3/23/2010

Photographing Blocks

This is my favorite lamp I use for photographing. It actually came from my OB/GYN when he was modernizing his equipment years ago. When I use it I have flashbacks of being flat on my back with my feet in those dreaded stirrups and hearing his sonorous voice..."Nurse, move the light!" And this was the light! It is great though because it is extremely adjustable and movable. The base is cast iron and the casters swivel.


I have just a very tiny space set up in a storeroom/closet for photographing. There is a tiny table about 18" square, a cork board, 3 lights and a tripod.... everything from thrift stores including the tripod. It doesn't take up much room so I can leave it set up all the time.

There is my tall lamp and I have two smaller lamps clipped to shelves on the right. They all just have a regular 60 watt bulb in them. I have my tripod set up BEHIND the lights... about 3' from the block..


Then I pin my block to the cork board. Most of what I do are tips from a photographer friend who shot products for catalogs...

1. I always photograph at night... or in this room whereI can use shades or curtains to darken the room. An overhead light fixture floods the area with light and you lose control. I also use NO flash as it does the same thing... flood the area with light..
2. I turn all the overhead lighting off so there is no ambient light. Then I use adjust the three spot lights to try to eliminate any reflections from shiny items on the block....sequins, jewels etc. I have additional lights if needed but I find that three seem to work just fine for needlework. I used more lights and reflectors when I used to photograph dolls because they were three dimensional and there were more shadows to control.

3. Rather than use a macro lens and get close to the block... I stay back about 3 feet and zoom in... I find I get a sharper image, more detail, and better color...

4. I always use the tripod...I can't hold the camera steady enough for close shots. I have just an inexpensive Kodak digital camera from Costco. I did just get a better camera on e-bay but haven't used it yet.
The whole set up is very low tech and amateurish but it works for me..... I will try to answers any questions if I haven't explained it well enough... I'm sure others have their own methods but this is what works for me...

6 comments:

Cynthia said...

Gerry, that is so cool. I never would have thought I could photograph blocks indoors without a flash or "special" lighting. I can't wait to try this.

Rose Anne B said...

Thank you Gerry, I'm going to study this as my lighting is very BADDDDD in my apt. Much appreciated.

Ann Flowers said...

Thanks so much for the tips!!! Very good ideas. the lanp light is a great idea. Had to laugh when I read where you got the lamp, too funny.


Ann Flowers
flowerscrazyq@gmail.com

Connie said...

Sounds pretty professional to me. Better than my point and shoot technique!

Bobbi Pohl said...

Somehow I can't find your email address, so here goes a question about a previous blog. You described separating daffodil clumps. I have a bunch that need separating, but I thought it had to be done after they bloomed. Don't you lose a lot of blooms doing it so early?

Allison Ann Aller said...

Great set-up. Thanks for the how-to!

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