HOW TO: Lighting your shot - NATURALLY!

A quick tutorial for photographing small art at home using easily found materials and natural light.


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  • Tripod
  • Seamless long piece of paper- white, black or grey
  • White reflector or large piece of white board
  • North facing large window or door
  • Table

Step One: Set Up with Natural Light

Find a north-facing window and place a table close to it. If you don’t have an evenly lit window use a sheer curtain to soften the direct sun. Next, use a long piece of paper or fabric as a backdrop. Bend the paper at the bottom towards the camera so that it does not have a seam. Now, find a large reflector or white piece of board to place on the side furthest from the window, which will fill light in from the reflection. Lastly, set up your tripod.

Step Two: Camera Settings

Once your camera is on the tripod be sure to make sure it is straight. Many tripods have levels built in but if not you can put one on top of your cameral. Set your ISO to its lowest setting at 100 to assure the clearest image. Lastly, set you camera to AV or aperture priority mode. The larger the aperture number the more in focus the artwork will be. If you prefer selected focus use a smaller aperture. I recommend taking a number of pictures at different apertures so you can decide later the effect you prefer.

Step Three: Editing

Use your editing software to adjust the image. In this edit I needed to adjust the background to make it a true white and I also took out the seam in my paper using the cloning tool.



Now you are ready to share your art! I try to photograph my children’s clay creations and other sculptures and add them to our photo albums.


Here are some other samples of my professional work I have taken using similar set up. Have fun experimenting!

Blog contributed by Emmy Walden Fox. You can learn more about Emmy and her photography business by visiting her website. 


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