home made light box to use with the help of my dad and husband. Thus far, it has served me well and allowed for some great amateur photos of my handmade products. Recently, I wanted to create more professional looking, polished photos of my hand felted fashion accessories for submission to an upcoming publication. After doing a little research online, I came across a super cheap way to achieve that lovely black to white gradient background that is often seen in the photographs of art pieces and fine crafts. If you buy a professionally produced graduated photography background it can cost upwards of $50 or more depending on the size, but I've found a way to achieve the same effect for just $5.
As a small arts and crafts home business owner, my budget is tight (actually slim to none most days!) so I always seek out inexpensive alternatives when possible. While researching this topic online, I came across a forum discussion that suggested creating a printable file in a program like Photoshop with a simple black to white gradient and having it printed at a local print shop. In the discussion, this link is provided to an already prepared file, size 24 x 36 inches. I saved that file to my flash drive (right click and "save image as"), took it to my local Kinkos, and had it printed in black and white on their large format printer for less than five bucks! And, it works! I've been using it in my home made light and as a background for my dress form with wonderful results. Granted, it probably will not last a long time because the paper is a standard printer weight, but it is easy to cheaply replace when it rips or creases.
I just thought that I'd pass along the information to those who might want to give it a try. You do need a decent light box setup or good light source to work with. In the images on this post, you can see a couple of examples of my new "professional" photography style. If you'd like to see more of the photos that I've taken with my new (cheap) background, check out my flickr photo stream for a variety of my handmade felted wares.