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Taking photos of letters

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by rocketliv, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. rocketliv

    rocketliv Guest

    I have started a website for a young woman who paints gorgeous letters for nursery decor. The problem is that her photos are dark and are horrible representations of her work! She needs better photos. I would be happy to take the photos for her but I tried a few and mine weren't so great either!

    Any suggestions on set up, flash and such?

    you can see her site at laughytaffydesigns.com but there isn't much up yet.

    This was my attempt- http://www.laughytaffydesigns.com/abby_letters.html I used my SB600.
  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Picking a background that contrast and complements the letters would certainly help. Also, a simple Levels adjustment in PS or other editor would give the letters significantly more 'pop'.

  3. I'm due to become a granddaddy next month, so this kind of stuff appeals to me, and I love Leigh Anne's baby-art! Your attempt is pretty darned good, but I'll offer a couple of suggestions that might improve the result. Paste is the operative word :biggrin:.

    I don't believe those letters aren't designed to be free standing. Setting them on the floor and leaning them against a wall makes the flash produce strong shadows around the edges of the leters. Pasting them to a background will reduce, but not eliminate, the shadows. But if you paste the letters to a background and then fire your flash through a white umbrella, or even just bounce it off the junction of the ceiling and wall behind the camera, you'd probably get no noticeable shadowing at all.

    But that brings up the question as to why you're using flash for such a portable product. Just paste the letters to a piece of foam core board, and then move the board so that it's illuminated by soft, early morning or late evening light coming in through a picture window. If you put your camera on a tripod, a slow shutter speed wouldn't be a problem.

    If you paste the letters to the background, you won't need to introduce the element of shag carpet, which detracts from the product. Also note that the carpet isn't level in your current shot. But whether you paste of lean, you might also take a hard look at the background. Most baby rooms are painted in light, airy colors, so presenting the samples against what appears to be dark, simulated wood, paneling doesn't show how they'll look in their intended environment, nor is it very flattering. You can buy foam core board in light colors, or Leigh Anne can simply apply a colored wash to a piece of white foam core board, or you could use photoshop to make it any color you'd like in post processing. My wife suggests a pale shade of blue, green, yellow, or pink.

    Hope that helps.
  4. I was just about to write what Uncle Frank wrote. I do a lot of photos of genealogical material--old censuses, old deeds and so on. I agree with him 110%. Don't even think about doing it without a tripod.

  5. rocketliv

    rocketliv Guest

    oh my gosh you are brillant Uncle Frank. Thank you so much. The unfortunate thing is that most of the photos I have are of letters she has already delivered but at least we can begin to take better photos from this point on. I appreciate your post and will work with her to get the results!! THANK YOU!
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