Hi there! I’ve received so many requests to share the equipment that I use to photograph cards and today I finally pulled everything together. I think I procrastinated on this because I was a little bit embarrassed but hey, the equipment I’m going to show you served me well for over a year and a half and just this past year I purchased new. I’ll show you both and let you judge for yourself.
This is the first light tent I used to photograph cards. I didn’t want to make an investment in expensive equipment until I learned how to photograph cards and I wanted to make sure I would stay at it for a while. (By clicking on any of the pictures below a larger picture will pop up).
Initial materials were less than $30.00 at the time I constructed this.
|This light tent was very easy to build. I was lucky enough to have the hardware store cut the pieces for me. The instructions and supplies list can be found HERE.|
|Here’s what the tent looks like once assembled. There are three screws across the back horizontal beam. The poster board has three holes punched at the top so that it can hang there. The end result is that you have a backdrop with no creases, seams or folds.|
|Here is the tent at work. I have a spare bedroom and this is always up and ready to go. Just for a level surface I have corrugated cardboard laying on the mattress of the bed. Needless to say, the lights are on only long enough to snap a picture and are never unattended.|
|I snapped the picture as it was set up above and this is the result that I achieved with the PVC Tent after editing. As I mentioned, I used this for a good year and a half of my blog. This past year I moved to the system below.|
|My dear friend Debbie Olson published a post with a fabulous lighting solution that she was very pleased with – you can see that post HERE. I purchased the exact same thing however I added two additional lights because I’m working in a dark blue room and I photograph a lot at night. I seated poster board inside the tent to camoflage the seam. Also, I always use a tripod.|
|I snapped the picture as it was set up above and this is the result that I achieved with the “real” light tent after editing. Both pictures were taken with the same camera.|
Not much mystery to it is there? I hope this is helpful to all those who have asked. I do have to say that one piece missing from the equation here is editing software. I use Photoshop however many I know use Photoshop Elements. On the first light tent above, the lights give off a slightly red cast – since I knew this, I was able to compensate in my editing software by balancing the colors. I’m not an expert on this but setting white balance on my camera took a lot of the work out of editing and color balance as well. The second set of lights give off a blue cast and was easily corrected by resetting the white balance on my camera.
All was done with an Olympus SP-310 Point and Shoot Camera, although any small simple point and shoot should give you the same results. (The only reason I’ve listed the name here is because many of you have asked specifically for the camera name and brand). The key is in the lighting and knowing how to expose to get your best shot before you sit down to edit with your editing software. I have another camera that I have not used yet because this camera is so easy and gets a great shot when I need it.
So what made me want to move from one solution to the other? Well the first tent was truly a “budget solution” and I found I had to be so careful around the lights. Which leads me to share this disclaimer — use work lights at your own risk. They are extremely hot and are not intended to be turned on for an extended amount of time and should not be used around small children due to burn risk. Because of the heat of the lights, they cannot be left unattended ever.
If you are interested in further seeing the difference between the two solutions I used – you can go back through my posts and tell the difference. I used the first light tent from the beginning of my blog until January 2009 – from January 2009 forward I used the newer lights and tent. I hope this is helpful!