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Topic: I need serious photography help.  (Read 1428 times)
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« on: June 20, 2013 07:18:05 AM »

Hopefully somebody here can give me some pointers. So I live in an apartment with natural light but the sun isn't on my side of the building until after noon. The walls in my apartment are off white. My camera was a hand-me-down...I am 23 and remember taking it to my senior year of high school so it's not ancient but not fancy. However, no matter how much I do the white balance, it comes out just not very good or consistent when I'm doing model photos. Even my small items don't end up where I want. I try to lighten in photoshop but you can only do so much before the colors look washed out. The background always looks grey or off white.

So I need serious tips. I want to start giving my shop a distinct look but don't want to set up a whole space in my house for photos yet. Every time I look stuff up, it's general info or product photography for small items. I know this part of the forum is dead but maybe somebody can give me some good tips or advice. I don't have a lot of money but I'm willing to make simple things to make my photos better. I plan on making a backdrop but I know if I make it white, the problem will still be bad since I tried to run an Etsy shop with this camera before...

Here are some photos, post Photoshop editing.


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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013 08:22:09 AM »


Good question. I have some pointers for you!

1) For small items, try this (or mirror image obviously!) set up on a cloudy day/8am/4pm - aka not bright sunlight 0 your apartment actually sounds perfect for this!:

The idea is to not have too much direct light from behind your camera on your piece, this "flattens" the item - due to a lack of natural shadow. The backing boards can be as simple as white cardboard painted white, or covered in white/cream (cream is my preference) paper. I have a big A3 sheet that comes down and becomes the 'floor' too:

The main point of the extra (unseen) backing board is to reflect natural light back at the piece from the other direction, instead of this light getting lost in the room. Have a go with and without the board and you'll see a huge difference in the shadows, they soften and it makes the camera's job a lot easier - it's no longer focusing it's contrast based on shadows, but instead on your item itself.

Here's an example of a photo I took when I had just started using this method.

2) If you have any preset "scene" options on your camera, and you want to use a white background, try out "Snow" or "Winter" - it works amazingly well to combat the problems you experience with white backgrounds

3) Try getting the floor to be white - you can see the difference the floor is making in your own photos! I think because the camera thinks the floor is the darkest point, and other colours can get washed out in comparison. Or in your case it could be that your shiny floor is reflecting too much light back at the camera, and it's underexposing to adjust for this! To do this, get models to pose on a double sheet which you've hung from the ceiling (or above your photo height) and covers the portion of the floor which will be photographed.

Good luck - I'd love to see some photos after you've given some of my ideas a go!

« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015 01:35:34 PM »

I think you have a good start.  I like the wood floor and the bit of trim on the otherwise blank wall.

No direct light coming in your window is a good thing.  You'll have harsh shadows otherwise.  Are you in between the window and the subject?  Or is the window to the side of both of you?  That will make a difference with how you bounce the light around, so I'll give some general pointers right now...

Do you have a lamp or something to point at the ceiling and light that up?  (I'm assuming you have a white ceiling like most houses).  When I was a broke college kid, I bought 2 of those clip on work lamps and clipped them to various pieces of furniture to light up my scene.  You don't want to point it directly at the person as that will create a bunch of undesirable shadows but up at the ceiling and towards them a bit. 

Put your camera on a tripod-that's always a good idea and you can use the tripod as a place to hold a piece of white foamboard to bounce even more light onto your subject. 

Pull your subject away from the wall a bit too.  Then you can actually light the wall separately from them if you want.


Steph, owner of The Eli Monster
Mom to my monsters, Eli and Adlai
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