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Crafty Cupcake: A lightbox.

March 13, 2010

As you may have noticed, I like taking pictures. I find the old adage to be so true – a picture’s worth a thousand words (Note: this does not apply to my blog, of course –  here you should read every word I take the time to write…), and most of my blog posts are inspired by a photo I’ve taken that I’m particularly fond of.

This ring is just barely older than my camera...

To this end, I have been gradually trying to improve my photography skills. I’ve read several websites, tutorials, and heard advice from many friends on the subject, and have decided that while I desperately want a digital SLR camera, I must make do with what I’ve got. And what I’ve got is a Canon PowerShot SD630 circa 2006.

I love my little point and shoot – it’s been with me through four continents, eight countries, four new babies (not my own), two boyfriends (those were mine), two graduations, one cross-country move and innumerable kitchen adventures. So the ol’ girl’s got some miles on her – should I trade her in for a new model just because of that? It would be so agist! (Not to mention costly…)

So instead of trading up, on a tip from my friend Tripp, last weekend I decided to build a lightbox, using this nifty explanation from Strobist.

Why a lightbox, you ask? Well, the majority of my cooking occurs after work, or during storms – times when the sun’s beautifying rays are well-hidden from my camera lens. This presents a problem in getting really good, detailed photos of what I prepare. A lightbox basically makes artificial lighting less harsh – enabling you to enrobe your subject in light (doesn’t that sound sumptuous?) among a bunch of other fancy things. Once you’ve got plenty of light, you just adjust the white balance on the camera and voilà! Instant fancyness.

On to the pictures:

The supplies.

The concept here is basically to take a big moving box of some size, tape the bottom shut, cut out 3 of the sides, and tape tissue paper over the holes. You can leave 2 of the flaps from the top on for directing light (though I don’t really know how to do that yet).

Tortellini is so helpful.

The good news is: I only cut myself twice. And they’ve mostly healed up.

Once you’ve got the box covered in tissue paper, you’re ready to put in your backdrop. For my pictures today, I have a piece of white posterboard and a piece of brown textured posterboard.

White

And then…

Brown texture

I like them both for different reasons, and will use them accordingly.

But Lisa…I thought you did this to take pictures of FOOD? Oh right. Sorry.

For comparison’s sake, I did a shoot with the cinnamon sugar muffins from this day. (Not the same physical muffins – just the same recipe).

The original picture.

Second attempt.

What I like about the control I have over the lighting and background is that your focus is completely on the object. And the colors are better.

I like the shadows.

Instead of trying to figure out what on earth is going on behind the muffin in the first shot, you can focus on the way the muffin looks. (That was kindof a weird sentence to type).

And with a brown background...

I dunno…my technique isn’t all that much different, it’s just there’s less to distract you from the focus. What do you think?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2010 4:32 pm

    I love it. I’m gonna make one now.

  2. Rob permalink
    March 13, 2010 7:57 pm

    Superb. And creative. It sure beats the countertop and living room background evident in all my food shots. And now you’ll have extra reason to remember to take pictures of the finished product!

  3. March 14, 2010 8:44 am

    Ooooohhh, I have all the supplies! I think I’m going to make one too!

    LJ

  4. Victoria permalink
    March 14, 2010 4:09 pm

    Love the warm brown backdrop!

  5. Cupcake permalink
    March 15, 2010 4:28 pm

    Thanks, guys! And thanks for the feedback, Victoria.

    I’m so excited to experiment – St. Paddy’s Day is up first! (!!!)

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