Taylored Expressions March Studio Challenge – Photography

How to successfully photograph cards indoors

Thanks So Much by Jen Shults

Studio Challenge

It’s time for the Baker’s Dozen Studio Challenge.  This is a monthly opportunity for the Taylored Expressions team to share what makes our stamping studios hum.  Each month we  have a fun, crafty question so we can share our favorites, some tips and tricks, stamping advice and more.

The question for March is:

You oughta be in pictures!! 

We all love to share our completed projects with others on our blogs and in on-line galleries.  So, when the stamping ends, the photography begins.  This is a fun step for some and a frustrating one for others.  How is it for you?

Tell us how you get those beautiful project photos.

Well, that is a lot of question in a few simple lines. 🙂 I’ve been using the same photography method and camera for a few years now and I’ve been pretty happy with the results I get. I mainly stamp and blog at night so I photograph my cards indoors using artificial lighting and I used Photoshop CS4 to edit my pictures.

My lighting and photography ‘studio’ set up:

For my lighting and photography ‘studio’ I use an end table with a regular lamp with a high watt bulb (currently it’s a GE Reveal 150 watt bulb), a stack of 3-4 books, an open sketch pad, a doily (optional) and occasionally contrasting colored cardstock. Here’s a peek at what it typically looks like (the crochet project to the side comes standard with this photography option)…

Indoor Card Photography Set Up by Jen Shults

Typically I make a pile of books to stack my sketchbook set up on so it’s a bit closer to the light because my lamp is quite tall. I open the sketchbook to the first page and lay a second page horizontally across the back to give me a bit more background and reflected light. I use the doily under the card because it helps to keep the card from sliding down on the sketchbook paper. I try to angle my cards a bit so you can see the fold just a bit – I like this look better than straight on, but that’s just personal preference.

My camera is a Canon Rebel Xsi. It’s an older lower end digital SLR. I use a Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 II lens with automatic focus. I typically set my camera manually with the ISO set to 200 with a shutter speed no lower than 1/80 and an f-stop no lower than f 2.8. The actual numbers vary from card to card. I also have the white balance on my camera set to incandescent lighting so it helps adjust the light color temperature to more towards daylight settings.

Photo Editting…

Here’s a peek at my card photos right out of the camera (I did reduce the size and add a watermark but there was no other fiddling with these photos).



I use Photoshop CS4 to edit my photos and typically I make the same adjustments each time. Truthfully you don’t need Photoshop to edit your images. We have it because my husband is a graphic artist and uses it for work – I’m lucky to be able to piggy back on that. My editing process goes like this:  I sharpen the image, I adjust the levels (to fix the white balance), I crop the image, add a watermark and occasionally I add a nice white border.

Because it would make an incredibly long blog post I actually wrote out the step by step in PDF form with pictures that you can download here. It goes through every step I used to take and edit the photo at the top of the page (with the exception of adding the white border – that’s a little involved).

Here’s a closer look at the inside of my card and the focal point:


I kept it pretty simple on the inside but gave it a little something to echo the front. 🙂


Here’s all the handy info on what when into my card:

Stamps: Easter Doodles (Taylored Expressions)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Ranger Vintage Photo Distress Ink
Paper: My Mind’s Eye Collectable 6×6: Unforgettable, Kraft Cardstock (Bazzill), Choice Snow White (Taylored Expressions)
Dies: Layering Doilies, Banner Stacklets 1, Banner Stacklets 2, Label Stacklets 2, Chevron Border Die (all by Taylored Expressions)
Accessories: Twine Thread (May Arts), Ink Blushers, Best Glue Ever (Taylored Expressions), Distress Tool (Prima), Sharpie Pen, Copic Markers

Be sure to check out how the rest of the Baker’s Dozen handled this challenge! I know they will have tons of helpful info!

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