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Jun 26, 2012

Project Photography, Tools, & Editing - A How-To Video

It's time for the MFT Creative Chat. The My Favorite Things Design Team Creative Chat is a monthly feature, where we are challenged to explore our creative spaces and share valuable organizational methods, tools, and shopping strategies with you. You'll be able to peek into our creative spaces, ask questions, and share your own ideas in the MFT forum.  This month, we were asked the following questions:

Show us your project photography setup.
What type of camera do you use, and what settings do you prefer?
How do you edit your photographs?  Walk us through your standard editing procedure.

Visit the MFT Blog for a full list of designers that have taken up the challenge and get ready to delve into the minds of our creative team.

OK, let me start by saying I am not a professional by any means.  I do my best, try to learn new "tricks" as I can, and make an effort to improve my photos, so you can call me a work in progress.  *wink*

Project Photography Setup

This is the photo tent/light box that I use.  It's about 16" square and comes with different colored drop cloths.  I only use the white one.  Because I have it on my floor/carpet, and not on something white, I added a couple pieces of white cardboard with a piece of white card stock laying on it to the 2 areas that light does not shine through.  That helps me keep a very white background.  Here is a pretty stock photo.  You can buy one from Amazon HERE.
Here is how it looks "in real life".  I have an extra light so I add one to the top, shining down, and one on each side.  That helps me light up the inside of the box nice and bright.  It is laying on the floor/carpet because I have no where else to set it up.  I do not like to set it up and take it down repeatedly, so it's a fixture in my stamp room.  On the floor. 

Here it is with all three lights on.  You can see there is quite a bit of light. 

Now for the funny part... I mentioned my light box is always on my floor.  Well... so am I when I photograph my cards!  LOL  Imagine a superman pose, laying on the floor.  That's me down there... getting ready to take a picture!  LOL  It's not ideal, but it works for me.  

Camera and Settings

I use the Sony DSC-HX1 to take photographs.  It can also be used an HD video camera, which is a nice bonus.  You can find it on Amazon, HERE.  It has plenty of perks that hopefully make up for my lack of expertise.  This camera was suggested to me by Kim, the owner of MFT.  

 I like the big display screen and it's pretty user-friendly.

Here are the settings on the camera.  I tend to stay on the P setting.  Confession: I have no clue what that means.  I have it on P, make sure the macro is on (the little flower) and that is the end of my prep work.  I'm thinking I need to carve out some time and read the manual.  *note to self - learn how to use camera ASAP

Editing Software and Procedure

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 to edit my photographs.  I purchased it from the Apple App store for my iMac.  Looks like there is a new version out, and you can check it out HERE.
Thanks to Karen Giron, I was able to figure out how to record what I was doing on my screen, so I created a nifty video showing me editing a photo, real-time.  I use several different methods when editing my card photos and this is just one of them.  This a "newer" method of editing, thanks to a lesson from the fabulous Joanne Basile.  Like I said... always striving for improvement!  

Click HERE to watch the video, or click the "play" button below.  

Here are the before and after photos for the card photo I used for the video above. 



Thanks for stopping by today!  Don't forget to go visit the rest of the team.  You'll find the links on the MFT Blog.

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  1. I can totally see you lying on your floor, with super hero cape, trying to take photos of your cards, hahaha! Thanks for the amazing tutorial, Jody! I am going to try the eyedropper method - I've not heard of that before and it looks great!

  2. sheesh if I got on the floor I mightn't get up again LOL.

  3. Hi Jody, thanks for all those amazing tips and trics. Whahaha LOL now I have to think of Superman every time I see your gorgeous cards show up on your blog ;-)))

  4. before you even told us how you photograph your cards, that's how I envisioned it. lol. Love it! and loved your tutorial. thanks for sharing!

  5. I really like the price and size of your light box. Thanks for all the tips and great video!

  6. Great video with some great tips!! Love your lightbox, too!

  7. Hats off to all of you gals who lie on the floor to take photos....I guess we will do whatever it takes to have some natural light and get great photos :) Great tips Jody!

  8. Thank you for sharing your tips. I am really enjoying this chat!!

  9. This topic is so great! My husband just asked me yesterday what I wanted for my birthday next week and I told him a light I have all the info in one spot. Thanks for sharing!

  10. This topic is so great! My husband just asked me yesterday what I wanted for my birthday next week and I told him a light I have all the info in one spot. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Well, your cards always look amazing! I have that camera, but maybe a different year. The "P" is program auto, so you would have had to set your own specifics. I just use the auto button. It does make great videos too. I have wanted that Photo Shop Elements for quite some time but put it off because I am not good with new programs unless someone shows me. Thanks for the great tutorial. :)


  12. Great photography tutorial Jody! I can only imagine you in the Superman pose photographing your projects! :) Thanks for taking the time to share!

  13. I actually have the same setup, but not on the floor.
    I do have a question- have your bulbs ever burnt out? I can't seem to find a replacement for them.

  14. Thank you so much for this very helpful tutorial! I really appreciate it. ;-)

  15. Omgoodness! Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just purchased this light box and was at a loss on how to position the lights. This is awesome. I've also wanted to know how to edit and I have the same program. This was like Christmas finding this post. Thank you again!


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