Wednesday, March 21, 2012

homework: photography

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I posted about these embellished candles a few weeks ago and received some nice emails about the photography. This made me positively giddy because I struggle with photography on every post.

{The picture above of the Advent Apple was taken a few months back}

I had planned on devoting a post to what I’ve learned about photography in my short time blogging and had taken pictures of my setup the day I shot the candles.

I should start out by stating that I’m no way an expert. In fact, I’m truly a novice and learning everyday. Whenever I see a blog post about photography, I try to read it. Learning from other bloggers has been extremely valuable. However, not everything has worked for me. Some of the tips I’ve read may have been written for a better camera, or different lighting – it’s a mystery to me. So, because of that, my number rule is:

#1 – Take lots of pictures. Use different lighting, different backgrounds and surfaces. There’s nothing worse than finishing your shoot and uploading your photos to find they’re not right.

I use a simple Nikon Coolpix L100. Basically a point and shoot camera with a zoom lens. I almost always shoot on the close up setting not automatic. For me and for this camera I’ve found the photos are more in focus when I use this setting.

The photo above was taken outside in daylight. The crystal bowl is set on a white platter that reflects the light from the bowl and the natural elements.

I usually try to shoot a few projects at one time. As long as you are setting up a backdrop and have a nice bright day, you might as well shoot as many things as possible. I gather up props and create a giant mess on my dining room table. On this day, I had more props than normal because I was shooting three different candles and the little yarn sheep.

Have spare batteries on hand. Mine died halfway through this shoot and the backup rechargeable batteries weren’t charged. Luckily, I had plenty of regular AA batteries.

Here’s one area that I like to take pictures. It’ a bay window so I get a lot of light. I sometimes use a foam core board for a white background. This one is my son’s science fair board.

Another trick I learned along the way was to use tin foil to bounce light off of. You can cover cardboard with tinfoil or like me, use a cookie sheet with a piece of tinfoil wrapped around it. Depending on your lighting, you can use one on each side. You need to play around and see if you need more light, less light etc.

Here’s the shot from the photo shoot above. I was shooting very close up and the sheep and rabbit are on a white plate. The tin foil reflected light on the sheep and the white plate is slightly blurred. I was happy with how this shot came out. It’s a product shot for my Etsy Shop so I wanted to keep it simple.

Blog Blue Candles
Silver objects are hard to photograph. Take a lot of pictures from different angles because silver is like a mirror and depending on where you stand, you’ll end up reflected in the silver. I have some nice outtakes with my face and camera smack dab in the middle of the silver cup.

Copy of Blog Blue Candles-1
These pictures used the same setup as the sheep with the tin foil reflector. I like how the light is intense against the epsom salts in the votive. This is just a personal preference. I submit a lot of projects to sites such as CraftGawker and very rarely do they accept my photos. I would say, 9 out of 10 times my projects are rejected because of photo issues. A common rejection comment that I get is “lighting issues”. Oh well…

Blog Blue Candles_collage
It would be nice to have a fancy DSLR camera one day but in the meantime, I muddle through with my point and shoot. 

Thanks so much for visiting.



  1. Great idea about the tin foil. I will definitely be trying that out. I know what you mean about photography being the most difficult part of the blogging experience. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Thanks for the tips! It was really helpful to see how your photo shoots are set up.

  3. my favorite silver shots are always the craigslist photos with the naked guy reflected......yep, gotta be real careful ;-)

  4. Carolyn, I am always impressed by the photographs you post. Thanks for sharing your tips and experience.

  5. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who gets rejected by Craftgawker! I used to do pretty well, but I think they have really tightened their requirements. I just had one accepted for the first time in a long time!

  6. Thanks for sharing those tips! I'll have to try out the tin foil method. Photography is definitely the hardest part of blogging for me-- it takes a lot of time, lighting issues, etc. But sometimes it's good to have a challenge. Do you use photoshop as well?


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