I have not done any crafting for 5 days now (as I write this at least a week ago now!) and my fingers are itching. To be honest I am getting very jumpy. However, I am busy on something else. It is to do with crafting but not creative (yet). I am more than aware that my photographs vary greatly. Some are ok and others have much to be desired. I do not mention the bad ones as I believe it is obvious but I do intend to improve!
I knew enough to know about light boxes and so created this little ‘studio’ in my house:
My Light sheet!!!
As you can see it is simply a chair covered with a white cot sheet placed in front of the patio doors. It worked ok for some photos but I still need a lot more practice. For Christmas I asked for and got this book:
It comes highly recommended from other crafters and I can certainly see why. Here begins my learning journey:
Step 1: Try to read the first few chapters mindfully. (My instinct being to skim it as fast as possible to move onto the next thing.)
Step 2: Umm (I am a bit embarrassed about this) read the manual to the camera. Not the most interesting material ever but thanks to the book some of it actually made sense to me and I even made some notes!! (Yep I read almost all of the 160 pages!!)
Step 3: Familiarise yourself with how the settings and functions are accessed on the actual camera. What does each button do?
Step 4: Do a bit of research. I spent a whole evening having a look at photographs of jewellery on etsy, Ravelry and Craftsy to see the kind of style I like. The book talks about the story you are telling by the photographs. Will you dress it up with props? What about the background colour?
On a bust to show the scale?
On a simple background?
- With a prop?
This all needs to be considered apparently. Having spent some time looking at examples I think that I prefer simple, clutter free photographs on a pretty white cloth as a back drop. I also like close up views.
Step 5: After returning to the book again for a quick refresh (I really do not find all the technical terms that easy to retain!) I then had a play – I took loads of photographs with different settings so that I can compare them to find the optimum setting for my purpose.
I took 116 photographs in total! No wonder I got a bit tired! In case you are wondering, I did write down the settings I used on each one so that I will be able to replicate it again. (How organised am I?) 🙂
Step 6 :Look at all the photographs, deleting the ones that REALLY do not work (and there are some of those I can assure you.) So what am I looking for? Basically the photographs that show the best clarity and the best colour match.
As I liked the photographs taken on a pretty white cloth this is what I did the majority of the photographs on. At the end I tried a few different backgrounds. For each variable I took a photograph of three contrasting items I had made (the same three each time.)
A wire choker
A chunky beaded cuff
A delicate beaded and wire necklace.
(The above photographs are the ones taken before this process started!) I thought that these three items are a good representation across the styles I produce.
The worst are the ones I did under manual setting:
Would you believe this is one of the better ones of my bad ones? Some were just black!!
Apparently I got the ISO level wrong in these – lesson learnt: keep to the automatic setting for this 🙂
To be honest the amount of the other photographs were quite overwhelming with only small differences between them. The other thing that I did find easy was the surface to use. I did not like the white cloth that I used as it is far too fussy:
See what I mean?
The plain white background was good for this:
But not so great for this:
Especially when compared to this:
The one sure decision that I have regarding the photographs that I took was that for the front photo of each item the grey tile is the background I shall be using as it shows the stitching detail off really well.
Do you agree? What experiences have you had with photographing your work? What works for you?