After snapping a few photos of my works in progress with my phone, it was time for the glam shot. These days phones can take great photos, but I’m still a fan of my nice, big DSLR (digital single-lens reflex).
There are a few photography tricks than can take any handmade project and make it look like a professional product.
- Get outside. The odds that you have a professional photo studio in your home are slim. The lights you have in your house aren’t very bright compared to studio lights and tend to cast a yellow pallor along with heavy shadows. If you can take your photos outside on an overcast day, you’ll be happier with the outcome. While a bright sun is great for getting a tan it—like the lights inside—can cast unwanted shadows. A fully clouded sky diffuses light giving you even coverage while still being bright enough.
- Get close. If you have digital zoom on your camera, don’t use it. Digital zoom only takes what your camera can do and artificially increases the size of the photo. You’ll end up with blurry, grainy photos. Instead, frame your shot and get as close to your subject as your camera will allow while still able to focus. You shouldn’t have to do much cropping after the fact.
- Get multiples. Take more photos than you’ll think you need. Since everything has gone digital, there are no longer exorbitant costs involved in taking extra shots. Go nuts if you want. The more you take, the more you’ll have to chose from in the end.
- Get software. There is free photo editing software out there. You don’t have to be a computer genius to figure it out. I’ve used Photoscape in the past with good results. Simple things like colour correcting and adding a bit of saturation and contrast can take a good product photo and make it a great one.
- Get creative. There are no rules when it comes to taking photos of your own projects. Try different ways of displaying your work so that you can present it in the best way possible. Avoid adding unnecessary items that clutter a photo, but go ahead and use props that help to enhance your product.
Above all, have fun! I spent an hour or so outside yesterday playing with my camera and my most recent projects. My background was the old backyard fence and, to hang my wraps, I used twine and an empty wrapping paper tube. A simple setup can go a long way!