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Shooting Paper Products with an iPhone

Lesson 9 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

Shooting Paper Products with an iPhone

Lesson 9 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

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Lesson Info

9. Shooting Paper Products with an iPhone


Class Trailer

Session 1


Introduction to Craft Photography Fundamentals


What Your Visuals Say About Your Brand


How to Become a Photographic Author


How to Use Natural Light for Your Product Photography


Setting Up Your Photo: The Basic Rules


Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos


Shooting 3 Setups: Creating the Backstory with Images


Lesson Info

Shooting Paper Products with an iPhone

We are gonna photograph paper first, and then move into jewelry, because I want to do two jewelry sets, and style them in two different ways. So we're going to start out, I wanted to start with this because of the perspective question. It's just, if you photograph paper, or you're a scrapbooker and you're photographing 12 by 12 layouts, you're a painter, you're photographing your paintings, you're all gonna have strong, straight lines that you have to keep straight. So we're gonna talk about that. We are, I've already sort of started setting up. I'll just pick up one of these so you can see them. So we are gonna be photographing these little cards. These actually cut apart, and they're like little love letters you could like leave for your spouse around the house, or like you leave on vacation. And these are by Paper Bandit Press, which is my parents. So my parents, a year ago, my dad's an engineer, and my mom is a business person, decided that they really loved creating things, and th...

ey had never gotten to really do that in their life, and invest in that. So they took out my mom's retirement fund and started an antique letter press company, and they were just nominated last month as one of the Martha Stewart American Made finalists. So I'm just putting that plug in there if you want to vote for them. They're really fantastic and I'm super proud of them. So this is one of the reasons though, that I feel so connected to this community, because I see what they're going through, and how much they love what they do, and I want them to be able to show people how good it is. And you can't do that without using social media, and hi, we have a world today, where I can teach, right now, to someone in Spain. Like, when has that ever been possible? So they can get this product out to anyone in the world, but if they're not presenting it in a beautiful way, it's not gonna come across. So we're gonna switch. Let's see if we've got it, yep. Okay, and I'm gonna not shoot this square. So again, this is another thing lots of people ask me, like oh, aren't there better apps to shoot with? And I like shooting with the straight camera app that came with my phone. I just, it works, so I don't know why I would try anything else. Okay. So we're gonna straighten these out a little bit. So you can see we've layered these cards, and we've layered the envelopes. Now there were four cards, but I wanted an odd number, so I sort of created the same space as the card by using two of the envelopes. And then that shows that each one comes with an envelope, even though they're not cut apart and shown separately. Okay, so to style this I want to add in elements that you would use. This is an antique letter press so I'm gonna add in antique elements so people know that it is older, and that it's handmade, handcrafted. So I'm gonna use a calligraphy pen. I don't even know how to use this, but I bought a couple for styling purposes. I'm gonna add a pair of antique looking scissors. And we're gonna have all the sources in the class materials. And then I've also added baker's twine. I really love adding ribbon, or twine, or some kind of string within my images, because when I'm shooting something that's really straight and hard edged like this, I want there to be something else to balance it out, like a flow. So a lot of times I'll add some curving elements just to give it a little bit more interest, so not everything's so straight. And again, I sort of love cropping into things, so it's something that can come out of a corner, and I might turn that a little bit. And I actually think like this is my image. So I'm gonna brighten it up just a little bit. Okay. And just get that right in here. So you're seeing it a little bit brighter than me. But that's okay. And I don't necessarily, we've got a pretty hard edged shadow on there, I don't know that I necessarily want that. I might, because it adds, do you see the shadow I'm talking about, like right in here? So it adds a little bit of contrast and separation from the marble, so that might be good, but I also want to see it without. So I would, in this case, just grab a reflector. And while you're doing that Candice, I have a couple of questions. Yeah! Number one, people had asked if you know what the approximate size is of that. The reflector? Yeah, of that foam core. Is it four by five? I think it's close to four by five. I buy mine at Hobby Lobby, it's the only place I can find this size. Okay, great. And so I go to them particularly for that size, 'cause you can find smaller ones, but I just, for some, we're gonna show you other ways to use it, and for the other purposes, like being a wall or a table, I really like having it being a little bit bigger. But for reflection purposes it could be smaller and it wouldn't matter. And then another question is about, when you have multiple items like that... Yes. Is there an importance with regard to the odd number of items versus an even number of items? And is that something you consider when you're laying those out? Yes, so I definitely considered that here, because if I had four, then they start to create those lines like we talked about, right? When I lay them out, when I lay four out, it's almost like a grid pattern. Now I could use that to my advantage if I had a whole bunch of them, and make a grid, and like repetition and make it look really cool. But because I don't have a whole bunch, I have four, I don't want to just create like a square box. I want some movement within my image. And so you can see how, let me hold this up so you guys can see again. You can see how they're not all exactly the same. Like some of them come out farther, right, and some of them come in, and so it's creating like a little bit of movement within. And so that's why. So, I mean, you could use an even number, it's just a lot harder to create like a flow. Great, thank you. Okay, so let's, I want to show you the difference between, and do we have the frogs? Let's show those, 'cause I have a feeling, this may not be a question yet, but I have a feeling, and I've heard a lot, "Well, what if I'm by myself, "and I don't have someone to hold the board?" So we're gonna show you that. Many people asked that. I knew it was coming. Okay. So, this is, this is what we are saying by frogs. You guys are like, what is happening? So frogs are actually floral stands. They look like tiny little beds of nails. So if you have little people at your house, keep them up high. These aren't super heavy, but if you go, I like to buy mine from flea markets, they're usually just a few dollars, and they're made of iron so they're really, really heavy. These are actually from like a floral craft store. So you can get them anywhere. You don't have to go to a flea market. But here's why I love these so, so much. Because most of the time I'm working alone, I'm not working with an assistant. It's just me at home. And you can only talk your kids and husband into holding things so many times before they're done. Right? All I have to do is just press this right down in here, and now I have an assistant by the name of frog. So I use that all the time for false walls, which we're gonna show, and then for my reflector. So let's just take a picture with the reflector. And notice that I'm focusing right in. And notice that I'm not standing back here and taking it like this. I have to be right over it, or I'm gonna start, do you see the difference if I move a little bit? So I have to be right over them in order to get that perspective correct. And my camera is reading all this light area and making my image darker. So again, I tap on my area that I want, and I slide the slider slightly, and I take that photo. And I'm gonna keep making slight adjustments to make sure I got that angle correct. Okay. And this is it, I mean, I don't think I need to do anything else. I like this just the way it is. So that would be my image. And I think that it's just the way I want it. So it's that simple. Finding a window. And if you feel like your window just doesn't have a lot of light, then stand right next to it. Stand right next to it. I could set this up right next to this window and have tons more light, I just don't need to here. But at home I'm usually like a foot or two away. And that's for a couple different reasons, which we'll get into later. But mainly, the bigger your light source, the softer your light. If I walk away from these windows, do they seem bigger or smaller to me? Smaller. So the farther away I get, the smaller my light source gets, and the more contrasty the light gets. So I'm always setting up as close as I can when I want soft light, and if I want an edgier light, a more contrasty light, then I would move away from the windows to get that. And so that's kinda why we're set up where we are. Okay, let's go into jewelry 'cause we don't have a lot of time, and I really want to talk about it. While you're doing that transition, can you tell us again about the frogs and where people find them? So I find most of mine at flea markets, or like antique kind of junk shops. They're anywhere. You can get them... Like at the florist? Yes. So you can get them at like Michael's in the floral section. Great, thank you. So, super easy to find.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Creating Visuals For Your Brand Assignment
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 1
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 2
Prop List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class taught by Candice was amazing. She teaches in such a step-by-step, easy to understand pace. She shares so much of her own tips and tricks she uses to create beautiful images without spending a fortune or having all kinds of expensive equipment. Having the DSLR lessons included was really great for anyone who wants to do more than the camera phones are capable of. Learning the basics of how to use a DSLR is confusing for most people, but Candice broke it down in the simplest way possible. Social media is all about imagery, so if you want to put out the most beautiful eye-catching photos, then you want to learn how to use more than the camera phone. I don't have a business where I need to take photos of things I sell and I still enjoyed her class so much. As a photographer, I am going to use her ideas and insight when I photograph things for fun. There is so much to gain from this class. I would highly recommend taking her class. She is a wealth of great ideas and information and has that friendly personality of someone you'd want to sit and have coffee with.


A wonderful class to get you going with craft/product photography. Candice provides (and shows) fantastic examples and it's really fun to watch her work through a shoot, moving items, etc. to create the final image. She also covers some basic photography tips which is very helpful. Great class! I definitely recommend to others!

Melinda Malamoco

I loved this class! Candice is so personable, clear and relatable. I would want to hang out with her and be creative! I have been taking pictures for YEARS, and for my Etsy store for over two years, and I still learned a lot in her class. The lessons are set up in a way that you can follow, take what you want and don't worry about what you don't need. I will say that I got a TON of ideas for how to better display my brand, what my personal style is and how to be consistent with it. I so recommend this class for anyone who has small business or just wants to be able to take better pictures of their products. Okay, off to build a prop kit!

Student Work