Getting the Shot

I take many photos every day for the goods I sell in my shop.  I rarely take the photos indoors, because I don’t have a good space that receives natural light…and stays clean.
I nearly always take my photos outdoors, by the wall behind my workshop.  Pretty fancy set-up, huh?  It works well though, because I get indirect natural light and the old wooden table and metal “brick” siding make simple backdrops.
I used it as a backdrop for this photo, and I created another Edison Style Bulb Book Lamp last week, and really wanted to use a different backdrop – one that would make the light bulb stand out more than it does against the white wall.  I decided a chalkboard backdrop would be perfect, but none of my chalkboards are large enough.
The more I thought about it, the more I *had* to have a chalkboard backdrop, so what should have been a 2 minute photo shoot, turned into a 20 minute one.  I remembered I do have a movie screen that I had painted with chalkboard paint, so I set it up in a shaded area, with a cinder block weighing it down to keep it from blowing over.  Then I needed something to use as a table.  An old ironing board did the trick, but it wasn’t tall enough that the blue bottom of the screen wouldn’t show.  My husband grabbed a box spring destined for our burn pile and used it to add some height to the ironing board.  Viola!  My fancy photography studio!
Obviously, this couldn’t be a permanent solution, and I kept thinking that I really wanted something permanent, so I have some different options for backgrounds.  But, I put everything away, thinking someday I would love to come up with with a blackboard backdrop.
Would you believe, the very next day I was in a thrift store, where I found this BIG pull down projector screen for $15!   Here’s the funny/dumb part.  The front side of it that you’d normally project the images on is white, so I got out my black chalkboard paint and started painting it.  In the process, I lifted up the edge and realized that the back side was already completely black!  Thankfully, I didn’t get too far painting the front before I discovered it and it saved me some time and a lot of paint.  It’s perfect!
Those of you who blog or have a shop – do you take your photos inside your house, or have you put together a special “studio” for your photos?  I’d love to hear how you get your shots.


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  1. Such a cute lamp. Love the old time bulb.

  2. I live in a condo and do NOT have a good natural light spot inside. In good weather I set something up outside but in bad weather and during the winter I have a hard time getting good photos!

  3. I prefer to take my pictures outside, but I do have a makeshift light box thingy that I use when I need to take photographs inside. And you sure did luck out with that screen. Can I rub your head and get some of that luck for myself? hahaha

  4. For the Sunday Posts on my blog for the soaps I make I often use my garden outside which gets great afternoon sun and has many props like rocks and wood fences, plus flowers of course. I’ve tried a photo box but find it rather dull. LOVE your outdoor studio!

  5. You would not believe what I go through for photos. Indoor light is limited, but most of my photos are indoor shots for my shop anyway. Your photos always look nice.
    Farmhouse hugs,

  6. I have the same problem with light in my house too. I love your solution! And yes, good thing you didn’t have to paint the whole thing!


  7. Looks like the light bulb also goes on in your head!

  8. Great idea for the photo and I like this one too.


  9. I do the same thing over here! No good light inside, so always rigging up something out on the back porch (I’ll be doing that today, in fact) I sure do love your final photo!

  10. My photos are usually terrible. I do most of them inside so I know that’s the problem. I think I need to stop being lazy and do what you’re doing — taking them outside and thinking through the set up. Great find on that screen!

  11. Oh I love this post! FUN STUFF! 🙂 and a handy helpful husband !! 🙂

  12. Well, Angie … your backdrops and lighting always look so good. Now, I love the ironing board elevated with a box spring … really “red-neck”. That screen will serve you well. Smart move with getting that screen.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  13. I have a ridiculously hard time photographing indoors and don’t want to drag big pieces of furniture outdoors. I guess I should come up with a better solution. I saw one of those big screens at a recent estate sale…wish I would have thought of photography at the time. Darn!

  14. Such a creative solution…good for you! I started photographing my hand-painted furniture outside because on the grass I too didn’t have a blank wall in my home.

    Finally after a year of talking about doing it, I created a permanent wall in my panting studio (former art gallery with rails for hanging pictures) as a photography “corner.” I wanted to have the look of an actual room, with windows and curtains. What I ended up doing was using the old rail, wooden dowels, brass curtain hardware and cotton batique bedspreads as curtains. Its not perfect but I have natural light from the window and can put the curtains up or down depending on my needs. Its a makeshift space but most of the time it works. (This is outlined on my blog / address below.)

    BTW: A couple of yards of black velvet was always our standby for a back drop while photographing close ups.

    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: (for portfolio of chalk painted work)

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