PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

behind the scenes: my new photo studio

Have you entered my contest to win your choice of Vanna’s Choice yarns and a PlanetJune pattern? It’s open until Thursday – don’t forget to get your entry in!

I thought you might like to see my new photo studio and a glimpse behind the magic (ha!) that goes into my crochet pattern photos. Things have changed for the better since I last showed you my light tent setup and tutorial photography setup. My photo setup in Canada included 2 swing lamps and 2 goose-neck lamps (all with daylight bulbs) and my light tent:

craft room
Light tent in the good old days

It worked well, and I was happy with it. The only problem was when I made something too large to photograph in the light tent (e.g. Reepicheep, dinosaur group shots): then I had to fall back on the (thankfully) good natural light in my craft room and wait for a bright, overcast afternoon to give me the right conditions to shoot in daylight.

My new craft room has no natural light to speak of – our house is on one level, the windows are small, and there are trees right outside my window, so it’s dim inside on even the sunniest day. (I’m sure this will be a blessing in the heat of the South African summer!)

craft room window
Pretty view, but dark interior

As I couldn’t bring my old lamps with me (wrong voltage), I had to sell them all before I left and buy everything again at this end. There’s no IKEA or equivalent here, and 4 lamps and 4 bulbs at South African prices was not an appealing prospect. I also couldn’t find those daylight-coloured bulbs anywhere…

All these factors made a perfect excuse to upgrade my setup and invest in some professional lighting. I found an excellent local photographic shop, Studio22, who helped me to find a pro lighting solution that was within my budget. I bought 2 light stands, 2 fluorescent lamp heads (each with 2 sockets), 4x38W daylight bulbs (expensive, but they should last for years), and 2 translucent white umbrellas.

planetjune photo studio for product photography
The new setup

And oh, what a difference!

  • I can light my static scenes with an even light without having to fiddle with 4 lamps to get them all into position.
  • The bulbs are cool, so I can shoot for hours without raising the temperature in my room.
  • Without the confines of my light tent, I can light anything that fits on my desk, at any time of day or night.
  • I can set up to shoot a tutorial or video and light the scene much more easily and evenly (and without roasting under the hot lights!)

Of course, nothing is perfect: my craft room isn’t huge, and those umbrellas take up a lot of room! When I have it all assembled, I have to pick my way around them to reach the computer. And this desk is also my sewing table, so I have to get everything out of the way if I want to set up my sewing machine. It’s really not a big deal, though: to dismantle, I just furl the umbrellas and move the light stands (still set up and plugged in) and camera tripod to the corner of the room. When I next need a photo, it only takes a minute to set it all up again.

planetjune photo studio for product photography
Setting the scene (that’s my camera in the foreground)

On the desk, I create my scene. In this case, I have:

  • My handpainted ‘dappled forest’ backdrop, stuck to the wall with sticky tack. (I painted this backdrop for my AfricAmi set in 2008, and I’m so relieved it survived the move without the paint cracking.)
  • A fabric ‘ground’
  • Fake foliage courtesy of the dollar store (I really miss dollar stores for buying props!)
  • And, of course, the star of the show – my Aardvark in this case πŸ™‚

I complete the setup with my camera on a tripod in front of the desk. I use the remote control (toe-operated!) when I’m making tutorials or videos, sat behind the camera with my hands in view, and otherwise take photos the regular way.

Hopefully my pattern photos will now be so irresistible that the business will repay my equipment investment in no time!

12 Comments »

  1. Lindy said

    Your new photo studio sounds brilliant! Love the ‘dappled forest’ backdrop too.
    Love,
    Lindy xx

  2. Jesse said

    Great info – thank you! I must investigate those lights; I’m still dependent on natural light, which isn’t great in winter. (We do have dollar stores here. They used to be called R5 shops, then R10 shops!)

    • June said

      Aha, I’ll be looking out for an R10 shop then – thanks!

  3. Lee Ann said

    Hi June,

    I love your “behind the scenes” idea! πŸ™‚

  4. George said

    You have an excellent photo studio. I wish I have one too. Oh! By the way, that was lemmings right? I love them and I used to play their game.

  5. Sonja said

    Nice to see this. I like to work with natural light. A small window gives good light to one side of the crochet project, to get nice and dramatic shadows. I use a tripod, so I can work with very less light. But, the thing is, those pictures become more artistic pictures then good representative images of how the crochet project looks. Your pictures always are very clear, representative and good to use when making one of your patterns. I doubt mine are that handy….you can see some at my new blog if you like.

    Thanks for this good info!

    • June said

      Congratulations on your new blog, Sonja! I like your Bomberman design; it brought back memories – I used to play Dynablaster all the time on my GameBoy πŸ™‚

      And yes, the purpose of my photos is to show my work clearly, so that’s why uniform, ‘boring’ lighting works best for me (plus I don’t think I’d be any good at taking artistic photos even if I tried!)

  6. SueBE said

    Thank you for sharing the details about your photography set up. When I submit craft write-ups to various markets, I often have to include photos. Trying to take them around cloudy days at certain times of the year is tough. This will be a huge help in working through that problem.

    I’ve just listed you as a recipient of the Versatile Blogger Award. You can find the details about this award on this post on my blog: http://suebe.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/im-a-versatile-blogger/

    • June said

      Thank you for the award, Sue! I definitely recommend you put together some kind of system to be able to take photos on days when the weather won’t cooperate – even if it’s just a basic light box made from a cardboard box and fabric (or tissue paper), it makes a huge difference.

  7. Onin said

    Thanks for this post! Sometimes you see a photograph and you don’t really know how much time and work is behind it.

    I love your lemmings too. You are an ARTIST!!

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment here! I read and appreciate every comment. I only respond to questions here on the blog, so please return to this page to see my reply, or check the box below to subscribe to new comments by email.

Please note that I can only answer questions related to PlanetJune patterns and tutorials (see details), and I can only respond to questions or comments written in English. Thank you :) - June

  • Welcome to PlanetJune!

    June Gilbank

    Hi, I'm June. Welcome to my world of nature-inspired crochet and crafting. I hope you enjoy your visit!

    If you'd like to get in touch, you can contact me here.
    crocheted Canadian flag by PlanetJune
  • Follow me

    RSS FeedSubscribe to my blog by EmailFollow me on TwitterFollow me on Facebook
    Friend me on RavelryWatch me on YouTubeFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Instagram
  • Life Behind the Scenes

  • Browse Blog Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Support PlanetJune!

    Want to say thanks? You can send me money in seconds at paypal.me/planetjune.

    Or simply click one of these links before you shop at Amazon:
    Thank you for your support!
Back to top