Friday, July 13, 2012

My Photography Setup

Hey guys!

As of recently, I've gotten a ton of emails asking me about my photos and how I've managed to improve them so much. Frankly, they're the best they've ever been, especially in regards to colour accuracy! This can be attributed to a few things, so I figured I should do a post that would answer all of the questions I've been getting.

I should note that I am in no way any type of photography expert. I'm not even close. I'm simply sharing what's working for me!


Here's a shot of my photography setup. It's nothing fancy or expensive and it doesn't take up too much space. I also love that it's right next to my polish desk, so it's very convenient when I'm swatching and taking lots of photos.


The major difference in my photos comes from the combination of my DIY lightbox and the special type of bulb I'm using in the lamp.

I made the lightbox using an online tutorial (it might have been this one from Chalkboard Nails, but it might have been another one that I googled). It was super easy and quick to make and you can make it look a lot prettier than I did if you want, haha.

The cardboard box I used was a recycled one from when I was moving, so that was free. I already had the tape, scissors and exacto knife, so those supplies didn't cost anything either. The only thing I didn't have on hand was white tissue paper, and that only cost me $1 at the dollar store.


The lamp I bought was the cheapest desk lamp with an adjustable arm (you definitely want the adjustable arm) that Wal-Mart sold. It was about $7.

Finally, the bulb. When you're buying a lightbulb, often they'll say things like "soft white" or "warm white". Instead of going with one of those, choose a "full spectrum" bulb for your lamp. They're a little more expensive, but they're meant to emulate natural light, so they help to produce a more natural photograph. I got my bulb from Wal-Mart as well and it was about $7.

And since the lamp isn't tall enough, I stand it on the box that my Hunger Games Trilogy came in. I'm sure you can come up with something more aesthetically pleasing than that, but this works just fine.


So all in all, this setup cost me about $15. I'd say that's pretty well worth it for the high quality, colour accurate photos!

To really understand the difference in my photos, let's take a look at an older photo of mine (which used to be taken in my bathroom with a black sheet tacked to the wall) versus a more recent photo:



VS.


As you can see, the first photo is much more yellow-toned and my skin looks more tan and shiny than it really is. Now, look at my more recent photo and you can see the true colour of my skin. Obviously, when my skin is showing up colour accurate, the polishes I'm showing you are also showing up more accurate than they were with my older photos.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still proud to display these older photos, I'm just more proud to display the most colour accurate photos possible, which is what I feel I'm producing now!

So I hope that answers some of your questions. And I hope that my journey to better photos can make yours a little easier!

29 comments:

  1. this is almost identical to my new setup!! I haven't tried a black backdrop, though, but I may now!

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  2. Thank you so much for posting this!! I have been trying to get good colour accurate photos for so long and I think this is just what I need to do. Thank you, Thank you!!! <3

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  3. Wow, that is awesome! I was looking into buying a lightbox the other day but didn't want to spend the money... I'll try this!

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  4. Great post!!Thanks!!

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  5. Really good explanation - I wouldn't have known to get a full spectrum bulb, though it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. I'm still in love with your Helmers and their decoration!

    I recently built my own lightbox but have yet to find a way to make it work, so it's gathering dust for now. I also mistakenly bought a beige tissue paper instead of pure white and my pictures are coming out yellow so I have to change that and get the lamp.

    Thanks for the post!

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  7. Fantastic post! I always wonder how bloggers get such color accurate photos! I'm going to have to build my own set up soon :)

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  8. Thanks so much for the pictures of your lightbox. The tutorial I watched used black cardboard to cover the top and white cardboard inside the box and lamp on the side, but this didn't work for me...this makes much more sense. Plus, I was using a different bulb. I can't wait to revamp mine and try this! Also, what settings do you use on your camera? That can make all the difference in the world when I'm taking pictures. I have a DSLR and my pics can still suck:( Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Good luck with revamping yours!

      In regards to my camera, I mostly use the auto settings, except I always set it to "no flash". And sometimes if my camera is having trouble focusing (this sometimes happen for really shiny glitters), I'll turn the focus to manual instead of auto. But that's about it! I'm new to my DSLR and I haven't figured everything out yet, but it seems to be doing well!

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  9. Cool to see your setup, thanks! It's similar to mine, except that my background is white to let light in from behind as well :)

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  10. Excellent set up! I have been relying on natural light outdoors for my photos but these really come out better. I should rig something up ASAP. It's worth the effort for sure. Thanks for the help on this!

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  11. Great post! I really need to get a good lamp for taking photos. The one I have really sucks and always there just isn´t enough natural light either to take good photos.

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  12. I just made a light box too and I am loving the results :) I used to have to photoshop for color accuracy but I just purchased a bulb from Walmart also and it is perfect!

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  13. Nice to see. Glad to know that no one really need spend a ton of $ to make one. Also good to hear what type of light bulb. I know ott lights cost a lot and really not needed. I keep hearing that old type light bulbs are not going to be sold in days to come - that it will all be the low watt ones that are swirled. I hope this is not the case. I live in an old house that has some built in fixtures none of those lights fit into. Also non fit into my bed side lamp.

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  14. I notice you have a black infinity background. Do you think it helps with your color accuracy over a white one?

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    1. Hmm, I'm not sure. I chose the black for myself because it contrasts much better against my super pale skin. But I would imagine that white would work just as well. In fact, many lightbox tutorials use a while background as opposed to a black one.

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  15. Thanks a lot for sharing! I made my light box but yours it´s way better so I will try to emulate it

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  16. Great post! I just changed the background for my DIY lightbox from white to black as well and it does look better! I'll be searching for a Full spectum bulb and lamp too now!

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  18. Wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing this! xoxo

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  19. This is a wonderful setup. I bet professional looking photos add sparks to a blog. I have been away since last 2 months so missed this amazing post of yours.
    LoVE! ♥

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  20. Can u please tell me what type of lightbulb u used?? Thanks

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  21. Great setup! Thanks for the tips.

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  22. This is awesome, Kayla. The only things I need to build a set-up similar to this would be the tissue paper and the light bulb. It certainly would make a big difference in my photo's, I think since they appear kind of on the yellowish side now. Thank you for sharing your awesome tips with us!

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  23. It's a great idea! :) I'll make this!

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  24. I am so making one now! Thanks for an awesome posts :) My new friend, Claw of Cthulhu (Melissa) directed me to this post. I'm so excited now, YAY! I may be able to publish my swatch posts quicker than I thought :)

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  25. Thank you for sharing excellent information. Your web-site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this website. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more blogs.
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