Photographing Cards

I have a lot to learn about photography.  While I feel like I know how to compose a good photo, I know very little about how to translate my vision to a well-taken photograph.  I've read quite a bit about the basics and have done a lot of experimenting with the manual mode of my little point-and-shoot, but I'm just barely learning how much there is I don't know.

I usually scan my layouts, but I prefer to photograph cards.  Since I often use dimensional elements on cards (and almost never do on layouts), a photograph is a better way of showing off a card.  Except my pictures always looked flat and distorted.  I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. 

So I finally asked my husband for help.  Steve is a very knowledgeable photographer and immediately identified my main problem.  After putting the card in the light tent, I was standing very close and using the macro setting, which led to distortion.  He told me to back way up and use the zoom.  The difference was immediately apparent.  This photo won't win any awards for Excellence in Card Photography, but it's one of the better pictures I've taken of a card, especially considering that it was taken on a dark, rainy day:

I showed Steve a few blogs I follow that have excellent card photography.  He noticed something they had in common and gave me another suggestion.  Look closely at the back of this card:

See the way the back is ever-so-slightly elevated?  A lot of the best pictures had that in common.  Steve had an idea to test.  Here's a side view.  Propping the card up on a very thin Lego both keeps it stable and creates dimension in the photograph. 

Two little changes and already my card photography is improved.


  1. Oh my gosh! A lego!!! Who knew!!!! Thanks for that great tip! Thanks for the blog visit (awhile ago now!!) :)

  2. Wowwwwwwww....such awesome ideas!! Loveeeeee it! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. So clever! I would have been making the same mistakes. I'll have to do the same when I photograph my crafts... though without the light tent.


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