photography set-up 11.9.2017

I use my iphone 5 for photographing my art pieces. I used a digital camera in the past, but find that my phone takes photos that look just as good for my use, and photographing with my phone is much easier. For the past year or so, this has been my photo setup for taking pictures of my ceramics.


A piece of black velvet is laid gently on my couch, just so, in order for it to not fall down. Then, I move my coffee table back and sit on the floor to get the correct vantage point for taking photos. I love the black background. I think the black allows the color in each piece to show up well. When I’ve used a white background, the white seems to mute the other colors.

Using the couch to take photos has proven difficult because I need just the right light coming in through the window. If it’s a dark day, there’s not enough light, even if I use a day-light/full-spectrum bulb. If it’s a sunny day, there’s too much light. Also, I’m weary of climbing down on to the floor to take photos. It’s probably a good activity for my body, but I don’t like it. And lastly, my dear cat Kitten always likes to jump up onto the velvet, most likely to get me to pay attention to her. The entire process wasn’t convenient so I went in search of a new method.

Here’s the lightbox that Emily Murphy set up for herself. I definitely don’t have the space for that! I thought about making an inexpensive light box out of cardboard and white fabric. But it would be hard to find a space for that, too. I thought about using a dedicated north window, where the sunlight wouldn’t be a problem, and painting a patch of the wall a gray color to be the photo background. Here’s how Mea Rhee does it. But in the end, I’ve decided for now to use my upstairs back porch as a photo studio. It’s on the north side of my house, so there’s rarely direct sunlight. And it’s outside, where there’s almost always enough natural light for photography. Of course on very dreary and dark days, I won’t be able to photograph, but there will be plenty of days that are bright enough.

Here’s the table that my husband made a long time ago. Similar to a Murphy bed, I can push the table up and hook it to the wall so that it hangs flat against the wall when it’s not in use. The table’s unpainted and the wall’s a bit old and ugly colored in this “before” image. You can see that I taped off the area to be painted.
This is my dear husband, happily hard at work. I could’ve painted the table and wall myself, but my husband is the “your wish is my command” type of guy, so I let him paint. And look how happy he is!
While I supervised, I enjoyed an adult beverage.
Here’s the “after” image of the painted table and wall, with one of my pots ready for photographing.
And here’s my first photograph in my new “photography studio.” No special lights, no tripod. Just me and my iphone 5.

You can see more photos of my work on Instagram or on my Etsy site. The newer pieces have the lighter colored background. I still don’t know if I’ll be happy with the gray background. Some of the lighter colored pieces may not show up well. One day maybe I’ll spring for a background with graduated color.  It’s a work in progress. But this photo set-up solution will definitely make it easier to take pictures of my work!


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