Taking a good photo

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now but Jenson Taylor’s Blogger Tips challenge was what got me writing it.

When I first started blogging/selling my cards online, I took really terrible photos. My creations were good but the photos weren’t. I used to drool over and admire all the amazing creations other bloggers made until slowly I realized that the creations were amazing but the photos really showed off the amazing-ness.

So for my post today I’ll share what I learnt about taking good pictures of your papercraft creations. Mind you, I’m no professional photographer and certainly not the best out there. But I’ll post before and after pics and you can see for yourself what a difference learning just a little about photography has made to my blogging.

Here is a photo from before I knew how to photograph my cards:

Few things to notice here if you haven’t already:

  • I used shiny paper as my card background but didn’t pay attention to the light. Notice how it makes the paper colors look different in the top left and bottom right corners? Not flattering at all.
  • The card is flat with no dimension whatsoever. You can’t tell if its a card that opens or a postcard.
  • The dimensions are distorted because I took the photo at an angle. The card appears crooked and irregularly shaped.
  • The background is a strange patterned one which distracts the viewer from the card.

This is one of my earliest cards I made to sell for a local charity. I’m proud of the design but not of the photo.

Here is the setup I use now for taking pictures:

Just a simple sheet of white poster paper folded into half and propped up against the wall and floor in the foyer of our home. Why the foyer? Because thats where we have a big skylight and lots of overhead lights. If you can, take your photos in natural light. If not then take them where you can create good ambient light.

Sometimes if the card is all whites, I’ll use a dark background poster paper instead of white.

Here is how I place my cards for taking photos now:

Slightly tilted to give it a 3D look. and in the center of my poster paper.

Another tip here is to take LOTS of photos of your creation from various angles. Its just digital so no big deal. You will be thankful later when you have many to choose from.

I use a Canon DSLR but don’t ask me about settings on it. I just set it to the default “close-up” mode (the one with the little tulip on it). I have used my little point-and-shoot the same way before and it doesn’t make a difference to my photos. Same with my phone camera.

The story doesn’t end after you have taken your photo. More often than not you need to edit it before displaying online. This need not be fancy editing with Photoshop or any other scary software. I use Picasa to edit my photos. The functions I use most commonly are — crop, fill-light, highlights, color temperature and text.

The text option is to add my watermark to the photos. I have learnt the not-so-pleasant way to watermark EVERY photo uploaded publicly online. Some people prefer to watermark in the center so it can’t be cropped off but I find that distracting so I stick to the corners. Mine is a simple watermark with just my name and blog link. This is especially useful if you use sites like Pinterest or Twitter where people might view your photos outside of your blog’s context and might want to know more or credit you.

Here is the photo of the card in the setup above, all cleaned up and ready for my blog:

Hope this helped you take better photos for your blog. Like I said before, I’m no photographer but I have learnt that a little bit of effort goes a long way in getting decent pics for your blog!

Thanks for stopping by!

5 Comments

  1. AnnMarie

    Thank you for all of the great info! I use Picassa too and LOVE it! Your creations are all so beautiful and deserve high quality picture snapping! Nice job! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  2. cparsons

    I’m so glad you did this! I love photography and take great outdoor photos with my Canon. Taking indoor shots of artwork is a whole other ballgame!! I’ve been using white foam core on the floor or the top of my white desk. I think this easel would work better. I know how to use the manual settings, but it is time- consuming and not fun.

    Like

  3. Winnie

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I have trouble taking pictures, so hubby is doing now, but we are going to get some more light as it is just so dark here. I love the poster board idea. Have a great weekend.

    Like

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