Saturday, February 19, 2011

Surprising Photography Set-up

I was once voted "most likely to surprise you." And I think you'll be surprised just how simple my photography set-up is. Paper, tape, table. Done.

I have tried building my own light box out of a big cardboard box. It was bulky and in the way, and the lighting was a huge hassle. I got eco-friendly light bulbs that would look like real daylight, I got 4 plug-in clip-on lamps, I got extension cords to plug in all my clip-on lamps, blah blah blah. The receipts had really big numbers on them. It was a hot mess (literally - those lamps heat up quick!).

I have tried building my own light box out of pvc pipe and sheets. First of all, just so ya know, you do not need a 2ft square light box.* :) That's too big! I tried sheer sheets, white sheets, a white shower curtain, all cut to size and attached to my huge pvc pipe frame with zip-ties. Again the project turned out to be expensive, bulky, and didn't improve my photographs.

Taken Outside (and yes it was cold)

So wouldn't you know it, big surprise, sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution. On overcast days I take photographs outside. I have a table, and I tape a sheet of gray matte paper to the banister as a backdrop. Done.

Taken Inside

On any other day I am inside next to a window. With my gray sheet of paper taped to a trash can on top of a table. On inside days I also make use of a mirror propped up to give some reflected light and/or a sheet of sheer tissue paper taped to the window to diffuse direct or bright sunlight.

I recommend a gray paper backdrop over white paper because white paper can be overpowering in its brightness. Gray is neutral and won't reflect the colors of your props like white paper will. Also, depending on your camera's metering settings, the white paper may cause the camera to adjust for a brighter setting. I learned this tidbit from my Dad, who now says that "gray paper is like the third bowl of porridge. Not too hot. Not too cold." He's a brilliant, deep thinker.

So there you have it. A surprisingly simple photography set-up = paper + tape. Mirror is optional.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Importance of Planning, Friends, and a Well Balanced Life

Being a business woman is hard work! Especially when I rely on my brain to remember everything I need to do.

Planning is IMPORTANT. Unfortunately, planning is not a strength of mine. I enjoy doing things, I don't enjoy planning to do things. This goes for making art, traveling, meeting with friends, etc. Don't take it personally. I guess I'm just a person who prefers an organic lifestyle, one that manifests itself naturally, instead of being PLANNED. I could go on a real tangent here ...

Last week I took the time to write out what I would get done on a Friday because Friday is a good day to devote to my business and my friends (I work other jobs M-Th). So I made the cutest daily schedule EVER! I shared it with friends because I was so proud of it. Of course, the most interesting part of the list was that I had scheduled a snack. Not so unusual to artists - we forget to eat sometimes when we get 'in the groove'. So it made sense to me to schedule when to eat. Well, the great friends I have, who I currently PLAN to see as much as possible (to keep a well balanced life) thought it was so funny. And now I never hear the end of it.

Friends are IMPORTANT. If I were to devote as much time to the business as I'd like to I would never see my friends. Plus, now they remind me to eat snacks, publicly, on my facebook page.