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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Better Photographs

I received some advise on improving my presence on blogs and etsy. Apparently people really like good, interesting photos, go figure. After initially feeling a little defensive on the implied lack of  Ansel Adams talent I decided to set my mind to improving my photos and making them a little more interesting. I have found myself wandering the vast and mostly vacant halls of the web discovering little and feeling a little numb. However when you have a particular question or need it is the most amazing tool of knowledge from which many good things can come. Here are some websites I discovered from which I garnered most of my knowledge on the subject of photos. It does little good to regurgitate what they have already said  just go there for yourself.

http://www.studiolighting.net/homemade-light-box-for-product-photography/
http://www.bermangraphics.com/digital-jury-resources/digital-cameras.htm
http://digital-photography-school.com/macro-photography-tips-for-compact-digital-camera-users

I set about lighting the bowls according to the ideas presented in these articles. I used two cheap table lamps which I coupled with 2 100 watt equivalent energy efficient bulbs. Over the bulbs I placed a sheet of light tissue paper to defuse the light and make it a little less harsh. I used a sheet of white wrapping paper as a background to keep the focus on the bowl itself.  Placing the bowl in  the frame took some getting used to as they can be quite large. Once I got used to this though it is simply a matter of placing the bowl in positions experience tells me would look best.

 The camera, a Cannon Power Shot A1100 AS,  is mounted on a small cheap tripod which rests on the floor. I place the camera in "program" mode and set the ISO to 400, the light source to tungsten, the effects to vivid, and move the lens setting to Macro. I focus the lens on a forward edge to the bowl or item to be photographed which causes the images furthest from the camera to be slightly out of focus. I feel this adds character and interest to the photo.

The last step in the process is to edit the photos to make them look their best. I use picnik which you can find and use for free at http://www.picnik.com/ simply upload your photos and you can edit them like a pro. I would caution against trying to use software like this to make a bad photo look good. It really takes very little editing to make a photo really look "shopped", it is best to have a good photo to begin with and use this software to crop, re size, and and subtly bring out some of the finer details in the already fine photograph.

 I hope some of the tips and links here help you find your way to even better photos and a more enjoyable experience. It is simply not good enough in the online world to have a great product, you also have to have great photographs. While some I know have hired professional photographers at what I imagine to be relatively great expence I hope my photos show that  you can achive good results with a lower end digital camera and a little know how.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips!!! Well written, too.

    ReplyDelete