Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two Tips For Taking Better Photos

Since I'm currently doing a photography project on my blog, I thought it would be helpful to go over how I process my photos. There is a reason that some of the most-favorited projects on Ravelry are some of the best photos, and all it takes is an extra minute to set-up and process a picture to make it really pop. I don't promise to be an expert in this area, but these are two very simple things I do to really improve my photographs:
  1. Take photographs in natural light. Otherwise, learn to use your camera's white balance feature.

  2. Use photo editing software, such as Picassa (which is free and easy to use) to post-process all photos. In Picassa, I usually use the 'I'm feeling lucky' button and almost always increase the 'fill light' to make my photos really shine. 'Crop' and 'straighten' are also nice features.

Since I don't own the world's best camera (I use a decent point-and-click with an optical zoom), I find that a couple minutes work before and after I take the photos makes a huge difference. I've taken a couple pictures to show the improvement these small steps can make:

WHITE BALANCE

Photo taken in fluorescent lighting with no white balance, no editing

Photo taken in fluorescent lighting with white balance adjusted, no editing

If you take photos in natural light or use white balance in fluorescent lighting, you can avoid using your camera's flash. Flash is useful at times, but can do funny things to the depth of the photo. I generally try to avoid flash, whenever possible, and opt for natural light or white balance.

PHOTO EDITING

Photograph taken in natural light


Same photo using Picassa's 'I'm feeling lucky' feature and a smidge increase of 'fill light'

I can't say enough about increasing the fill light. This feature livens up colors and takes away heaviness in a photo. Adding the right amount of fill light makes it appear as if the picture was taken on a beautiful sunny day, which is always a good thing.

ONE MORE PIECE OF ADVICE

One other thing I do when I take photos for my blog is to take lots of shots from different angles and placements. The more photos I take, the more likely it is that one will be spectacular. Plus, using a digital camera means that you can delete all of the files that aren't any good.

I hope these tips help you improve your photographs. It doesn't take that much extra time to rejuvinate a picture and the results are definitely worth it.

A FEW OTHER REFERENCES

Etsy put together this nice video on how to take good photos. It's geared toward Etsy sellers, but the principles are the same.

Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod put together a very nice eBook on making a great blog, which has a good section on photography. It's not free, but also contains lots of valuable information on blogging.

2 comments:

DrChopSuey said...

Very interesting. Typically I just point, click and that's the one pic. I'll try out some of your tips for homework... thanks for the info!

Suzanne said...

I like your suggestions a lot! Thanks for sharing the value of fill light.