tips!
    natural light is the way to go :)

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  3. I am working on setting up a photo set up like this in my craft room. There is decent window light in there to make the pictures come out lovely! :):) Thanks for the reminder to get on this project!! Plus I really like your idea of using a low table!

    Smiles,
    The Joyful Thrifter

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  4. Vey cool! I need to step up my photos a bit. Thanks for the tips!!

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  5. Thanks for the breakdown. It's so hard to get light here in the winter-time, since I get home after five. I have to shoot on weekends for now until Spring!

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  6. I really need to set something like this up for my jewelry. Thanks for the tips :)

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  7. I am a fan of natural light, though I usually use a wooden background. Then again, I don't generally shoot products or crafts so it's ok that I use a more distracting background :)

    Good tip on the short table, though. I always have to balance on things to take a bird's eye view photo.

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    1. ps- I see that you got all fancy on the book clutch button on the side, there ;)

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  8. Thank you for the tips :-) I've been wanting to find ways to improve my crochet photos. I have that same table from ikea so that's a start!

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  9. Love this -- pretty much how I take my photos as well. I feel very lucky that I have a white dining table and a plethora of blank canvases laying around.

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  10. I use natural lighting too... definitely more of a challenge during the short days of the winter and I'm glad the daylight hours are getting longer. Hope you had a great weekend, Erica! :)

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing! This is so helpful!

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  12. I really need to work on my photography setup. I need some lighting. Our house is really dark and it's almost winter.

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  13. great idea, I prefer natural light too, I never use the lamp for pictures

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  14. Haha!I love your furry photo assistant. This is such a useful post!

    Rachael xx.

    http://theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk/

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  15. Thanks for the tips. Using natural light as much as possible is definitely the best advice I've been given for taking photos.

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  16. Great post! I do the same thing! I use foam board and white poster board near a window. Setting the foam boards up around your objects works great to bounce light and reduce shadows. When I need a little help with the light I have a couple Ottlite lights for some non-yellow light. (Wow, could I add a few more "lights" to that sentence haha!)
    Kate :}

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    1. I've been meaning to look up lights to use for photography. It would be great to be able to take photos when it wasn't bright out. So many times I want to start a project, but it's already dark out and I can't take any photos... boo! Thanks for the tip on the Ottlite. :)

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    2. Erica, after reading your comment I thought I'd share my tutorial on indoor lighting without natural light(my tutorial). I was getting frustrated for a while because there were many times when it was dark and I couldn't use natural light, so I had to resolve that! :) So far it's working out for me, when I can't make use of that lovely natural light!

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    3. Thanks for the link. Heading over...

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  17. natural light is the best - i absolutely hate using flash. furry assistants are a necessity!

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  18. I wish I had a furry photo assistant...too cute! I set up my photos a similar way. The natural light is so important!

    Alyssa
    The Glossy Life

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  19. This is such a great and helpful post - why have I not thought of getting simple white foam boards earlier? I've been struggling to get good shots in my flat, as there is always something below/behind the object I'm photographing, which creates unflattering shadows. And I also own this little Ikea table, which from now on I will definitely start using when photographing. Thank you SO MUCH for your tips!

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  20. Hi! ♥ I've just stumbled upon your blog and it's so lovely.

    Great advice. Natural light is the key!


    Abigail ♥
    www.deardaffodils.blogspot.co.uk

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  21. I use the foam board approach too, when it comes to natural light usage! Though I'm still working out eliminating those shadows, but I'm getting there. :)

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  22. Great post!
    Something similar is happening here. :)

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  23. This is great! Definitely insightful and have to try one day!

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    1. Oh oh oh - love furry assistant. I'll have to recruit mine as well :)

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  24. You have the cutest assistant ever!

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  25. thank you that was actually pretty helpful. I'm always looking for new ideas. I like to use a large tray. I set up on the tray and then take it outdoors, rain or shine hehe.

    Xo Inna
    Baking in Couture

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  26. Great tips ! ^^ Definitely handy. I'm still waiting for the natural light. (Downsides of living up North, looong winter. :)

    Satu
    Indie by heart
    Join my Kukee - necklace Giveaway!

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  27. Great set up! I actually have that same exact table from Ikea (with the matching coffee table) and I use the coffee table for shots for my blog all the time. I like positioning my table by the window and shooting so my backyard is in the background sometimes - it makes the photos look like they were taken outdoors and gives great blurred color in the background. Thanks for sharing your secrets!! :)

    Stephanie
    twenty-something

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  28. Great post, I'm doing a similar thing in my kitchen... The only difference is that my furry assistant is a cat :)))))

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  29. I need to learn more about photography and I keep thinking I need a more "expensive" camera,. Here's the problem I have most often when taking photo's of crocheted things: The yarn is reflective, so when using flash it just appears as an "orb" in the photo. Without flash, my camera fuzzies the pic because of movement. Is there a solution to this that you know of, aside from using a tripod?

    Erin
    Elements of Erin

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    1. Hi Erin! As you've noticed, camera flashes really tend to create weird shadows and reflections in photos. Instead of using a flash, try to find a place in your home with lots of natural light. You may even need to move a table near a window like I did to take advantage of the natural light. If you don't want to stabilize with a tripod, there are other ways to stabilize the camera. For instance, prop you elbows on the table to take the photo. That can help keep your arms still as you take the photo and reduce some of those pesky 'fuzzies' in the photo. You could also look into some artificial lights. I'm no expert at this yet, but a few readers above have made recommendations in the comments. Kate suggested the Ottlite and Aubrey linked to her blog post on LED lights. Hope that helps! :)

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  30. Hey, thanks for letting me know about this post... I can't believe I missed it!! Awesome advice. I definitely need to get some foam board. I've seen people use white sheets before but I have no idea how they keep them wrinkle-free, haha. This is a better solution. Now I just need to figure out a good place to set up... I live in a tiny apartment with other buildings surrounding the windows so the light isn't the best!!

    If/when I get some good shots, I'll let you know :) Thanks for the advice!!!

    Mackenzie
    www.heybirdfriend.com

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  31. Love this behind the scenes post!! I used these tips taking photos at my house this morning!

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  32. What a lovely blog, thanks especially for posting these tips <3

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  33. I like to use a piece of poster board. I prop it up so it serves as both the "floor" and the backdrop. That way there are no seams. I also like to use foam board and sometimes I wrap it in bulletin board paper for a different look. I do all of this in my backyard (when I can) for the best natural light.

    --Elena
    acasarella.net

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    1. Thanks so much for your tips. I'll have to try out poster board, because those seams do bug me. Also, I'll need to try moving my setup outside. All that extra natural light would be lovely.

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