from Formspring.me:
How do you get such nice white backgrounds in your photographs? Truly curious, ShyShirley 
Hi ShyShirley!

I assume you mean the white backgrounds in my step-by-step tutorials?

Clear, well-lit photos are a MUST when it comes to sharing your craft or DIY tutorials.  And having a background that isn’t white or close to it can be distracting when you’re trying to show a step-by-step process.  (Though for photos of the finished product it’s often better to see them in action or in a stylized set-up, not on a pristine sterilized white background.)

Since I don’t have a photographic studio or anything, I fudge my photos using these things:

Photo taken on posterboard, near window in daytime.  I haven’t Photoshopped this yet; it’s just to show you the board.

1) A large piece of white posterboard from the craft store. I have to replace it every couple months or so because it gets scratched and gunky.

2) Taking the photos inside near a window, but out of direct sunlight. I’ll always take two shots of the same setup: one using the fill flash attachment to my camera; one without.

Photo taken at night using posterboard, Ott-Lite, and fill flash.  The contrast is very stark but colors are super-saturated.

If I absolutely *have* to take photos at nighttime (which I hate doing, but sometimes it’s unavoidable) I’ll use a portable Ott-Lite (which is, FYI a really excellent lighting source; super-bright and gets the colors to show up true – the best light I’ve ever used, hands-down…and I don’t know how I crafted or DIY’ed anything prior to getting it LOL;-)) and the fill flash on my camera. This produces very harsh shadows and I usually can only do this for close-ups and detailed tutorials.

3) Messing around with the Levels in Photoshop until the background goes as white as I can get it without losing detail in the object I’m photographing.

Photo taken against the gray wall.  I was very aggressive with the levels in Photoshop and you can see the wall is no longer gray, but the shadows are still fairly harsh.

I also have a light gray wall in my house that sometimes I photograph things against, using the fill flash and aiming a floor lamp at it.

This is all pretty primitive but it seems to work okay (except when I need to get shots of something that’s bigger than my posterboard!:-(

Hope that helps!
xoxxo
Carly


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