Monday, March 19, 2012

Simple Background Box for Card Photographs

We had a glorious day on Sunday - the temperature was in the 70s as predicted and I even got a chance to sit on the deck and get a bit of sun (well...about ten minutes worth!).  My very handy husband has started another home improvement project - this one is in the lower level just steps away from my craft area.  One thing leads to another and I ended up doing a lot of sorting in the storage room - it will be great when it is all done.

I didn't forget that I promised to post some directions for making the photo backdrop I use for my cards and other small projects.  I'll give the basic directions to make the box today and share some more pointers in another post. This is not my original idea - I saw a similar box online a few years ago but I don't seem to have the site bookmarked.

To make the photo backdrop you need:

four sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 white cardstock (the kind from the office supply store is fine)
a scoring tool
a scoring board if you have one
and some clear tape.

That's it!

Here is the layout for the pieces.  The two sheets of cardstock in the center do not need to be folded at all.  The two sheets on the sides are turned vertically and scored at 8 1/2 inches so the fold will be even with the bottom of the top center piece.

It is a bit difficult to see in this photo but you just tape one side together - first the long side of the two center pieces and then the short sides of the top piece are taped to the side pieces, up to the fold line.  Be sure to tape only on one side (the side that won't be facing the camera so it can be a bit messy).

Here is how it looks when it is all taped together.  I took these photos last summer when I was at my sister's B & B before I went to CHA.  This "box" is very portable - you can just fold it up and pack it flat - or, if you forget to bring it, you can easily make another one!

The side flaps tuck under the center section.  You may have to fold the seams a few times to make them bend easily.

When the side are folded in, it will look like this.  You can put the box in a room with good natural daylight (try to avoid direct sun which will give too many shadows) or you can use some lamps to provide light in the dark hours.

If the day is a bit cloudy or you have a nice spot with open shade, you can take the whole thing outside - just be careful if the breeze is strong!  This card is one of a series I did with Cosmo Cricket papers and Creative Charms.  I was visiting my Dad and needed to take photos of the finished cards.  I put the box on a tray table on his balcony to shoot my photos.

If you want to see the rest of the cards from this series, you can find them close ups on my blog HERE and the full post on the Creative Charms blog HERE.

If you have a large sheet of white paper, you can tape it to the wall or window and take daylight photos in a bright room.  I did this to take photos of the chick egg cozies and egg cups that I posted last week.

If you hold your camera even with the table (get on the same level as the items you are photographing) you can get a nice clean background for your image.

I used to do something similar in my craft room by clipping a piece of paper to a box and setting up cards with the lights shining from either side.

This works pretty well but when you make the little box there is a lot more reflected light to brighten your photos.  (In case you are wondering, these cards were made with the Lyrical Letters Cricut cartridge).

I use a couple of "Sunlight" lamps that I bought years ago at Costco to get a bright light on the cards if I can't take a daylight photo.  There are many types of lamps available with daylight bulbs.  You do have to be careful about the angles to avoid getting too bright "hot spots" on your white background if the lamps are shining too closely.  I keep meaning to try putting some tissue paper or fabric across the top to diffuse the light more evenly.

Please let me know if you have any more questions about this little box.  It is quick and easy to make and provides a nice consistent background to show off your projects.

Have a great Monday!

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  1. Thanks for the great tips!

  2. I love your cards! Thanks for posting how to make the photo box -didn't know it was that easy and portable!

  3. I love your cards! Thanks for posting how to make the photo box -didn't know it was that easy and portable!

  4. Beautiful and colorful card Diane. Thank you for the practical and affordable take on the light box idea. Last week I was considering the idea of the PVC Pipe frame and the white Bed sheet, but I think this will be faster to put together. Thank you very much!
    Have a great day!

  5. I'm glad to see I've been on the right track. I saved all the back cardboards from the stacks I bought when I first got started scrapbooking and making cards. I did the same thing you did and taped them together. I love the portablility of my little photo box. Now if only I could get motivated to post the photos in my blog!

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this. I can't believe it's that easy!

  7. One of the simplest ways I have found to get a great photograph of something small (I make jewelry) is one of the plastic notebooks with a translucent (white) front. I set my piece on top and angle a light towards it, and USUALLY get a great photo. I think I will try adding your paper sides idea to see if that will add some light/more detail visible! Thanks!

  8. Thanks for the photo box info. This has been on my to do list way too long. You made it look easy AND portable. Love your site.

  9. I had pinned this post a long time ago and I finally had a chance to make this portable photo box! Thanks for the fantastic idea. I used it tonight for the first time and love it!


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