Yesterday on Twitter I let slip that I had just turned in the manuscript for my new book! I’m so excited – I’ve been wanting to write this book for a long time and I’ve finally had the chance. I’ll share details of the book itself closer to publication – there’s still a long process of editing and printing to go through before it’ll hit the shelves.
This is the big secret project I’ve been alluding to for months, and the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like to for a long time – so now I have some catching up to do! I’ve been making lists of things I’d like to do ‘when I finish the book’ – new patterns, new products for the shop, and a lot of improvements I’d like to make to the website. And my craft room/office is in serious need of organisation…
As I’m the photographer as well as the author of my book, I had to develop some novel methods for taking print-quality photos with only two hands at my disposal! I thought I’d share the method I came up with for taking step-by-step photos that include my hands – you’ll see the benefit of this when I next make a tutorial, as the pictures should be much improved with this new setup.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering how I took this shot of myself at work, I used a 2nd camera on a 2nd tripod with a 10-second self-timer!)
A: White bristol board used as a seamless backdrop
B: 2 very bright lamps aimed at the backdrop to make it as white as possible in the photos
C: 2 less bright lamps aimed at my hands (one on each side of the camera) to light them without shadows
D: This is where the camera is pointing – at my hands
E: My DSLR camera on a tripod, angled so that I can comfortably look through the viewfinder as I sit
F: (Out of shot) Remote
detonator control for my camera so that I can operate it with my toe when I have the perfect shot set up
I bought the remote control on eBay and it’s literally changed my photo-taking life. I’ve always had to take my tutorial photos by setting up the shot, moving my right hand to press the shutter release while keeping my left hand hand still, then scrambling to get my right hand back into position before the 10-second timer ran down and the picture was taken… Now I can just press the remote button with my toe (minimal dexterity required) at the appropriate time and I don’t need to use the camera’s timer at all. Huge, huge improvement.
Of course, this isn’t the only way, or even the best way, to light for this kind of photography, but it works for me and only cost me 2 cheap IKEA work lamps, 2 clip-on spotlights, and a sheet of bristol board, all of which I already had from my light box (shown below, click through if you’d like details of that too):
So, when you see the clear and helpful pictures in my new book, you’ll know exactly how I managed to take them – I hope this hasn’t ruined the magic! But seriously, if you make tutorials, I hope this little glimpse into my lighting setup has been helpful 🙂