Monday, September 20, 2010

Photographing Your Work!

What's the point in making something awesome if you can't really show it off in a photo! Right? Now, I'm no pro and it was a VERY short time ago that my photos were considerably bad...I didn't know they were bad of course lol I thought they were OK :) But looking back, the difference is amazing between my new and old photos. If you're already taking great photos and are happy with the results, turn around, don't go farther, this is not for you! This is for the beginner who needs help and wants help and doesn't have a ton of $ for professional equipment. I use a lightbox, yes, but it is crude....and it was cheap! My set up is not perfect and hopefully the day will come when I have better stuff to work with, but I'm getting the job done I think.


The Lightbox
Like I said...it is crude. It's a box that I've removed the top and front panels from. I lined the interior walls with the matte side of some poster board (matte surfaces reflect more light!) and stretched a cheap cotton curtain across the top. The curtain diffuses the light (avoids a lot of the shine!) that will come down from the top, it was something I had in the house and would never use again, I bet you can find something similar. A real light box would have diffusing sides as well and light coming in from all directions, for someone who was inclined that could be done with a homemade PVC frame...I'm just sayin' :) I'll probably do that soon lol Still gotta make some nice covers for my tables :(

I use 3 lights, all lights that I already had, all florescent. I put them as close to the curtain as I can so I get as much light as possible from them. 

Now you need props!
I sponged some paint onto a piece of poster board to use as my background, although I see now that the paint doesn't really show up. I position it so I don't have any edge of the box in my photos, you only see that piece of poster board. And you might want something to display you item on, that's a personal choice. If you do and you also pose for those one or two interesting shots, plan on spending some time playing with angles. Every item will have an angle it looks best from, so you have to find it.

The Camera
My camera is not expensive! And it has a big scratch on the lens to boot, I actually have to shoot around that! I use mostly auto settings on my camera. The exception being the white balance and exposure. I reset my white balance every time I take pics. If you notice your color is not quite right, get out your manual, you need to set your white balance manually, you will not be disappointed. The exposure, this is something I am really still playing with, I still have to edit my pics on the computer for that :( It is so easy when you're taking the pic to think the lighting is good, but in truth, it rarely is. Just play around with it, take the same pic with different levels of exposure then look at them on your computer, see which one really makes the piece pop....and which ones just look kind of dull. If you find you have to adjust exposure on your computer, be careful not to overdue that and try adding some contrast at the same time.

These are the things that really transformed my pics. One thing I was really stuck on using was a dark background. In my opinion it helped make the pieces pop because my pieces were dark....wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. A lighter background and good lighting are what make my new photos really pop. That and some totally awesome posing lol I hope this helps just one person. I know it was terribly frustrating for me to get from there to here, and time consuming! But it was worth it and will be for you, too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Where did the summer go?

So, super long time, no blog. I think if someone had the gumption I could easily be diagnosed as having ADD. Time management is not my thing and it takes a great deal of focus for me to get anything done these days! And, oh, if it isn't on the 'list'...it may or may not get attention. I have cleared some things from my plate, though. When I have large tasks on my plate, that really will stall anything getting done, I guess I feel overwhelmed. And clearing some thigns from the plate will always 'free' me to do things I want! Which is play in the clay these days :)

I did manage to make some new things, you may have seen them in my Etsy shop or on flickr, but here are some favorites :) I've made a few dragon's eye's now....and sold a few, too, which rocks! And have made quite a few dragonflies...and sold a few of those, too. Looking at the pics, most of these are sold so that rocks :)
So I need to get to work and make some more super cool things. Need to stay focused and really churn some work out. There is a well advertised street fair (Macfest) every Saturday from fall to spring in downtown Mesa that I hope to sell at....that I hope to sell a lot at lol I've stopped doing the 'free' one that was one friday a month after realizing the city wasn't really advertising the craft vendors, hence the free. People didn't even realize we were there most of the time and were not showing up wanting to shop! I did so well my first time there, fluke I guess. I think this starts in 2 weeks and I need new things!

Another place I'm planning to sell at, and this is a place others of you just starting out might want to check into, is at Cubits.org. Cubit's.org was created by Dave Whittinger, the founder of Dave's Garden, this is his new project that he started last winter after leaving Dave's Garden for good. To quote, it's a "Universe of Communities." It's completely free to come in and start up your own community. You can have forums, pages for info, publish articles, make databases, lots of other things, but Dave is currently working on a store module for use in the cubits and hopes to have it up and running by the end of the month. Like any shopping site there will be a fee, Dave has said what he thinks that will be but I won't post that info until the policy is written and made public.

So with that in mind I created a new cubit just for me to have a storefront there, Desert Rubble. And am beta testing the storefront features as they come along...I only have one item there now ;P I'll have to have unique stock for this store which means I REALLY need to get busy! But I have created a database, so if anyone wants a new place to put links to their blogs or shops please drop by and do so. You will have to join Cubits and my cubit...super easy, I swear, there's a 'join this cubit' button in the lower right hand side of the page on my cubit, it'll take you where you need to go and bring you right back. Once back, you'll see a 'Database' link on the right side, go there and click 'add new entry'. Here's the link to the database if you don't see it :)

So, I have the aviary clean, bird toys made, yard trimmed and weeded, it's already time to weed and trim yet again :( sigh, But I need to make some nice table covers (not my forte) and make new things to sell. At least the birds are taken care of, it's breeding season and little ones will be hatching soon! Am still planning an article on taking pics....maybe this week, we'll see. Anyways, it was good to pop in and say something :o) Thanks for visiting!