My Photo Journey

Hey folks!

I recently updated my photo station in the craft room and thought it’d be a fun post to show you my progression taking photos for the blog over the years. I’ve been blogging for 4 years now. So I wen’t back into my blog archives and pulled up photos from the past. I’ve really learnt a lot about photography from observing other crafters photos and reading/watching tutorials. I’m definitely not an expert and barely qualify as an amateur photographer but I hope my photo journey inspires you to keep working on your blog photos too!

Before we start, a very quick line about why I keep striving for better photos. It is first and foremost for my own satisfaction. I love looking at beautiful photos of my fellow crafters creations so I’m assuming others like the same for my creations. I also feel that when I’ve put in so much hard work to create something beautiful, the photo must capture it. Its my only way of showing the world why I’m so proud of what I made. These reasons are top of my list. Everything else – design team commitments, social media audience, product marketing – are secondary. I might talk about the secondary reasons another day in another post but there is plenty written about them if you search around blogland!

So a fair warning – this is a photo heavy post! But lets get started…

First Generation

I started with taking photos just to document and share my cards. So a quick snap mostly with my phone with the card on a flat surface was my go-to style.

Gen1

Second Generation

This was around when I started following many crafters blogs. I realized the importance of dimensions in photos here. So started taking my pics with the card upright instead of laying it flat.

Gen2

Third Generation

I realized how much better my pics were with an SLR camera at this point instead of a phone camera or a small point-n-shoot. Also understood the importance of lighting though very slightly. The pics from this generation were taken in our bathroom since it had the most lighting then! You’ll notice I also started adding a simple watermark to my pics from this point.

Gen3

Fourth Generation

I learnt editing skills here after getting on a few design teams. Started editing my photos before putting them on the blog. They weren’t much (still aren’t). Some basic cropping, enhancing brightness and setting color curves to a good preset in Photoshop Elements.

Gen4

Fifth Generation

This was my big leap generation. I consciously worked hard to improve photos here since I was on a couple of manufacturer DTs by this time and Iron Craft had also launched.

After observing many beautiful photos I realized that the surface on which the card is placed is important to adding dimension to the photo. I experimented with a tablecloth first but found that I sometimes loved the subtle reflection and gloss that some surfaces gave. So made a trip to Home Depot and picked up a couple of tiles. Also gave my bamboo craft table a good shine with a cleaner.

This was also when my hubby gave me a 50mm lens for my DSLR as a birthday present. It changed the clarity of my photos a lot!

One more thing I realized here was the importance of true lighting – lighting that preserved my card’s natural colors so white stayed white in the photo. I tried to use a lot of natural light for photographs of this generation because I didn’t have any artificial lights that could create true light in my house then.

Lastly, my photo editing skills improved so I could use Photoshop Elements to make a better watermark for photos as well as edit better.

Gen5

Sixth Generation

Capturing photos in natural light is hard in Seattle where the sunny days are few. And if you work in the daytime and craft at night, this is even harder. So I read tutorials and setup a homegrown photo station at this stage.

I purchased a couple of lights that gave me true light and setup a white poster board in the back to reflect the lights so I could have a good bright area for night photos. I still like natural light when I can use it but this setup let me craft on my schedule and photograph anytime.

I also started adding backgrounds to photos in addition to surfaces thatI discovered previously. Backgrounds add depth to photos and with a 50mm lens, they blur if you focus on your card. This creates a very nice dimension.

Gen6

Seventh Generation

After I took enough photos with my homegrown photo station, I decided to invest in a lightbox. It created even more diffused white light giving a very nice even lighting to my photos. I also invested in a tripod to take my photos at this stage. Having a good adjustable tripod made a big difference to sharpness. And lastly I started staging photos with a few props.

Props are like icing on cakes. You can probably do without them but if you add them, they make the photo look even more amazing!

Gen7

Current Setup

I am currently increasing my collection of surfaces, backgrounds and props. Also experimenting with different angles for photos.

Here is a look at my current photo setup and some props I gathered. The woodgrain backdrop in the second pic below is from The Backdrop Shop. Thanks to Thanh for recommending them to me!

IMG_0831

IMG_0833

Props

And one of my current photos with props, background and surface in my lightbox…

WatercolorHello2

Hope you enjoyed my photo journey! I hope to continue on it and become better as I practise more! Your comments and encouragement help!! ❤ Thanks for stopping by!

10 Comments

  1. Ruby N

    wow thanks for sharing that! I’m still at third generation and only use my camera phone! lol 🙂 someday I’ll get to learn more about cameras and lighting to create my own area to take photos.

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  2. Monika/buzsy

    I enjoyed reading this post Chaitali. I’ve been struggling with my photos… maybe because of my little nikon camera (my pentax broke and haven’t been able to fix it yet). I have a light box set, but the little tent got dirty from the cats and I don’t know how to clean it… and I don’t have a good place to set up the big one. One of my bulbs burnt out recently and I haven’t replaced it yet, so I am using all natural light right now… still… my cards never look as good as yours or some of the other designers… Could you tell me how big that wood grain backdrop is?

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    1. Chaitali

      Thanks Monika! The big advice I have here is to keep practising and keep taking photos! It takes time to learn and improve 🙂 Goodluck in your photo journey!

      The backdrop I have is the smallest one the shop offers – 2X2 ft. Thats more than enough for cards I figured.

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  3. Virginia L.

    It’s so awesome to see your photo journey, Chaitali! My card photos have evolved so much over the last few years,too! I am loving your new photo setup! The card in the latest set up is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Bobby

    This is great information, Chiatali, and I’m glad you included the links. I don’t see a DSLR in my future but some of these ideas may help me improve my photos.

    Like

  5. glow:)

    love love love your explanation on needing the right light to make your photos stand out while crafting at night!!! awesome:) thanks.. sending hugs:)

    Like

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