Light Box Review

For nearly eight years I used the same product photography setup—propped up foam core next to a window. It was cheap and worked for my purposes, but it had some drawbacks. My old setup relied heavily on the weather, and I often had to delay my shoots on gloomy days. My photos were also heavily affected by the leaves on the trees outside reflecting green or yellow light on my setup during spring, summer, and fall. Editing photos took forever, because I had to manually adjust each one. Due to the changing light conditions I couldn’t automate any part of the editing process.

After years of debating I decided I will be changing my greeting cards from A7 to A2 size, which means updating all my product photos. Talk about daunting! I’m switching to a white background for individual product shots, while keeping my usual burlap texture for styled shots. I spent hours reading way too many reviews, and finally bought this light box.

My light box folds flat for storage and easily pops up when I need it. The inside is lined with LED lights, and there’s a white backdrop built in. The box seals the light in with velcro, and there are openings with flaps on the top and front so you can poke your camera in to get your shot. I don’t like that there’s no on/off switch. You have to plug and unplug it to turn it on and off. Also, the white backdrop has a crease in it from being folded for storage. Lucky for me the crease isn’t a problem for flat lay product photos.

My process for re-shooting my cards was to photograph each one with the same camera settings in the same placement in the light box. Then I created a Photoshop action to automatically edit each photo as much as possible. (Here’s a tutorial from Adobe demonstrating how to create Photoshop actions.)

Here’s a raw unedited photo straight from my light box:

light box review

After I ran my custom Photoshop action I was left with this:

light box review

Then I just had to adjust it slightly to finish up:

light box review

I can’t tell you how much time this new process has saved me! I was able to photograph and edit 85 cards in one day! I don’t even want to think about how long that would’ve taken with my old photography set up. At least a week I’m sure.

If you’ve been on my site you know I haven’t switched over to the new product photos yet. I’ll be gradually making the change in late December/early January when the new card size is available.

One other downside, if you have a toddler you will probably have to share the light box.

light box review

Pink Plant Party

Hands down, my favorite thing about the new house is how much more sunlight comes in the windows. (Having a pantry is a close second.) My crazy plant lady tendencies have kicked into overdrive, because I’m not limited to low light houseplants anymore. Now I can grow ALL THE PLANTS! Lately I’m obsessed with the pink variegated varieties. Here are some of the beauties I’ve brought home over the last few months.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Philodendron Pink Princess—I had to scour the internet for a start of this pretty lady. They’re selling for insane prices on eBay, (my usual go-to for plants I can’t find locally). Luckily I found one here.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Oyster plant aka Moses in the cradle plant aka Tradescantia spathacea—whatever you call it, this thing looks awesome. I found it all beat-up and pitiful at Home Depot, but it’s perking up nicely now.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Tricolor prayer plant aka Triostar Stromanthe—how insane is this plant? When the sunlight shines through the leaves it’s otherworldy. All the leaves fold up at night flaunting their bright magenta undersides.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Ficus elastica ‘Ruby Red’ aka pink variegated rubber plant—I was trying to control my plant hoarding urges, since I already had a regular variegated rubber plant, but Daniel peer pressured me into getting this Ruby Red variety, too. I didn’t mind.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Have you made any new additions to your plant collection lately?

Monarch Chrysalis

I’m finally feeling settled in the new house, and the buyers of our old house close on Friday! I’m looking forward to resuming my normal, boring life routine again once everything is finalized. Sweet, sweet routine. I didn’t realize how many months the whole moving/home selling process would take!

My parents gave me the coolest housewarming gift—a monarch butterfly chrysalis from their garden! The chrysalis started out seafoam green and became transparent right before the butterfly hatched. I missed the actual hatching process, but the butterfly crawled onto my hand before fluttering away, and I nearly died of happiness. Its sweet little butterfly toes were surprisingly prickly!

How can I train a butterfly to sit on my finger all day? So much better than jewelry!

We’re Moving

It’s true, we’re moving! If you’ve hung around my blog long enough you might love our quirky A-frame house as much as I do. I spent years fixing this place up, I started Wit & Whistle here, and I’ve spent nearly every day living and working here for 9 years. I adore this house along with its various oddities (here’s looking at you, kitchen roof). Living in this wonderfully weird old 70’s A-frame has been part of my identity for so long. I’m sad to leave, but for many reasons it’s time for our family to move on and let someone new fall in love with this home.

The house will go on the market sometime in August, so if you know anyone in the Raleigh/Cary area that would love this place send them my way! (Especially if it’s someone who appreciates things like panoramic forest views, exposed brick, vintage hex tile, and sprawling rose bushes.) We’ll be moving to a beautiful newly built (but completely un-quirky) Raleigh home nearby. Once we get unpacked, quirk-i-fying will be top priority. I’m excited about the new decorating challenge—adding character and charm to new construction is not something I’ve tackled before. Give me tips please!

I’ve thoroughly documented my house here on the blog over the years, and I think a round-up of my favorite house pics is in order. I love you forever, house! <3

front yard, curb appeal, before after

a-frame great room

a-frame great room

subway tile kitchen backplash

bedroom makeover

white bathroom yellow vintage hex tile

world map wall sized

front yard, curb appeal, before after

Chicken Birthday Party

Happy hatch-day to my hens! Margo, Millie, and Roberta are 3 years old today. I still love having backyard chickens. The composting coop my dad and mom helped me build works beautifully and is so easy to maintain. The girls don’t lay eggs every day like they used to, but we still get 8–10 eggs a week. Naturally I had to make a cake for the ladies. Yogurt, grapes, mealworms, oats, and weeds—the stuff chicken dreams are made of!

chicken birthday cake

Margo wasn’t shy about digging in. She has always been the bravest and most curious chicken, even when she was a fuzzy little hatchling. Margo is blind in one eye now. I have no idea how it happened, but she gets around fine and is my best layer.

chicken birthday party

Millie is always so cautious especially when the camera is out. She used to run and squawk when I reached for her, but now she will let me stroke her feathers occasionally. So… progress?

chicken birthday party

Roberta is so sweet! She loves to hop up on things including my lap if I make it available to her. She tends to pull out her butt feathers every summer, but they grow back beautifully in the fall. Maybe she likes feeling a breeze in her nether regions when it’s hot out?

chicken birthday party

Here they were as 2 week old fluff balls! Happy hatch-day chickies!

baby chicks

P.S. Remember the time I dressed them up like ballerinas?