Tabletop Photography, just for fun

Tabletop photography has become very popular. It covers a wide range of interests from serious product photos to just having fun. This is one form of photography where you can let your imagination run wild.

You can have a great time photographing toys or your favorite figurines. You can also use tabletop photography to catalogue your insured belongings such as jewelry, stamps or coins.

Do you like to cook? Think about taking some shots of your favorite dishes for your recipe files.
If you run a business you could take shots of your products for those sales fliers and other advertisements, or you could take photos for other businesses and earn a little extra cash.

Some people even take the time to build elaborate sets to photograph. This can be great fun and gives you the opportunity to show off your talents. This type of tabletop photography includes anything from city scapes to farm scenes or even model cars and airplanes. My son loves to build models of the movie monsters such as alien and predator, he then sets up a scene and photographs them.

As you can see tabletop photography is limited only to the extent of your imagination. So get your mind working and see how much fun you can have.

Equipment you will need
· Camera
· Tripod
· Shutter release cable
· Sturdy table
· Lighting source
· AC adapter for the camera
· Light tent also referred to as a light box
· Backgrounds for the light box
· Close up set or macro lens

Set the white balance manually if you are using a light tent. Your owners’ manual will be able to help you with this. When not using a light box for your tabletop photography you may find yourself in a situation where there is more than one kind of light source. This may be a combination of tungsten and fluorescent for example. If this is the case try the different white balance settings to see which one produces the best result.

Bracket your shots in order to get the exposure correct. Correct exposure is vital to the quality of your photography. You may, however find that a slightly under or over exposed photo to be more appealing.

When shooting small subjects you may want to try using manual focus. This will enable you to concentrate on the exact area you want to emphasize in the scene. Your depth of field will be shallow when shooting close ups as well so you should be sure the important area is sharply focused.

You can use the aperture priority setting to select the depth of field and let the camera automatically select the shutter speed.

Taking the shot
Set the light sources further away to achieve a softer light or set them closer for more contrast. Have enough lights on hand to be able to eliminate any shadows or to set up the shadow effect just the way you want. A light box will help eliminate shadows as it diffuses the light over the whole scene.

You can use your close up set or macro lens to help make smaller subjects seem life size or even larger than life. This is also where your tripod and shutter release cable comes in handy. When shooting close up scenes it’s very easy to have camera shake if you aren’t careful.

Another advantage of using a tripod is that you can plug the AC adapter into the camera and save your battery power. With the camera stationary you don’t have to worry about tripping over the cord.

Use a background that will emphasize the subjects’ detail and color. You can get some colored cloth from the fabric retailer or use colored bristle board from a craft store. Keep in mind the background has to completely cover the floor of the light box as well as the area behind the subject.

Some of the most popular colors are black, white, blue, red, and yellow. You can of course rely on your own imagination for this and use whatever you find most appealing.

With tabletop photography there’s nothing that states you must use a light box. Try setting your scene up on the table without the box and see what the results are. If you wish to use shadows in the scene then setting up in this manner will be a benefit, as the light box tends to eliminate shadows.

As with any type of photography take shots from all the different angles. Use different lighting positions and intensities. Change shutter speeds and play with the depth of field. You can see that using the same subject but changing the angle or light or the camera settings can produce variations.