There is one thing that can instantly elevate your photography or kill all of the work you spent tirelessly staging a shot and negate all the money you’ve spent on equipment- lighting. For a lot of craft bloggers, lighting is our number one nemesis. I was lucky enough to receive a brand new photography light studio set for Christmas, and I love it so much, I couldn’t keep this tip to myself!
While I prefer natural lighting for photoshoots, it isn’t always possible. I have a small photography business, Courtney O’Dell Photography, focused on children, families, maternity and newborn photographs. I am really lucky that Colorado has no shortage of beautiful, sunshine-filled days, so I don’t normally have to rely on artificial lighting when out with clients. Sometimes though the cold Colorado days are a bit too much for little ones- and most of my blog/Etsy shop product photography do NOT happen during prime light hours (playing with little man tends to win out over getting that perfect craft shot during the day, and night shots seldom look pin worthy).
I got this Kaezi Continuous Lighting Kit for Christmas from my dad. If you’ve ever considered spending a little to improve your photos, and can’t decide between different lenses or a fancier flash, I’d suggest considering one of these relatively inexpensive kits. There are many of options you can find through Kaezi’s site and on Amazon- but I would suggest continuous lighting unless you are a more experienced photographer (configuring flash is a whole different story).
So how big of a difference does it make? Here are two quick shots I took, one with the lighting in my house (all the lights in my dining room on and shining towards my craft), and one with the studio lights on.
Dining Room Lights (which are pretty bright compared to other rooms in my house):
Sure, with a LOT of editing, I could have made the top photo decent. But in this age of Pinterest driving a lot of blog traffic, and Etsy shop buyers browsing TONS of listings that are similar, top-notch photography can be the difference between making or losing money. If your shop or your blog is your business, under $200 is a fair price to help you stand out!
So what did I do to get this shot? Well, absolutely nothing technical. I set up the studio kit (without hubby’s help- click a few rods in place, screw in lights, open umbrellas, and move where you’d like them), and shot away!
Instead of using the white backdrop that was included in my kit (it also includes black and green), I used some fadeless classroom roll paper I ordered online (the $20 roll includes enough for SEVERAL backdrops, there is a less expensive roll for smaller studio setups). This is one thing you really should look into- roll paper is really inexpensive, and even if you just use a simple lightbox or table setup for your craft photos, a backdrop is a wonderful way to make your photos stand out. White, peach, and soft yellows/blues are perfect for food/craft photography.
I simply hung the paper up over the backdrop stand in my studio kit, but if you don’t have one, you could tape it to the wall. I simply draped another piece of the paper over my dining room table for the floor drop, like so:
There you go- a super simple way to improve your photo quality, day or night! If an entire studio isn’t in your budget, you can find numerous single light stands online, including the Kaezi site I linked above as well as on Amazon.
I am going to try out this setup with my point and shoot camera this week (this post used my canon t2i DSLR with a 50mm lens) to see if a light set like this might be a less expensive option for craft bloggers who use P&S for their shots.
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I am always looking for new tips/tricks to feature. If you have a specific photography question, please let me know!
Disclosure: I am NOT in any way affiliated with the companies listed in this post, and I did not receive any compensation for this post. The products reviewed were purchased by me directly, (and by my father- thanks!!!), and none of the products reviewed were provided for me free of cost.