I’ve been asked many times how I get my Project Life images clear and crisp on my blog post and I think I owe you this long overdue post to explain how I go about photographing my spreads.
Seriously, there’s no special techniques involved in getting the right images to show the pages exactly what you see in real life. Anyone can do this, as long as you have the important condition to capture the ideal shots of your PL spreads. Lighting. I’ll elaborate more in a short while.
I’ll share some tips on how I always go about taking photos of my Project Life pages and this will also work the same for any other craft projects or any kind of photos you wish to capture. Just remember that there’s no hard and fast rules how you can make the best of the situation to get the best shots. I’m sharing the things I need to consider when I take photos of my projects, how I do it and what works for me. So, there’s really no right or wrong how you do it. As long as it works for you, that’s all it matters most.
Here are some tips which may come useful for you.
I live in an apartment on a 9th floor and I’m lucky that part of my unit is not blocked by another apartment. I get the best natural light streaming into my place on a bright and sunny day, especially my bedroom. No direct sunlight but with enough light to brighten up my room perfectly.
You need find your ideal space in your home or even outside without direct sunlight. Just look for a space bright enough for photographing your projects. I’m sure there’s a space somewhere in your home with window big enough to let in good natural light.
My second choice of space in my home with great natural lighting would be my living room. With a full length window, I have enough light to brighten up my whole apartment. I have a night curtain which I usually draw it close before I photograph my Project Life spread. This would diffuse any additional light that could be too harsh for my pages. Funny thing is, even though my bedroom window has a roller blind, without any curtain to act as diffuser, my layouts don’t look too harsh when I photograph them. So, you really need to play around with the natural light in your home and get the right spot.
On another note, I do not photograph my projects after 6pm. It’s too dark and my photos would look a little grainy to my liking. I also do not take photos at night with the lights turned on. It looks awful and I have to spend extra time editing them. That’s my own “rule”.
The best time I think to take photos would be between 9-11 morning or 3-5 afternoon. It really depends on the lighting condition of your space. Just find the right time to photograph your projects and they will look great.
All you need is a few simple props to lay your PL spreads. For me, I bought big sheets of white art paper from Art Friend, our local art store, as the background and lay it on top of a hard cork board I bought from Ikea years ago. It’s good to get a flat and firm base in order to prevent unevenness of your PL spread, especially like me where I photograph my spread on my bed with a softer surface compared to the floor. I then lay them on my bed near the window where I get the best natural light.
Photographing PL Spread
There’s seriously no big secret in getting clear and crisp images of my Project Life pages. I simply remove all the cards from the plastic protector and lay them on top of the protector! That’s it. Easy right?
I’ve tried photographing my PL spread with all the cards in the pockets of my protectors many times and I still get good clean images as well. I don’t really get reflection when I photograph them maybe because of the light coming into my bedroom and the angle that I photograph my pages. Sometimes I just move my spread to a different corner of my bed until I get the right position without getting any reflection.
The other reason I like to photograph my PL spread out of the protector is because I can see the texture of my embellishment better. If they’re inside the pockets, the cards will look a little flat.
So, once the cards are all laid out properly on top of the protector, you’re ready to take the shot.
I always use my SLR to photograph my PL spread as they produce sharper and better resolution images and they look better when posted online. I would then stand over my PL spread, direct the camera face down directly on top of my page and snap away! I usually take a couple of shots to be on the safe side so I can choose the best one to crop and edit.
Do remember to compose your picture carefully so it don’t look distorted. Use the grid lines on your camera screen to guide the 4 sides of you spread to get an accurate composition.
Note: I always bump up the exposure reading to +1 or +2. The image always look brighter on my SLR screen and a little darker on my laptop. So, bumping up the exposure a little saves me a little more time when I edit my images on Photoshop.
Once I take enough shots of the complete layout of my spread, I would then take close up shots to get in more details of each card. You can capture your close up shot at different angle.
You can shoot at an angle like what I did on the image below. This would be my favorite angle whenever I photograph the details of my cards. It show a little more texture of the embellishment with this view. It really depends on individual preference how you want to capture your close up images, as long as you feel it best represent the details of your spread.
And the other way of getting a close up shot will be top straight down. This view is as good as the angle earlier and it’s also a favorite of mine. I like that it’s simple, clean and straight forward. It also shows a clear and close view of the details of my cards.
Once I’m happy with all the shots I’ve taken, I’ll download them onto my hard disk and start to filter through all the images. I’ll pick out my best images that are clear and sharp and do some minor editing on Photoshop. I tweak the images a little using the curve and level adjustment layers, crop them if required and voila!
Here’s a complete layout of one side of my spread.
I do hope you find my tips useful and helps you take better photos of your Project Life.
I’ll be back soon again to share more of my pages in the coming days.