On Sunday March 2, three brave WEST members ventured out into the relentless cold to get to Shauna Townley's photography studio in the Exchange district.
First off, Shauna showed us how to make a light box out of materials you probably have on hand. I won't go into the how-to here, but if you search "lightbox tutorial" you will get lots of options to look at. You can make a light box any size to suit your products. She also talked about other options, including fabric and coroplast to diffuse the light.
Next, Shauna talked about lighting, including types of lighting, how different lighting can make colours appear differently, lighting setup and angles, and inexpensive options for light sources. In the picture above, you can see an inexpensive LED work light on a tripod, which provides great light and is easy to find at home improvement stores. One great feature of LED lights is that they stay cool, which is great for the photographer while working, plus you can put filters over them without danger of melting/fire.
Shauna gave us some tips specific to our own products, including how to reduce glare on ceramic items (Lisa) and how to bring out the texture of crochet and fabric items (Alisia & Laura).
She also suggested getting to know the manual settings on our cameras, and moving away from the automatic settings. Understanding depth of field and other manual settings can make the difference between acceptable and fabulous photographs.
If there's one thing we all took away from the workshop, it was to read our camera manuals and spend time getting to know our own cameras!
I took a couple of test shots with Shauna's light box and one of my books. I don't use a light box myself because of the size of my items. You can see when I'm only showing the front cover above, it fits in the light box, but if I open it up to show the front and back (below), it's too large. While I could use a much bigger box to make a light box for my items, it would take up a lot of room when not in use. I did come away with some other ideas on how to set up my photographs with appropriate lighting that I will work on in the future.
When Laura of PrairiePeasant and PrairieThreads is not photographing her products she is stitching books and baskets for her etsy shops.