Create photos that match the mastery of your planning and crafting genius with our quick and easy guide
They say a picture paints a thousand words so you'll need to make sure that those words make one great story to get people to stop and pay attention. The first thing you need to know is that the creativity doesn't stop once you've finished your project. Think of the images you're taking as craft projects of their own, each with their own style, and with a few tips from us you'll be wanting to share your pics with the world.
Photography is all about lighting, literally - it derives from the Greek photos ("light") and graphe ("drawing"). The way a subject is lit for a photo can make or break a photo. Before we get into laying out your goodies to photograph you first need to find the perfect spot to setup . In terms of lighting you have two options; Natural or Studio.
Natural (daylight) lighting is using the natural lighting that is available to you. A nice big window or shooting in the shade should provide soft light as long as you are out of any direct rays. Natural lighting is great if you have it in abundance and it's easy to make it work to your advantage. The disadvantage is it doesn't last all day, and the colour changes depending on when or where you're shooting. If you're shooting at the end of the day the you may find your photos are more yellow, or shooting near grass and you may find your photos are a bit green.
Studio (artificial) lighting is great if you want complete control or aren't blessed with a lot natural light. Setting yourself up with good quality lighting will give you amazing consistency and be able to photograph at any time of day or night.
When you're dealing with lighting the first thing you need to realise is that lighting has a colour, or a white balance. The first thing you need to do when taking your photos is turning off your lights inside your home. They're not flattering, produce unwanted shadows and usually cast a yellow tone. Then you need to check the lights that you are using, if you're only using one light source you this step isn't too important but if you are using multiple light sources you'll want to make sure they have the same colour temperature.
The first thing you need to do when taking your photos is turning off your lights inside your home. They're not flattering, produce unwanted shadows and usually cast a yellow tone.
Once you've picked your lighting it's time to set it all up. The most flattering kind of light is side lighting with a soft shadow. Harsh lighting will take away from your project and you'll end up losing detail in the highlights and shadows.
With natural lighting this is relatively easy to achieve by placing your work surface adjacent to the window. To get a nice soft shadow grab the white foamcore and place it on the opposite side of your lighting. Use this to "bounce" the light back on to your project and reduce the shadows. Make sure to angle it to get the look right, this may take a few goes to get it just right.
If you're using artificial lights you have a few more options here on how you want to complete your setup. There are so many different lights on the market but some of the most popular include:
What would we recommend? Recently we've upgraded from natural light to a ring light and are loving our new setup.
Setup your lights so you're happy with how the shadows are falling on your project. If you feel that the shadows are too harsh, bounce some light back in with some white board or move your lights. To may take a few shots before you get your setup to work for you.
Now you have your lighting all ready it's time to get your project ready.
Every good story has a great scene set before delving into the main story. Books set the mood within the first few paragraphs, and the theatre has the stage set before the actors begin. The same is with a great photograph.
Set your background
Let's continue by adding some props. If you're going to dress up your image you'll first need to gather some props which help match the story you're about to tell. This may include items that were used in the creation of the project, items which match the colour tones used or any other type of complimentary items.
- Composition and framing (rule of thirds)
- Histograms and Lighting
While cameras and smart phones are doing amazing jobs of providing a perfect picture without any editing generally an image can always use a few touch ups even if you've created a great image. A few things that will help are:
Contrast: Many cameras, especially digital cameras, flatten out the image to get as much detail as possible in the image but it leaves for a pretty bland photo. A quick and simple way to make it pop is to increase the contrast. Just make sure you don't over do it. Look at your whites and blacks in the image, have you lost any details? If so drop the contrast by a touch.
Saturation:Sometimes images can look a little washed out and need a little extra colour.
Sharpening:Your last step should always be to add some sharpening. If you can zoom in on the photo take a quick check to see it's not too soft or jagged around the edges.
Remember with each of the above that sometimes less is more!
BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE FILTER THINGS?
Filters can be a wonderful thing but most of the time they get in the way of a wonderful image, especially if you're trying to show something off like a product and colours and clarity matter you might be best sticking with the simple edits mentioned above and laying off the filters.