I occasionally get compliments from my crafty friends about my photos and what I do to make my photos look so good. I guess a lot of it comes very naturally to me, but I think a lot of it is a) experience and b) knowing the tricks of the game to get a good photo. I thought I would share today some tips for how I take my photos (illustrated with photos I take, of course).
First off, before I get started, I want to say that while my photos have improved vastly because I upgraded my camera (to a Nikon D40), it doesn't mean you still can't get great pics with your point and shoot. It's just knowing how far you can push your little handheld camera and a little photo editing that did the trick for me back in the day! And with that in mind, all the photos taken in this post are with my old digital camera (similar to the kind you probably have). So here's the goods :)
Come to the light
If you are taking your photo in poor lighting, you are setting yourself for a bad photo from the get go. Go next to a window with light streaming in or set up the photo next to a lamp (or two). Even though it's not "professional" studio lighting, it creates a much warmer glow. Now, here's the kicker...DON'T USE THE FLASH. People are soooooo addicted to flash and in certain circumstances it is neccessary, but if you have sufficient lighting, then most times you can get a good photo just from the light you are using and it's much crisper and more vibrant an image. There are some exceptions to this rule, but if you do find that you need flash, check to see if there is a flash setting on your camera. Sometimes the flash setting will adjust to the light better and diffuse the flash in a less harsh way than the automatic flash setting.
This photo was shot using my craft light. I think the light is a bit intense, but in a way, it brought out some unique qualities like the glitter on the bangle and the shininess of the tape. This was taken with my old point and shoot camera.
Backgrounds, Backgrounds, Backgrounds!
I can't stress enough how much difference a background can make! Just setting up some Walmart $1 fabric in the background or a simple/clean sheet of scrapbook paper that doesn't distract from your piece will make your piece pop to the extreme. I love finding backgrounds with a little shimmer/texture/additional interest. I've seen many photos of crafts taken on your carpet or dirty kitchen table. This isn't a good way to present your work (esp. if you're trying to sell it on Etsy or the sort). If it comes down to it, and you have limited resources, shoot in on a plain surface like a posterboard. It's much better than a cluttered backdrop!
In this photo (again taken with my point and shoot), I simply shot it on my red couch. Furniture and clothing make great photo surfaces!
Photoshop is your best friend
I will admit that I have more Photoshop experience being a graphic designer and all; however, with the availabity of it (you can get Photoshop Elements for under $100) and the vast amount of tutorials on the web, there are plenty of ways that you can learn the art of photo editing. And by photo editing, I'm not talking about wild and crazy stuff...most of my edits are simple things like brightening up my image (in Photoshop I like to create a duplicate layer of my background layer and set it's layer style to screen effect as well as boost the brightness, contrast, and saturation). Another way to enhance your photos is to create a soft and natural vignette (using my airbrush tool) around the image to give the photo more moodiness. This can be seen here (also notice the scrapbook paper background).
Hope you found this post helpful. I have a few more photo tips up my sleeve that I'll share at a later point!
Until next time Swellions!