11.17.2010

Photography Tips

I am going to start this post by saying that I know a lot less about photography than a lot of other people.  However, I have done just a bit of reading and a lot of experimenting and found some things that help me take pretty good pictures with my very average camera, and very unimpressive set-up.  Since many of you have the same sorts of equipment to work with that I do, I figure this might be helpful to those of you that blog and/or run an online shop.

First - you do not need special equipment or an expensive camera to get a decent picture (note that I did not say fabulous, but decent).  Below is a picture of where I take most of the pictures for my Etsy shop:
That's right, I put a piece of white flannel on an armchair in my living room.  The things that make this a decent place to take pictures are that I have lots of windows in my living room, and a light fixture right above this chair.  On a sunny day, this is enough light to get decent pictures.  Outside would be an even better place.  I could put this piece of white flannel on the sidewalk in front of my house and get very well-lit pictures.  The next thing to mention is that an amateur, such as myself, should not use a flash if I can possibly avoid it.  Apparently, professionals can use a flash to do great things, but when I use a flash, the picture looks like this:

I can take the same picture without the flash:
Obviously, the second picture is better.  The light looks much more natural.  Don't believe me?  Try it yourself in a well-lit part of your home.

The next trick you should use is to find the "close-up" setting on your camera.  Mine has this little dial on top with symbols to represent the different settings.  Instead of using the automatic setting, use the one that is for close-ups.  Mine has a little tulip symbol for this setting.  Just remember to turn off the automatic flash.

Next, you'll want some basic photo-editing software.  I don't have anything other than the HP Photosmart Essentials software that came with my scanner.  When I open edit mode for an individual picture there is a button at the very top that says "Photo Fix" and has a little magic wand symbol.  This is a very magical button indeed, and I use it on nearly every picture I take whether business or personal.  Here is an example of a picture just as it came off my camera:

It's not too bad.  Here's what it looks like after I use my magical "Photo Fix" button:

It brightens up the colors and often makes them look more correct.  It is even more striking with many other pictures that I've taken.  I just didn't manage to take any bad enough ones this time, lol.  Now, even better, is what happens when I crop it:
See?  Now this picture is ready to use.  I can also use the same software to resize the image, which is essential if you are using Etsy, because the pictures usually come off your camera with a file size that is too big for their system.  I hope this helps.  If you have other tips I'd love to hear them.  Let me know how it goes when you try these tips.

By the way, the pair of mittens in these pictures is a size 0 to 6 months, and will be listed in my shop tonight.

Happy crafting!

April :)


1 comment:

  1. I like the white flannel idea. I've also been told to use black velvet if you want a dark background. Need to get some of each to keep around for quick photos.

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