These days we document everything through photography. Learning how to use available light in your photos goes a long way. Here at For the Makers, we spend a good amount of time behind the lens, so we decided to share our tried and true tips and tricks of product photography. Elevate your photo feed with well lit, well curated photos that will make you look like a pro.
- - Tripod, to keep the camera angle consistent, and maximize clarity by minimizing camera shake at low ISO settings.
- - Backdrop, poster board or seamless paper.
- - Foam core / poster board, cheap and easy solution to use as a reflector to bounce light.
- - Masking tape / glue dots, for securing backgrounds and products in place.
- - Windex / paper towels, to clean reflective surfaces or anything that might show fingerprints and smudges.
- - Step stool, for overhead shots and shooting larger items.
Find a naturally well lit room to shoot in. White wall are a plus. Set up your backdrop next to a window with plenty of natural light. As with a built-in camera flash, bright sunlight will create reflections and harsh shadows, so place your product in indirect light. If indirect light isn't available, try diffusing it by covering the window with a sheet of vellum or a white piece of paper.
Place your product in the center of your background. To minimize shadow and unwanted detail of your background, make sure that the product has at least 6 inches in front of your backdrop. Create a bounce card by placing white foam core or poster board opposite of your window. This will reflect light back over your subject, and even out any shadows.
For trickier items that don't lay flat, glue dots, double-sided tape, and a piece of cardboard covered in white paper can be very useful to stand things up horizontally. This will give you more options for more angles of your subject.
You don't need a professional camera to take professional photos but the better your camera is the more control you will have.
- Camera flashes will produce lighting with harsh contrast that is not ideal for capturing detail. If your camera has the option, always turn off your camera's flash.
- The hardest part of shooting indoors is keeping your whites white. Although you can correct this in editing later, you will lose image quality, so it's always best to try and get it right in-camera first. The best way to do this is to stick strictly to natural light. Indoor lighting has a different color temperature and will often result in an all over orangish tone to your photos.
Depth Of Field
- Depth of field (DOF) is the amount of distance between the nearest and farthest objects that are in sharp focus in a photograph. You can control your DOF by adjusting the aperture of the lens, and the distance you are from your subject. The wider the aperture, and closer your subject is to the camera, the shallower your depth of field becomes and vice versa. Therefore, a small aperture combined with more distance between you and your subject deepens your depth of field. The photo below shows a very shallow DOF. This can be useful for low light situations, portraits, small items, and helping your subject stand out from the background. A deep DOF is useful for scenarios that require detail and sharp focus in the entire photo. In most situations however, (especially if you are using a camera that automatically adjusts your exposure) the closer you get to your subject the more shallow your depth of field will be.
What to RemEMBER:
Mind the details
- To minimize your post production editing, be sure to take great care in the presentation of your product. Iron or steam clothing to eliminate wrinkles and polish reflective surfaces with windex to avoid dust and finger prints.
Choosing / Varying your angle
- To make something look larger, get down low on it's level. To make something look smaller, shoot using an overhead angle. Varying angles of your subject helps to engage your audience by giving them multiple points of view that tell a story.
- Pay attention to the focal point of your photo and how your eye moves through the frame. Eliminate any distractions that might take away from the most important elements of your photo.
- The softer the light, the softer the shadows.
Below is an illustration of this basic set up using natural light. Place your subject on the X in the middle of your table or seamless paper and move your bounce card slightly to find the perfect position to light your product.
Practice makes perfect, but following these basic guidelines will help expedite your process of getting the perfect shot. Keep up with our pic of the day by following @forthemakers on instgram, and flaunt your new photography skills by tagging #makertakes and #forthemakers.
Personalize your calling and business cards to really stand out in a crowd. Use the calling cards provided in the Courtside Collection or have some simple cards printed and then DIY a colorful design to match your individual style. We came up with 3 simple techniques below that will really take those calling cards to the next level.
Simple Marbling Technique
- -calling cards
- -foaming shave cream
- -food coloring
- -glass dish
- -paper towels
- -scrap paper
HOW TO MAKE
Step 1. Spray about 1/2 cup of shave cream into the dish.
Step 2. Squeeze a couple drops of food coloring onto the cream and gently whip in creating swirls of color. Don't over mix.
Step 3. Press the face of the card onto the cream in a direct motion down, and then lift up.
Step 4. With a scrap of paper, scrape the foam off the card in a single sweep and discard the scrap.
Step 5. Set aside to dry and continue dipping cards over the swirled surface. After a few cards you might want to add more foam and stir in additional dye.
Have fun! This one gets addicting once you get the hang of it. Go the extra mile and try more than one color mixed in the foam.
Ombre and neon Edges
- - calling cards
- - 2 card sized scraps of paper
- - montana spray paint (we used Mr. Crab & Fro. Strawberry)
- - wood clamps
how to make
Step 1. Stack the cards neatly and sandwich between the two scrap cards.
Step 2. Tighten the clamps onto the stack carefully to keep the cards flush on all sides.
Step 3. In a spray booth or ventilated space (like outside) lightly dust the edges with paint*. Keep a distance of 12 or more inches from the can.
* for ombre, start with the lighter color & then layer the darker over just half of the stack.
Step 4. Allow time to dry, then remove and flip the clamps to reveal the other side of the cards and repeat spraying the other side.
Step 5. Leave in a ventilated space to dry and after 30 minutes you can remove the clamps and separate the cards.
- calling cards
- watercolor set
- paint brushes
This one is kind of a no brainer. Scout some inspiration on pinterest and go wild with paint!
No longer are the days of swishing polyester track suits. Make your jog sleek and cool with our Courtside Collection and these nine other athletic blue items.
1. Sneakers Nike 2. Bracelet Monica Vinader 3. Sunglasses Opening Ceremony 4. Water Bottle BKR 5. Skirt Alexander Wang 6. Mineral Sunscreen Coola 7. Smart Watch Nuband 8. Sports Bra Naked Sports Gear 9. Gym Bag American Apparel
Top image by Perry Curtis for Stylist UK Magazine.
The Courtside Collection includes a few ingredients commonly used in facial mists. Looking to customize yours? Look no further. While there are lots of wonderful products on the market, knowing the uses for certain ingredients allows you to develop the perfect formula for your face. Here's a run down of common ingredients and their benefits.
Aloe Vera Oil- Used to treat chapped skin, burns, scars and inflammation
Pure Rosewater- A gentle astringent used to hydrate and soothe red, dry, and sensitive skin
Calundula- A traditional antiseptic and antibacterial that is nature’s gift to soothe baby’s sensitive skin or calm sun-damaged skin
Lemongrass- Helps firm the skin
Cucumber Seed Oil- Balances moisture, removes toxic build-up & improves complexion. Helps damaged skin like acne, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, cuts and scars. It helps heal dry and cracked skin.
Tea Tree Oil- Antibacterial, which prevents breakouts.
Sea Salt- Treats blemishes and nourishes the skin.
Bergamot Oil- Helps correct oily skin and soothe inflammation.
Colloidal Silver- Antiseptic and antibacterial properties kill bacteria and helps heal skin abrasions and burns.
Eucalyptus- Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, commonly used in skin care products to treat skin conditions such as burns, wounds, ulcers, and eczema.
Jojoba Oil- Lessens irritated skin and promotes natural production of collagen
Witch Hazel- A natural astringent that can help with acne control by reducing inflammation and decreasing oil
Vitamin E- Can help fight the signs of aging, protect from sun damage, and even potentially lower skin cancer risks
Mix and match these ingredients to formulate the perfect mist for your skin. We think the perfect base to add these ingredients to is green tea. Learn how to make your own green tea facial mist with this easy tutorial.
1. Space Jam Quad City DJ's
2. Tennis Court Lorde
3. When I'm Small Phantogram
4. 23 Mike Will Made It
5. I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times) Jaime XX
6. Basketball Kurtis Blow
7. Work B**ch Britney Spears
8. Crown on the Ground Sleigh Bells
9. Embody (Kavinsky Remix) Sebastian
10. Ride Ciara
11. Bloom Odesza
12. You Can Do It Ice Cube
13. Work Mommi Work (ft. Spankrock) Rye Rye and Filthy Fidgets
14. The Motto Drake
15. Stay Fly Three 6 Mafia
We're taking advantage of the last days of summer with lots of outdoor activities, from tennis matches to concerts in the park. And after a long day in the sun what better way to cool off than with our Courtside Collection. We've designed four sleek projects inspired by the runways of Kenzo and Alexander Wang that are perfect for chilling out or getting your game on. Check it out below!
We can count on Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo for sporty chic looks every season. Their SS 2015 collection was particularly on point with vibrant blues, reminiscent of blue clay tennis courts, teamed with summer ready mesh and wrap around sunnies. We translated that urban sportif aesthetic throughout our Courtside Collection, like with the Match Point Cuff, seen here illustrated by the amazing Evie S. If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then studs are her cool older sister.
We've only got eyes for blue. More specifically this Untitled piece by Berlin based artist Claudia Wieser. We love the sharp geometric shapes and edges she employs in shiny metal.
We're suckers for paper projects, from old fashioned correspondence to these Hot Shot Calling Cards. Whether you need to exchange information for business or pleasure, these knock out cards have got you covered. We've got a whole slew of calling card #makertakes so keep an eye on The Source this month.
We lucked out this month and were able to shoot the Courtside Collection with our dear friend Trina. Can you say eyebrow envy?
The New York City Parks Department recently repaved some tennis courts right along the Hudson River in the most drool worthy cerulean blue. Needless to say we want to thank all the tennis players who let us bombard the courts right at golden hour.
Trina getting into the zone.
After a light spritz of our Green Tea Facial Mist, Trina's skin was glowing even after a long hot day of modeling.
Summer got you missing this month's collection? No worries kick up the making in September by reserving your collection now! As always we love seeing what unique spins our maker community puts on projects so keep on sharing your #makertakes with us on Instagram and Twitter.
Is anyone else still thinking about the Leif Collection? It might be one of our all time favorites and this pink plaster is still in constant use around our office. We dreamt up these gorgeous coasters while sipping iced coffee - which in this heat leaves a pretty big condensation ring on our desk. You'd never believe how fast these are to make and no one would ever guess you made them by hand! Give them away as an excellent housewarming gift or set them on your side tables for protection and a pop of happy!
- - bag of pink plaster
- - plastic cups
- - stir sticks/craft sticks
- - water
- - measuring spoons
- - square tile mold
- - washi tape
- - mod podge
- - foam paintbrush
- - (2) sheets of gold leaf
- - sand paper
- - (8) 1/4" self-adhesive clear rubber bumpers
Step 1: Each bag of plaster will make 2 coasters using the tile molds in the materials list. The tile molds also come in a two pack so you can go ahead and mix all of the plaster and water together. But, if you are working with one mold only mix half the plaster and allow the first coaster to set before mixing the remaining plaster.
To get all the details on how to mix this plaster you can march right over here. This project would also be amazing using regular concrete or white plaster. Make sure to stir well until all the powder is dissolved by the water and the consistency is that of cake batter.
Step 2: Pour the plaster into the molds and keep tapping the mold as you go to make sure you don't add too much plaster which can gather together in the center. You want the plaster level just a tiny bit from reaching the edge. This amount will create the most level coaster and you won't need to sand them down too much at the end.
Step 3: Tap the mold gently on the table a couple times to release any bubbles that formed while mixing.
Step 4: Set the molds and plaster aside to dry for at least 30 minutes.
Step 5: Once dry turn the mold over, close to the table and push on the top of the mold with your fingers until the plaster is released.
Step 6: Turn the coasters over and sand the bottom down slightly so everything is even and smooth. You can sand the edges down too if needed.
Step 6: Take a piece of tape and stretch it diagonally across the coaster. Push the tape down with one edge touching two corners which will create a true centerline on one side of the coaster. Make sure the tape is pressed down firmly on the coaster so no glue gets underneath in the next step.
Step 7: Add a small amount of mod podge with the foam brush evenly covering the centered portion of the coaster. It dries pretty quick so try and get this on fast.
Step 8: Push one gold foil sheet into the glue and press firmly where you've added glue so the foil adheres completely and evenly. Gently pull the foil paper back and then lightly brush off any excess foil with your foam brush.
Step 9: Allow the glue to dry for at least 10 minutes and then gently peel off the tape. To prevent the coasters from scratching your table surface stick 4 clear rubber bumpers at the bottom of each corner. You're done!
There are a lot of street style mavens out there today, but few can pull off bold colors as well as Yasmin Sewell. When she's not consulting with the likes of Chloe, Hermes and ASOS, she's knocking it out of the ball park with playful and bright ensembles. We loved this brushstroke pattern mixed with chunky silvers (dare we say it's very Sunclipse) and recreated it below paired with our Bohdi Wire Earrings.
A little bit Stevie Nicks, a little bit Pheobe Philo; these earthy, bold and elegant wire rings have it all. Using crystals, loose beads and some silver wire, you can make these pretties within minutes. Pick up our jewelry findings kit which includes the perfect wire to make these rings!
Materials & Tools
- a mix of loose stones and beads, preferably tube shape
- 18 or 20 gauge wire
- round nose plier
- semi flush cutter
- marker, highlighter or an object that can be used to form a round ring shape
- super glue or e6000
Instructions FOR WRAPPED CRYSTAL RINGS
Step 1: Snip off a 8" section of silver wire using your semi flush cutter. Start by wrapping the center of the wire around the marker. You can pull it tighter if needed or widen it with your fingers to make it fit perfectly to your individual ring size. Always try to keep it in the round shape as you go.
Step 2: Place the crystal centered over the point that the two wires meet. Hold the crystal in place as you pull up one side of the wire.
Step 3: Wrap it around the belly of the crystal twice and bring the wire to the underside of the stone. Repeat with the other top wire. This will create a little bed for the stone to sit on and prevent your finger from being scratched by the crystal.
Step 4: With both ends of the wire on the underside of the crystal, wrap them once around the top of the ring shank and snip off any excess wire. Tighten them up with your chain nose pliers. If need be you can add a dab of superglue or e-6000 glue to the bottom the stone for extra stability.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL STONE TOPPED RINGS
We did a variation of this style in our Untitled Collection. This take on the Rothko Ring tutorial is easy as could be. We used semi-precious beads in a couple shapes and sizes to create these rings. Follow along with the Rothko Ring tutorial and add a dab of super glue or e6000 glue where the wire goes through the hole in each bead. Make the glue be your final step if you are using super glue. If you are using e6000, apply the glue to the wire before inserting it into the hole and when you have the wire just right make sure to hold it in place for a few minutes so the glue has time to set. Put the e6000 rings aside for at least 6 hours before wearing.
Ever find a single sheet of paper or scrap of fabric that inspires an entire project? That's the story behind this breakfast tray. It was love at first sight with this stunning Thai Marbled Paper we found from Mulberry Paper and we had to find a way to celebrate it's beauty in an everyday object. This project is fairly simple and inexpensive, just source a simple tray as your base and a pretty paper that pulls your heart-strings.
- - plain breakfast tray, we found ours at Ikea
- - pretty paper (large enough to fit the tray)
- - craft glue, we used ModPodge
- - craft paper
- - enviro tex pour-on (4oz/sq ft)
- - wide paint brush
- - squeegee or credit card
- - cardstock postcard
- - scissors
- - disposable stirring sticks
- - measuring cups
- - (2) disposable mixing bowls
- - ruler or measuring tape
- - pencil
Step 1. Measure the inside dimensions of the tray. Record your findings.
Step 2. Cut out a test piece of paper to make sure your measurements are correct. The paper should lay flat. Make any necessary adjustments and when your measurements are perfect use this piece of paper to trace out a pattern over the marbled paper, cut it out.
Step 3. Apply a thick layer of craft glue to the face of the tray. Add a few drops of water to thin it out slightly. It is important that the glue is completely wet when you lay the paper down.
Step 4. Starting with one edge, line up the paper with the tray and carefully lay it down face up. Smooth out any wrinkles with your fingers and carefully lay the entire sheet down.
Step 5. Smooth out the paper against the tray and squeegee out the excess glue (be careful not to rip the paper). Wipe the corners clean of any glue.
Step 6. Paint a thin layer of glue over the paper to seal the surface. Allow to dry completely.
Step 7. Read the instructions included with the pour on resin. It is important that you have enough resin to coat the entire tray with a thick layer. The box recommends 4 ounces/ square foot. You will mix equal parts of resin and hardener so the 8ounce box was the perfect amount to coat the Ikea tray. Make sure to do the following steps in a well ventilated area!
Step 8. Measure the contents of each bottle and make sure they are equal, we used identical plastic cups to make sure they matched up.
Step 9. Pour the resin into a mixing container*. Then pour an equal amount of hardener into the resin and stir for 2 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the container as you mix. After 2 minutes pour the contents into a second container and continue mixing 1 more minute.
*The container must have smooth walls and ideally it is disposable. Envirotex recommends you have 2 mixing containers.
Step 10. Immediately pour the resin over the surface of the tray. Use a piece of cardstock to spread evenly over the entire surface.
Step 11. Make sure the entire surface is coated and level. After 15 minutes some bubbles will rise to the surface, gently blow on the bubbles to release the air, or tap the tray lightly to get them to pop. Allow the tray to set on a level surface for 48 hours.
Once the resin is set, serve someone special breakfast in bed on your stunning new tray... Don't forget to add flowers!
Join us this Saturday, July 25th for our Summer Pop-Up Shop!!! Come shop, eat some sweet snacks, hang out with the For the Makers crew and find exclusive projects, grab bags, freebies and more!!! Oh, and our book is on mega sale for the event so grab one of the last copies in nyc while you're there! OK, we couldn't possibly use anymore exclamation points in one short post - but here are a few more just to showcase our very serious enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...!
RSVP here and stop by for some fun out of the sun...because it's hot you guys.
Not in nyc? No worries, we've got your back too. You can enter to win a grab bag and $25 Gift Certificate to use on forthemakers.com! To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open to anyone in the USA (sorry folks we don't ship internationally yet). The giveaway will end Sunday July 26th at 11:59pm PST and one will be announced here on Monday!WOOT!
This month's Bodhi Wire Earrings are the perfect project to make a slew of alternative options, known around here as #makertakes. We've been sporting all kinds of wire shape earrings around the office and hitting the streets with this lightweight sleek style, perfect for the summer heat. Update this simple style with a pop of color by adding some beads. Or you could add a splash of nail polish like the ones shown here, adapted from our book Make A Statement! Whatever you choose to do, make sure to share it with us via instagram and twitter by using the hashtags #forthemakers and #makertakes. We can't wait to see what you create!
- - 21 gauge round sterling silver wire
- - sandpaper or metal file
- - colorful beads (included in your Sunclipse collections)
- - chain nose pliers and metal clippers
HOW TO MAKE
Step 1: Create a post that will go through your ear by bending the wire at a 90 degree angle about 10 mm in from the end.
Step 2: Straighten out the wire as best as possible with your fingers. You can use the pliers if needed but try not to mar the metal too much. Create another 90 degree bend about 20 mm below the first bend.
Step 3: Thread one bead onto the wire all the way up to the second bend.
Step 4: Push the wire over the bead with your fingers and pull it back over the top of the bead.
Step 5: Loop the long wire around the 20 mm section and snip off the excess, leaving a 2-3 mm tail that you can tuck in tightly to keep the bead secure.
Repeat the steps with the remaining wire to make a the pair by following the bends of the first. Add some earring backs and you're ready to wear these babies!