Because pictures are so vital in selling anything online or in a catalog, I'm always trying to improve mine... or I'm always thinking in the back of my mind that I need to improve mine. :) Some days I will take some pictures and they turn out great, but then on another day I can't get a single good one. The frustration has pushed me over the edge!
I decided to learn more about taking professional looking pictures, specifically close up, or macro, shots. At first I was a little daunted, as I don't know much about aperture, composition, white balance or any number of other photography terms. I have a point and shoot digital camera, and am not interested in spending obscene amounts of money on a fancy camera and equipment. I was happy to find that there are some very effective techniques that are also inexpensive. Inexpensive makes me happy. And so does effective.
Ok, so you need a camera. Most, but not all, point and shoots have a macro setting, which allows you to take very close up pictures. If you are in the market for a new camera, definitely find one with a macro setting! If you already have a camera, and it doesn't have macro, don't despair. You've just got to be sure to use a tripod to get nice, clear pictures that will still look good after you crop them... More of that next week... Other than that, if you know few helpful hints, the auto setting works great!
|This is my camera, a Canon Elph, and I love it.|
Lighting is a biggie. Natural light is the easiest, and it's free! I've got a window in my house that I like to take pictures by, especially in the morning. It faces kind of southwest, so mornings are good for the light because at that time of day there is no direct sunlight coming in. Going right outside also works great, either in the shade or on an overcast day. You want to avoid both direct sunlight and a flash; the goal is bright diffused lighting.
There are other ways to get good lighting, of which I am not an expert. You can use a light tent and some lights, which gives you a lot of control of the brightness and direction of the light, and also allows you to get that smooth seamless background that looks so classy. The Table Top Studio Store has all the fancy-schmancy photo equipment you could ever want, and it also has some very helpful (and free!) tips and instructions for taking great pictures. You could learn more about professional photography there than what I can tell you. But, they won't tell you this: How to make your own light tent for $10 or less. But This Guy can! He's got some very simple instructions for a DIY light tent that will cost you $10 only if you're a big spender, but probably less than $5.
|Commercial light tent|
My son has one of these commercial light tents and it's great. You could find one for under $50 (without the lights), and you'd have a nice, durable and portable tent that will last you a long time, no hassle.
|The Stobist DIY macro photo studio|
Or, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, this one works just as well, plus it has the added feature of the side flaps for more light control. A bit more fragile maybe. Click on the above link for instructions. Either choice is a good investment, in my opinion.
Alright, I'm going to play around with my camera and the lighting (and hopefully you will too) and be back next week with some pictures, and more tips I've found helpful! If you've got advice or questions I'd love to hear them!