More snow for us! Usually I take Odin and Ollie (our black Lab/Beagle mix) out for a morning walk, but lately it's been too cold and the sidewalks may as well not be there with the amount of snow on them. So instead, I've been taking the time to get thing's done around the house, work on commissions, and take on some tasks I've been putting off for a while. Today's task? To finally take some proper photos of the art for my site.
Let me start off by saying that I am NO photographer. I have taken an intro to Film Photography and a Digital Photography class while at NSCAD, and this did give me some good ideas to go by, but I do feel as though anyone can get the results I have without any formal training. These photos are not perfect, but it's a learning process that I'm sure I will get better at with time. Here is the method I went by, using what I had available to me:
As You can see I have developed a fantastic organization and cataloging system. NOT. Currently I have a plastic bin on wheels that rolls under the bed for my painting and print storage. This was the best solution I could come up with since the storage in our house is tapped out at the moment (Yay for Pre-Spring Cleaning!). Right now I have them all individually wrapped in clear cellophane for protection, but I really needed to take new photos so the cellophane had to come off!
First I found a simple white frame and used it to take photos of each piece in a more finished set up. I always like it when I see this in online stores since it really gives you a nice idea of what it can look like finished. Since I was going to photograph them in the frame, I needed to take the glass out so there wouldn't be a glare or reflection. I then propped the frame against the neutral grey walls of my living room for contrast and used our trunk/coffee table in the shot as a base. I could have easily hung the frame on the wall for the pictures, but I really liked the juxtaposition of the modern white frame against the rustic grain of the wooden trunk.
I have a Sony Cyber-shot AVCHD and used a tripod to stabilize the camera. This was necessary since I used the cameras Manual mode in order to get enough light in the shot without using the flash. Natural light is what I always use when taking pictures of my art; I would like to some day invest in a lighting set up, but for now this works just fine!
The day was overcast but there is ALOT of snow outside, so this helped to reflect the light into the large picture window in our living room. I also opened the door to the porch when I went to take the photo, so it was a quick process once I had each painting set up in the frame. I would not recommend doing this in the winter, and another reason why I think I need a lighting kit...
For the each of my product listings, I have the main image as a close up, and an image of the painting in a frame as the secondary image. After taking several shots of each piece, I selected the best images and used the online photo editing system PicMonkey. Many people think you need to have Photshop or another program that costs a lot of money; however there are many free programs you can use without even downloading them! Pixlr is another great photo editing programs you use online, and it has many of the same functions as Photoshop, such as magic wand, clone stamp, and the lasso.
PicMonkey has everything you need to make simple retouching changes on photos. For these images all I changed were the highlights, colour saturation and temperature. These are minor changes that need to be done to properly match the image to the actual painting since colours can be altered with the rooms lighting. Below is an image of the setting I used in my cameras Manual mode!
That's it! After (meticulously) editing each image, I simply uploaded them into the shop and they are now ready for sale! I hope this helped if anyone is looking for tips on taking product pictures. I know if can be frustrating, but once you have a formula that looks good you can breeze through it in no time!