When I first started blogging, I didn’t mess much with the photos. I was in a hurry. Pics and posts took ALOT of time that I didn’t have.
My decorating ideas have some merit, but when my artist friend paid me a personal visit to my home, he pointed out that I wasn’t showing my work to it’s fullest advantage. That my photos didn’t do ANY of my work justice.
And it wasn’t that they were bad shots per say. However, I didn’t tweak them to enhance them.
I personally load all my digital pics into Picasa, a free software editing program. His option is that it isn’t enough for REALLY good pictures to represent your work. And then he pointed out why. Yellow castings in dimly lit rooms, out of focus shots… you can change all this with Picasa, but Photoshop is simply a major professional step up.
I’ll be honest. I’m still using Picasa but will soon morph into photo shop land. But that’s because, I’ve now surpassed what Picasa has to offer. When you know you’ve reached the limit to something, you know you are growing!
Good photos don’t completely rely on tweaks though. Consider some of these other tips that I utilize each time I snap.
1. Care about good photos
I know. I’m busy too. But honestly, when I blog browse and the photos are dark or lousy, I scroll through the post very quickly. Photos truly inspire. And if we don’t like what we’re looking at, we aren’t likely to be inspired or even LIKE the project.
2. Try different angles.
Don’t stop at one attempt. Take a few. Some shots need to be straight on. Some on an angle. Some taken on your knees. And then crop them before posting. Always crop them. I took this bench photo about 5 times and only kept this one.I then cropped, straightened, brightened, and added blue to an otherwise grey sky. Crazy, eh?
3. Get on your knees.
Did you know that if you take a photo lower to the ground, your object seems larger? Try it outside. Get down on your knees, and the sky becomes your background, not your neighbour’s shed.
4. Pay attention to your background.
See #3. Plus keep trying angles with your background in mind. If possible indoors, move stuff around to help enhance your current photo. Trust me. I do it all the time. I took this shot about 6 times. On another angle I kept getting the patio in the background with my laundry flapping in the breeze.
5. Would you buy that painting?
Think in terms of your picture being inside a frame in a store. Would you buy it? If not, try again. With the right angle and depending on how close you get, anything can look amazing. Pretend you are drawing your objects in. This pic was saturated with colour, then a haze added to cast a dreamy glow.
6. Edit and enhance!
I was hard pressed to find a photo I kept that I didn’t enhance! A photo straight out of a camera is not a pretty thing. And oh my goodness, please sharpen and straighten up those photos! Some of mine come out so fuzzy and crooked! Start small and download Picasa and start playing. It only takes a few seconds to play with a photo. If you want to portray professionalism, do the work.
7. Get up close.
Getting close really shows more detail. Computer screens are small. Take in account how small your pics are that are being posted. Small screen, small pics, extra small viewing area. To show what you’re talking about, get right in there. And when you think you’re close enough, do it once more. Push it and see what happens. You can always back up again. In this pic I could have gotten much closer to show the detail on the hooks. My aim in this one was to simply capture the transition of closer to farther away in silhouette form. Figure out your goal, then implement it.
8. Enough lighting.
Interior pics always have a dark cast. But notice how professional photos never do? That’s because they use proper lighting casted in the direction of your object. Clicking on lights in your room or opening your windows is generally NOT enough. I at times bring in my lamp tree from the garage. You know, those ugly pole things with two bright hot lights on top. Also, try not to get a shot of your lights on in the pics. But if you do, replace the wattage for something lower. The bulb in this photo was too strong, therefore hard on the eyes. (photo was taken with a lamp tree in a dark room to help illustrate the lamp glow) IMPORTANT: finish tweaking your lighting in your software. EACH TIME. You will be stunned at the difference!
9. Watch those funky angles!
The hottest trick these days is to purposely take pics on an angle. I do it if it enhances the pic, capturing areas in the photo otherwise missed for the shot, or to simply add abit of mixed up interest in a shoot. But you can take it too far. You don’t want to feel like you’re falling off the side of a mountain. Gentle angles can work. Harsh angles annoy and make viewers dizzy. Easy does it!
10. Turn off the flash.
Turn it off and never use it again! Your colours will be soooo true! For proper lighting, see #8. At night may be a different story. While the fire provided a wonderful glow on it’s own, I did use a flashlight to light up the stick so it would show. But 99% of my photos are done with no flash.
Learning the settings on your camera and what they can do is also important. Read blogs that talk about photoshop and camera settings and learn about what your camera can actually do for you. I highly recommend set aside a part of your leisure time (haha good one eh?) and start on page one, and then experiement. Digital cameras are so fun to play with!
Having a good eye for photos indeed makes all the diff in the world too. However, anyone can improve from where they’re at with a bit of practice.
And my last bit of advice? Break all these rules and make up your own. Experiment. Have fun! But love what you see so others can appreciate it too!
Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts on all this? And please share if you have any tips on how we can all take better photos! I have ALOT to learn!