Monday, September 19, 2011

Photo Tips

Let me first say that, I am far from an expert at this photography stuff. In fact, I've yet to stray from the automatic settings on my new camera. I'd love to learn but I just haven't found the resources or the time yet. But, I have come to learn a few things when it comes to getting good pictures for my blog. Of course, everyone has their own style and you can take my advice with a grain of salt (: 

Pictures, in my opinion, are the most important aspect of your blog. We're all guilty of visiting a site and just scrolling through the pictures, neglecting to read any of the actual post. Your pictures are your visitor's first impression of your site. So often I'll come across a blog with great ideas and tutorials and yet, they sell themselves short with a lack of photos or photo quality.

So let's go though some of the basics!

1. Camera

No, I don't think you need a DSLR to get great pictures. My first few tutorials/posts were all shot with my regular old digital camera. Read more about that hereBut, yes it does help. For me, upgrading cameras helped give me the crisp shot that I tried so hard to get with my older camera. It would take 5 or more shots before I got what I was looking for. With my Canon I can get it the first try. 

In case you're wondering, I use a Canon EOS Rebel T2i and I love it!

2. Lighting

I learned pretty quickly day pictures far exceed night pictures. Your pictures won't be as clear and will have a yellow un-natural look to them. Sometimes the only time you have to create is at night, and that's totally understandable, especially if your a mom. For me though, I try my best to stick to taking photos during the day. 

Here's an example of  a night shot:

and a day shot: 

3. Background

I like to change my background up from time to time but, most often I like to use a clean, white background. It keeps you focused on the subject and gives a great contrast. 

Two white, foam poster boards propped together by a window and you've got yourself a little photo studio. 

Face your subject towards the light 

and snap away. 

Another background you may have spotted in my photos  (and in my header)  is this wooden board. Funny, actually this board was used in my older sister's science project years ago. It's been on our back porch baking in the heat for who knows how long, until I spotted it and gave it a new life!

Look at all that lovely texture. 

Here it is in use:

This one I don't use quite as often but it's definitely another great option. This chalkboard oil cloth is leftover from a failed place mats project.

It's a neat effect if you want words/numbers in the shot

or just some pretty designs. 

One other that I've been growing to like more and more is my bed spread. Some of you have asked about it. I wish I could take credit for making it but it's actually from the creative people at Anthropologie. 

 4. Editing

Editing is another hugely important aspect of taking good photos. You don't have to have fancy software. I  do all the editing for my pictures in Iphoto and when I want to add text in Picasa. Picnik is another great, free option for adding text to your pictures. 

Generally I like to increase exposure, contrast, and definition. 

Here's the unedited version of this photo:

And after tweaking with it a bit: 

5. Modeling

I am not a model. I'm super awkward and I always feel silly posing for the camera by myself. Unfortunatley, it's a necessity if I want to show my creations off the hanger. I find if I take alot of pictures and I do mean alot, that I'll get a few decent shots that I can work with. 

Just in case you think I'm kidding. Here are some of the gems we've captured:

Care to share any of your favorite photo tips?
 I'd love to hear them!


Unknown said...

That board has been baking since the fall of 2006.

Happy in red said...

Okay, it's official: you're a genius :-) Thanx for your tips!! They're great! Love the backgrounds you use. My photo taking tip: your light at a 30-45 degree is the best light.
Have a great week!

SewSweetTV said...

Far from model material? You're precious!! Unforunately I'm one of those "night picture" takers..dang. But LOVE the background tips!

Rachel Sayumi Porter said...

Great tips!!! I love all the different backgrounds. You are so cute and creative (:


Janny said...

Thanks so much for the tips! It's always good to see other people's tricks. I always try to keep the photo focused on one of the 4 corners.

Katie said...

I disagree with editing being an important part (especially with taking, since it's done after you take the phone). If you use available light correctly, you will not need to edit. It takes practice, but I feel developing a good eye is the most important thing when taking photos.

Lish @ Imprintalish said...

Great tips...I hate looking at yucky photos! I am all about the visuals :D

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips, especially those background ones. I was expecting to have to buy some expensive products for that! :)

Caitlin said...

Ok- you are so cool. I am just getting into sewing now, and all of your projects are so inspiring and beautiful! I hope I am hoping to maybe try a couple, especially the shirt dress and of course, link back to your awesome blog!


ChelsCheesecake said...

Thanks for the tips! Very helpful!

Tanya said...

Those are great tips. I can use all the help I can get. I am pinning this.

tousled day said...

Tnx for shareing this. They are helpfull. You won't mind if I mention your's tips in on my blog tommorow?

Unknown said...

So helpful! Thanks so much!! I think your outtakes are cute!!

KnightMare said...

Great post. I agree with you that photos are such an important part of the blogs. But I do have to say that taking them does annoy me from time to time.

I find that getting a uncluttered background is hard for me as a lot of my pictures are of unmovable objects :(

Eva said...

Thank you for the tips :)

Natasha said...

I came over from my girlish whims, and I love your photo tips! your mini photo studio was so ingenious!

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney said...

Great post!

Kim Herrington said...

These are wonderful tips! I've been overwhelmed with blogging lately and have contemplated taking a break. But these help with breaking it down. Life's been way to hectic lately.

mcd410x said...

Learning about white balance is a good place to start. It's especially helpful in low-light situations (sunsets, indoors -- the softer the light, the better the picture can be). In fact, the best times to shoot pictures are when the sun is low in the sky -- morning or evening bring out beautiful colors and shadows.

The best tip -- and you seem to already have learned this -- is to take LOTS of pictures. I usually get 1 keeper for every 20-25 pictures I take. I have a different goal, but the idea holds: The more snaps you make, the more good ones you take.

Good luck!

.Jessica. said...

Great tips! I never thought of using the white board for close up shots. Thanks for sharing.

Sweetaimee81 said...

omg lol isn't it the worst to try to model for your blog lol. I feel like such a dork sometimes. Or god bid I try to show someone something on my phone or camera and I have to weed through all those weird picture lol

Sarah said...

I have the same camera as you, I'm not a professional, and you are obviously pretty great with your camera, but my advice with the Canon would to experiment - don't be afraid to take some photos off of the automatic settings. I find thats when I get my best quality shots. :)

Jen said...

All your tips on blogging have helped so much! From starting a blog to taking photos, it is all so encouraging. Thanks so much!

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