Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can You Picture This? (Part One)

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!


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am always trying to make my photos better too. It sure is a learning process.


  2. Hi,visiting from the Thrifty Thursday blog hop. I'm now following your blog. I would love if you could return the favor.

    Thank you.

  3. Thanks for stopping by and following. Nice job on the pictures. Following back:)


  4. Great post! I'm in the market for a camera!

    Thanks for hopping by my blog! I'm happily returning the follow!

  5. You can pick up one of those pop up professional light tents on ebay for quite a bit less than $50.
    I only know that because I've been trying to convince myself to splash out and buy one for ages.

  6. Hi,thanks for stopping by and following. Returning the favor...

  7. Thank you for visiting & following. I’m a now a follower of yours, too.
    If you're interested in hops, check a page on my site that lists more than 200 hops… some for each day of the week. Check under the header for the link to that page. I’ve also got a BlogFrog community that focuses on hops, carnivals, and memes. Go to to visit & participate.
    I hope you’ll visit me soon and follow back!

  8. Keep the photo tips coming, I can use all the help I can get! I'm a new follower from Thrifty Thursday blog hop.

  9. Hi, thank you for following, I'm stopping by to gladly return the follow. Your blog is so cute, and I love the name!

    Hope you have a great day!


  10. Great tips. That is all I hate about blogging is the pictures I post. Never happy with them.

    I'm following you back. Thanks for visiting me over at Pittypat Paperie. Hope you drop by again Ÿ

  11. oh goodness! you should see me! i go outside with a bent posterboard and lean it against my husbands garden chest. It is by far, professional lol but hey it works and there is natural light! ab to check out the diy!

  12. Hi,visiting and following you back. Thank you

  13. Dear Alisa

    Thanks for joining me at Create With Joy. I'm delighted to follow you back!

    This week, we're discussing EXCELLENCE at my blog. Please come and share your talents with us!


  14. Thank you for coming over to my blog and following:) I love your jewelry and this post on taking great pictures !!! So helpful:) Following back:)
    Hope you have a great Friday and Weekend:)

  15. Hi Alisa, Thank you for stopping by and following. I got a chance to look at your etsy shop and your jewelry is. I'm a new follower.

  16. Thanks for visiting my blog - I'm following you back:) Great photography tips too - I got a Light Scoop tool for my camera and it's made a huge improvement in my photos.

  17. I am your newest GFC follower from the hop, would love it if you dropped by my blog at WV Stitcher . Have a fantastic weekend!

  18. Great tips! I am always exploring through photography, too. So much fun!
    I'm following you back now. Thanks for the visit!
    I have a blog hop called Memory Mondays that I hope you can come join sometime! I consider it a good way to start off the week.. taking a stroll down memory lane to something that we are excited to remember and share! Although I will admit that I'm a little bias. =) Hope to see you there!
    Kelsi @