Better Book Photos: It’s a snap!
Are you tired of taking over-exposed or dark photos of your beautiful TBR piles? Would you like to make your book blog photos pop? If you can scrounge up a cardboard box, some white tissue paper, white and black poster board, tape, an X-Acto knife, and scissors, you can improve the quality of your book photographs in under 30 minutes.
I’m not a photographer by a long shot but do enjoy taking pictures. I hope that this mini-tutorial will help you take crisper, more balanced photos without too much technical jargon or effort on your part.
Now to the fun stuff! This photo of my TBR pile is too dark and distant for readers to see what I’m reading. Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with the books when taking photos.
The Auto setting on cameras usually activates the flash and can put a glare on book spines, cast shadows on the table, and make the colors look wonky.
Using the AV setting on my camera and a homemade light box, the photo comes out so much nicer.
Monday morning I made an inexpensive light box (tent). Light boxes are available on the internet for upwards of $35, but I’m too thrifty for that! Instead, I spent a few dollars on two goose neck desk lamps and some poster board and came up with my own. It doesn’t look like much but check out the end result.
Here’s the end result after cropping out the box, lights, table, and rest of the mess.
To make a light box, just dig up a box–mine is large (14×14) because I’m using it for more than just book photos–and use a razor to slice out large squares on three sides. I didn’t do this mathematically–I eyeballed the whole thing. Cover the three open sides with 2 sheets of tissue paper and tape the paper into place. Cut pieces of white and black poster board (so you can switch them depending on your mood!) to fit inside the box.
Be careful not to fold or crease the paper because you want a seamless look. When done correctly, the books (or any other small objects) look as if they are floating in the photographs. Place the paper inside the box, aim some lights into the tissue square windows, and have fun.
It took me a bit to figure out just how to position the lights and what settings worked best on my camera. I didn’t use a flash at all and was really happy with the results. There are plenty of websites and You Tube videos that give more in-depth instructions on building your own light box if you are so inclined.
Here’s to better book photos on blogs everywhere!