Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Studio Challenge

Hello! It's time for the March Taylored Expressions Baker's Dozen Studio Challenge. This is a monthly opportunity for us to share what makes our stamping studios hum. Each month we have a fun, crafty question so we can share our favorites, some tips and tricks, stamping advice and more.

The question for March is:

You oughta be in pictures!! 
We all love to share our completed projects with others on our blogs and in on-line galleries.  So, when the stamping ends, the photography begins.  This is a fun step for some and a frustrating one for others.  How is it for you?
Tell us how you get those beautiful project photos.

I'm back with more tags (which could also be used as bookmarks). These are slightly more simple than my usual tags since I mass produced these for teacher appreciation week (I made 18 in all). Teacher Appreciation Week is usually the first complete week in May; however, Sabrina's school celebrates this in March (more specifically, this week!). I used the Cuppie from A Year of Sweets 3. The entire image is of Cuppie standing in front of a school bus. I just cut Cuppie out of the rest of the scene.

The focus for this month is on our set up when we take photos of our project(s). I use a 30" light tent to photograph most of my projects (mainly cards, tags and altered items). I have it sitting out in the game/play room all the time. I first started with a tiny light tent that I bought on eBay and would fold it up and bring it out in my craft room whenever I needed it, but that became tedious. Having it out at all times works best for me. 

I photograph scrapbook pages and Project Life layouts flat, so these are photographed elsewhere. Many people use special photo lights and/or a tripod, but I just use 3 inexpensive Target desk lamps that are positioned on either side and behind the light tent. Here's what my set up looks like:

I shoot with a Canon 7D (dSLR) and use a custom white balance and manual settings to suit the lighting in the room at the time I take my photos. I try to make sure my photos are pretty good SOOC (straight out of the camera) so I don't have to do a lot of editing. That said, I edit my photos in an older version of Photoshop (CS2). The process that I typically follow is to crop, do a levels adjustment if necessary, then add definition and a curves adjustment if necessary, then a slight sharpen. My final step is to add my watermark. The process differs slightly for each photo, but not much. Ultimately, I just try to make my photo look like the real thing. :)

Here's another view one of the tags that I took so you can see the dimension (Cuppie is cut out and popped up with foam tape as is the doily and sentiment banner) and shiny apple:

Below are all 18 tags that I had layed out on my table after I added the Glossy Accents to the apples. This photo was taken with the Camera+ app on my iPhone and edited with PicTapGo and Photoshop CS2.

Finally, here is a photo of a treat bag (white chocolate snack mix) + tag that I packaged up:

Please visit the rest of the Baker's Dozen to see their take on this month's challenge:

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Supplies from the TE store:

Stamps: A Year of Sweets 3, Extra Credit (Taylored Expressions)
Paper: Basics - Cardmaking Paper Pad 2 (Pebbles), Choice Snow White (Taylored Expressions), Kraft (Bazzill), Chipboard
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black (Tsukineko), Antique Linen Distress (Ranger)
Accessories: Taylored Dies: Banner Stacklets 1, Layering Doily Die - Small, Fly Your Flag 2 (Taylored Expressions); Markers (Copic), Candy Dots (Pebbles), Brads (WRMK), Glossy Accents (Ranger), Ivory twine (May Arts), Foam tape, Thread, Sewing machine.