Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rag Tag Photo setup

Somebody recently asked me about my photo set up, I actually think my little space is pretty funny so I thought I'd share. I used to use a little traditional light box but was never really happy with it, and I didn't like being confined to such a small space so I quit using that some time ago.

Then when I moved in to my new studio space I just chose a corner of my soldering table close to the window (just in case we get some sunshine in the beautiful Pacific NW) and I've been fairly happy there. I also from time to time, again weather permitting, I load up a pile of jewelry and go out to the greenhouse to have a photo session. Haven't had enough sun to do that for some time.

So here it is, my little photo studio corner. I have a light that I have paper taped over to diffuse, a big piece of white art cardboard which I hope reflects the light back.

Above are my favorite props, my absolute favorite being shown in the center here is a little piece of wood I found out in the yard last summer. It looks like a knot from a tree that has been around the block a time or 2. It's so perfect as a background and I can even hang earrings from it in a couple different places.
 Like this

Then there is the other piece of wood I found in the yard that has what look little trenches from bugs burrowing under the bark, when it had bark. This one works especially good with bracelets because I can actually put it in the bracelet to give it some form
like this

The bottom is from a piece of furniture, both the front and back
 are so good for propping pieces up or laying them on the back in all kinds of different ways like this

Here is a shot of that little knot of wood being propped up to hang earrings from.

Above is a larger piece I often use for necklaces, a piece of furniture that we found when we moved in to our home.  I like to take long shots of them laying along that piece of decorative wood
 like this.

 I also use it for bracelets and earrings as shown in the previous picture.
 From time to time try to use that big curl that's hanging off the edge, but things tend to fall through, but I keep trying.

Props are lots of fun, especially when you find a few that coordinate with the type of work you do and you can use them over and over again. I also have 3-4 pieces of slate that have a variety of colors and patterns that work great too.

I created this Flickr group fo you to share your unusual photo and creative set ups I hope some of you will share!!



  1. Thanks for sharing. One of my biggest struggles is photographing my designs. I love the simplicity.

  2. Your set up doesn't have to be pretty for sure, I'd love to see how you do it?

  3. I was using a photo tent but felt too limited and constricted by it. I now have a set up without a photo tent but one problem I find (since I make glass beads) is reflection of the light on my products. I have tried your idea of defusing the light with paper but thought it took too much light away. I'm still working through my thoughts on how to correct this. Thanks for your post. I love your props.

  4. Hi Emakaye, I'm actually not using regular paper, it's Deli Paper which is quite a bit less opaque so it lets more light through. I hope you share some pictures of your set up. Thanks for the comment!

  5. I have a pretty home-grown set up too! I use flour sack towels (you can get them at the grocery store) as diffusers, they're pretty filmy. they work great. I take my pictures inside a clear plastic storage tub, and drape it with the towels.

    I'm a big fan of old pieces of wood for props too!

  6. This is so great! I have a ragtag studio in my basement. Two sheets of vellum over my lights is a great diffuser. I use some slate tiles from the hardware store. Each corner is different. I love using some simple white vases as well. And my favorite is a heavy lamp base that had this concrete color on it. Unfortunately, the base broke in two, so I am not sure that I can salvage it but I love it so!
    Enjoy the day!

  7. That's so cool. I love getting to see behind the curtain like this! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Isn't it funny how NO ONE would believe how we really set up our shots? Take a wide angle of all the things propping up this and that (and I yell for Zack to come hold up some white paper quite often!) and they just so wouldn't believe it -- they think we have these tidy little set-ups!

  9. Kristi ~ I had saved a link to your blog because I didn't want to loose track of you when the "item per day" thread was shut down. Now I see I've gotten a bit behind, but I always love to read your blog and see your incredible work. I love the Fusion Beads challenge ... wonderful. And the pieces of wood that you use for props are incredible (I used to do mixed media on pieces of tree bark ... don't have enough studio space to do it here.) And I love the jewelry you are showcasing in the shops. Glad I took a peek.

  10. What a great bracelet... and everything! I'm utterly inspired :-D

  11. Wow that is so neat! Thanks for sharing those tips. I have struggled in the past with a homemade light box that I was using. Love your blog and your jewelry!