The Joys of Tissue Paper

When you buy a lot of props, you end up with a lot of tissue paper. I like to put mine to use rather that just recycling it. Sometimes, I use tissue to look like parchment paper or wrapping around treats. Sometimes it’s a background, or an interesting surface texture. But most commonly, I use to to modify light. Although my windows in my studio are usually covered with vellum, sometimes it’s still not enough to tone down the light and minimize hot spots. For small hot spots, I like to use glass bottles to diffuse and refract the light… but if there is an overall problem, a sheet of tissue paper can work wonders… even just sort of tucked in. Because it comes in different thicknesses, there’s almost always just the right piece.

That’s what I did today when I was working on the cover shot for a cocktail book I’ve been shooting this week. Thought you might enjoy some of the setup shots and one of the (unedited) outtakes. Not exactly high-tech!


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  • That’s lovely.

  • That’s great info. It doesn’t have to be always high-tech.

  • Excellent tip. I have a massive collection of paper products and ribbon and tissue paper (love all that stuff!) — here’s how I’ll be using the latter soon. Thanks !!

  • Lara — this is a great mini-post! would love more tidbits like this one 🙂

  • Great trick! Thanks for sharing!

  • Very interesting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentally thanked you for telling us about vellum in the photography session at BlogHer ’07!

  • liz

    I love the trick of using glass bottles to deal with hot spots. It’s so helpful to see these setup shots – thanks!

  • Oh Lara… how I wish I could come be your intern for a week so I could learn all these tricks!

  • Hi there,

    Why are you subscription options not clearly marked? I would like to subscribe to your blog, but your feed is not anywhere that I can find. 🙁

  • (palm planted to forhead in self recriminating manner that bespeaks “Thats so easy…”)

    thanks….

  • Hi 🙂
    I’ve only very recently gotten very interested in the photography side of my food blog, and I just wanted to let you know that your blog is highly inspirational. Very informative and well presented.

    I’m so glad I found you!

  • Lara-Great tips! Honestly, your real-world tips and reassuring demeanor were my favorite part of Foodsnap yesterday. It was great to meet you–I’m enjoying your site.

  • this is a super idea. i love finding ideas to work with light and this one is simple and flexible. nice one.

  • This is a great tip. I remembered it and finally used it a few days ago. It helped so much to tape some tissue paper on the wondows and get more details in the photo. I’m going to post about it soon and, of course, will mention this post! Thanks for teaching/sharing!

  • This is lovely, excellent!

  • I have those same curtains in my place, the ones with the circles, and also appear from time to time as background of the photos (at a huge distance from yours, as I am a total beginner.
    Great blog, great tips, GREAT photos.