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Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 Easy Tips For Great Product Photography

5 Easy Tips for Great Photos!
Craftsy instructor and amigurumi designer Stacey Trock shares five easy tips to take better pictures of your designs. An accomplished crochet designer, Stacey shares helpful tips for other pattern designers on her blog, FreshStitches.
If you’re like me, you’re a designer… and NOT a photographer! But, you still want to take nice photos of your completed projects for your blog or to share on Craftsy. Help is here! In this blog post, I’ll share 5 easy photography tips you can use to take lovely project photos, without lots of fancy equipment.
The most common misconception about taking nice photos is that you need to have a super-fancy camera to do so. But you don’t! You can take fabulous pictures with a point-and-shoot-camera and having a few tricks up your sleeve.
I use a GE Digital Camera, which cost about $100. Nothing fancy. And I don’t want to toot my own horn, but my photos come out alright!
So, what are these tips? Let’s get started!

Tip 1: Use Natural Light
I can’t say enough about the fabulous sun! To take beautiful photos, you want to find a well-lit area that’s not in direct sunlight.
For outside photos, this means picking a time of day that’s not noon (directly in the sun), or finding a day that’s slightly overcast. To grab this little bird photo, I snapped a picture on my porch.
For inside photos, I use a spot next to a window that has loads of light flooding through. I’m very lucky to have a fabulously positioned window in my studio… but some folks aren’t so lucky. If that’s you, then you might have to head outside to do your photos. It’s worth it!

Tip 2: Use White Posterboard for the 'Clean' Look
I used to think that I needed a photographer’s tent and all sorts of fancy equipment to get that fabulous white background, but now I know that you don’t!
I use a white piece of posterboard, propped up against a wooden box that I found by the side of the road.

Using the posterboard allows you to get a white background for photos like this ball of yarn.
Great, huh?

Tip 3: Get a Tripod
I said ‘no fancy equipment’… but you’ll want to spend the $20 on this guy! I have a Joby Gorillapod Tripod, which I absolutely love!
I love it for two reasons.
The first reason is that the Gorillapod is magnetic and has bendable arms, which means that I can stick it on a stop sign/pole and take self-portraits.
You see, my husband is pretty much never home when it’s daylight (see tip #1!), so I need to take photos of me all by myself. And don’t try to kid yourself… we can all tell when it’s one of those ‘I’m holding the camera 2 feet from my face and pretending it’s just a close-up’ photos. And, items like hats/scarves/sweaters really do look better when photographed on an actual person… so I think the Gorillapod is totally worth it!
But that’s not all! A tripod is also really useful in low lighting. When there isn’t a lot of light, the camera lens needs to stay open longer to get enough lighting… meaning that any shake of your hand will make a blurry photo. By having a tripod, you can be sure that the camera stays still, and take photos even when your natural light is fading.

Tip 4: Take Lots of Photos!
A month or so ago, I snapped a great photo of my friend’s dog and an owl I crocheted.
(Now, I know I’m not about to become the world’s next best pet photographer, but bear with me… I have a point.)
My friend was so amazed! She asked, ‘How did you get him to sit still like that?’
And my answer was: I didn’t. I just took oodles of photos until I got a good one!
A lot of people seem to think that a photographer snaps the perfect picture and carries on their merry way. When, in reality, even professional photographers take tons of photos, and only later pick out the best ones. So, do the same thing… take a ton, and weed through them later. It increases your chance of catching that perfect shot!

Tip 5: Edit your Photos
Photoshop isn’t a bad word. It’s totally okay to edit your photos after you’ve taken them!
I know Photoshop is expensive, and Picnik (a free online editor) is being discontinued… but fear not! There’s a new free online photo editor on the scene that allows you to do all the edits you could practically want.
It’s called PicMonkey, and it allows you to crop and resize photos as well as adjust exposure and color balance.
I edit almost every photo I take. Even when I take a photo on my white posterboard, I often have to up the exposure a little bit to get it to a true white. Or, in the case of the dog photo (above), I snapped a great picture, but had to crop it so you wouldn’t see the garbage cans on the side.
It’s free, only takes a few minutes and turns your pictures from ‘nice’ into ‘wow’… so try a little editing!

Give it a Try!
I’d love to hear if you do any of these tips already, or if you’re giving one a try today! I hope to have convinced you that you don’t need fancy lights or a thousand dollar camera to take great project photos!
For more great tips on photography, running a craft business, marketing, and more, be sure to check out Stacey's blogFreshStitches! You can also see Stacey in her two Craftsy classes,Amigurumi: Woodland Animals and Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster.

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