Sunday, February 14, 2010

Photography: Cheap "photo box"

In the summer it's easy to take pictures of my beads. I head outside and the sun does all the work. But when winter set in this year with the typical Pittsburgh gray skies, I had trouble getting good shots of my beads.
My mother bought me a photo box last year but it's a bit larger than I can leave up on a permanent basis. And when I tested it, the lights weren't quite bright enough and there was a glare. I'm sure all that can be worked out but without a permanent spot, it's a fair amount of trouble to set it up for only a few items at a time.
These lamps from IKEA solved my problem. I bought this set for my nightstands and then discovered that with a Philips "Naturally Light" 75 watt "daylight" bulb in each, they provide enough light for my photos and the frosted glass takes care of the glare problem.

I place them on my kitchen counter below two recessed light for additional lighting power. (Make sure you get the two lamp set. IKEA sells a smaller version as a single item but it won't work because it only takes a 40 watt bulb and that's not enough light.) Unfortunately IKEA doesn't sell the set online.
See the picture above for the set up. I put my beads between the two lights or in the corner created by putting the two lights next to each other. I use a white Tyvek envelope or a paper towel for the white base.
I usually have to do a tiny bit of additional brightening in Photoshop but pretty minor. It's a great wintertime solution! Here is an image straight out of the camera and the same image after I tweaked the levels and brightness in Photoshop.

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