I'm playing around here today at making a new photo station in my studio. I decided I would like to have one to photo jewelry that I have made, one that is permanently set up down there in the workshop. At the same time it has to be something that's not in my way, taking my creative space.
I have a nice mannequin, just a half body to the waist, that I picked up when a store went out of business. Fits on my counter just right, and it's fun to dress up. And it swivels, too!
Right down on that far end of my big central worktable....on the left, just out of the photo. She fits just fine. And she stays there.
Not in the way of our video set up, or my work stations!
I got the mannequin a pretty top that fits just right but won't compete with the jewelry. You can see it in the first photo. The white folding screen is just inexpensive foam board, a tri-fold I picked up at Walmart for maybe 5.00 or so.
When I am not doing a photo shoot, I can just take that down , fold it up and slide it into a clean, safe place under my big worktable. Out of the way and takes just a second!
I have these funky 'balloon' lights that can be twisted and positioned, and they are on a pole. Easily moved around, and they provide far more light than my photos here show:
They cost 19.99 at Home Depot . I can put them on a stool or a box to direct light down or up, and I can position them at will. When I am not using them, they go back against the wall out of my way. I have continuous electric strip around my L shaped workspace just behind me, so I can plug it in anywhere. Easy access to a plug with that strip!
Above, I have stepped the folding foam board screen down to a narrow table I recently purchased. It is narrow, and sits right in front of the table. It takes up very little room and doesn't interfere with anything.
So the photo gets made....
A little crop, a little adjusting in Photoshop....
Here, on the mannequin:
Certainly there are any number of tricks I will learn as I play around with it.
One thing I already know is when I use the wooden table, I will be using white paper backgrounds or muted scrapbook sheets that enhance the jewelry and won't compete with it. I have a great start here, but the white paper will provide light and make the details of the piece much sharper and stand-out.
Photography buffs will be far fussier with their set up than I and will have a lot of advanced tricks to avoid shadows, etc. There are some amazing cameras and all sorts of equipment you can buy to make your photos band-box perfect. I envy those who know how to work that sort of equipment!
My problem is I don't have the money to buy that gear....and what's worse, I'm not tech-y. Having to sit and read and watch videos and work out all the bugs with new equipment saps my time and strength. I usually get pretty fussed up with those things. I want to make jewelry and be productive in my workshop, and spend minimal needed time on cameras and computers.
I'm more of a you-figure-it-out and then, you-show-me person!
In the long run, what a gal like me needs! is a photo that will work sufficiently to sell a product. Good, clear, all the details in view. Get the picture, load it to the computer, do a little adjusting with my simple Photoshop skills and voila!
Ready to go! This whole set up cost me:
1. 20.00 for the mannequin at the going out of biz sale at Fashion Bug
2. two of the balloon lights, about 40.00 total, and enough lightbulbs to fill them, about 10.00 from the Dollar Store
3. foam board at Walmart 5.00
4. top for the mannequin at Marshall's, 10.00
Then my little Nikon camera, and good to go!
The version of Photoshop that I have is rudimentary, but has all the tools I really need. And it was FREE! My tech team loaded it to my office computer when they set it up. Thank goodness, I didn't have to. They set it up for me, and Javi tweaked it.
If I want to do more photo editing, I will go to http://www.picmonkey.com and use the tools in my pnline account. That's fast and easy, too!
This will work out just fine, and I will find new tricks as I go along.