Photography Secrets for Shooting in Your Home
I’m not sure what I ever did to annoy Mother Nature, but it seems to me that every time I finish a project and need to photograph it, the weather turns ugly. Case in point: my cake stand was completed the day the tornadoes ripped through North Carolina. So I had to bust out some photography secrets I’ve learned.
But, rather than be deterred by some nasty weather, I decided to use a few tricks I learned from some professional photographers I’ve worked with over the years. And, from a few photography blogs like:
iHeartFaces.com and EverydayElementsOnline.com and My3Boybarians.
One of the photography secrets I learned was how to bounce the light back onto the subject. To light the underside of the cake stand, I set a mirror next to the cake stand and angled it to reflect the light onto the bottom of the stand. I was careful not to let a strong highlight hit on the stand from the reflection.
Next I used a foam core board propped up against a chair. I positioned the board back and forth until I saw the light brightening the cake stand and dessert.
With just those two changes I was able to change my cake stand photo from this:
to this! Va va vooom!
Another one of my photography secrets I used while shooting some of my tutorials is to use two pieces of foam core to get a professional looking white background.
Sometimes if I’m feeling very perfectionist, I’ll use Photoshop to edit my photos. To erase the seam, I selected a color that is midway between the foreground and background foam core.
Then, I used the airbrush tool to paint out the seams that stand out.
Sometimes I really want to photograph a still life in an environment. Take my spray-painted bottles for example:
Whoa, that is one dark and dreary photo. Once again, I had finished the project and the clouds rolled in. So, here is how I dealt with fickle Mother Nature.
I put the bottles in the window to capture as much natural light as I could. Then, I backed away from my subjects and zoomed in with my lens. Next, I used a flash (egads, not a flash!) Yes, I used a flash, but I have the ability to change the flash exposure in my camera so it wouldn’t wash out the subject. And because I was far back from the vases, the flash wasn’t as harsh.
And here is the resulting photo!
I wouldn’t say it is perfect by any standards, but the photos look much more appealing. Don’t you think?
(At the time that I took the above photos, I didn’t have this great flash gadget. However, recently I ordered a Light Scoop and I love how it bounces the flash off the ceiling instead of the object. This is an inexpensive alternative to buying an external flash.)
To head off the inevitable camera question: I currently use a Canon T1i Rebel (SLR). However, I before I bought the Rebel I used a simple point and shoot camera and made some edits in Photoshop to compensate for the cheaper camera.
First I select Auto Tone and if I’m happy with the changes PS made, I move on to the Auto Contrast.
To make the colors more vivid, I play with the Vibrancy and Saturation Settings:
Finally, to give the details that crisp focus look, I add the Sharpen filter:
There are oodles of other fixes that Photoshop can perform on your photos, but these are the ones I use the most.
Do you have any photography tips or tricks? I’d love to hear them.
My friend Megan (Honey We’re Home) has a great post all about using your SLR! Check it out HERE.
Thank you for the awesome tips! Possibly, one of the best blogs I have come across! I am new to photography and love the tricks you have shared! Keep on!
Hi – great tips. Thanks so much. I just got a Nikon DSLR and I have to lean how to use it better. A little nervous but – I will get over the fear.
Meanwhile, your tips about the mirror and the foamcore are really great. And your PhotoShop tips – very understandable.
Now, all I have to do is to learn how to use the dials on my camera!
Thanks for these hot tips! Bought my foam core and am ready to go 🙂
Great tips! Somehow I missed this original post; therefore, I’m glad you posted it again.
Girl, you are blessed! Everything you touch becomes golden! I’ll definitely keep your photo tips handy for future posts. Thank you for sharing!
If I may offer a tip (and please don’t use the photos on my site as a judge, I use my iPhone) for the “professional looking white background”, instead of using two foam coare pieces set together and photoshopping out the seam, use a large piece of white construction paper. Lean it up against the wall and allow it to curve on the floor. Same effect, no seam 🙂
Shelly, thanks I might try that. I like the rigidity of the foamcore because it stands up easily. But, I can always clip the posterboard to the foamcore!
…thanks for sharing these ideas on photography….no matter what you do your pictures look great…furthermore, I was in North Carolina as well visiting my sister when the tornados hit….s-c-a-r-y is all I can say. We were at the Museum of Natural History (or something similar)…my sister is in Jamestown. Keep up the great blog – thoroughly enjoying all your posts and hard work!!!
We have to know about this shooting in your home we know secrets of photography.
Very nice post by authour on Photography Secrets for Shooting in Your Home
Absolutely awesome, as always! Question: any ‘secret’ to lighting artwork? I don’t use flash (I have a point ‘n shoot Kodak) try to use natural light, but am wondering about foamcore/mirror trick for canvas. Have you tried it?
Colleen, I was taught to get good photos of my artwork (when you don’t want to pay a professional) take the artwork outside on a cloudy day or in the shade. Then try photographing it. You will get the truest colors this way.
I found you via Centsational Girl! Loved this. I’m *just* thinking about finally buying Photoshop and I think you may have convinced me. Those are some quick and easy fixes! Thanks!
Just wondering where can you buy the foam core board?
Pam, foam core is sold at all major arts and craft stores, office supply and even our grocery store sells it, but I like the 30″ x 40″ sizes. Mine is manufactured by Elmer’s.