Thursday, March 8, 2012

Photography Lessons

Let me start this post by saying I do not consider myself a photography expert, nor do I consider myself an expert in Gimp, but over the last year I have learned a great deal in terms of what makes a great picture for the internet and what doesn't.  I am still learning a lot myself, but let me give you a bit of a photo history of my photography learning curve. 

One of my earlier photo. 

The above photo isn't bad per see, but it isn't good either.  It's just well...blah.  When I posted this product to Etsy I posted what I got off the camera.  No photo editing, just point, shoot, upload, and pray for the best.  Then I decided I need to re-shoot this product in natural light.   That's what all the experts say at least, so I did.  And this was the result:
Natural Light Burp Cloth Set
Much better, right! But again not great and I uploaded straight from the camera.  Well maybe I went crazy and did a little photo editing.  Hold your horses here, I think I cropped the image!  In terms of product imaging this is much better, at least in my personal opinion.  I know, I know, I still need to work on the overall package, but I have a long way to go on that one.  If anyone wants to offer up some advice I'll gladly take it here!

Moving on...

Then we moved and I got a great new desk to photograph my products on. 
Car Seat Cover on Plain White Background
 But I still wasn't editing my photos and because of some of the lighting I was using I kept getting this yellowish hue to my photos.  Occasionally I got lucky like here:
Natural Light no Touchups Required
But this kind of photo doesn't come a long very often.  I also don't often have the luxury of photographing in natural light very often.  So most of my pictures were looking like the Car Seat Covers and I was anxious to post new products (remember my inventory push that wasn't very successful?) so up they went onto my Etsy Shop without much thought and editing beyond taking the pictures.

Now I have some time on my hands and I am getting a little better at Gimp.  For those of you unfamiliar, Gimp is a free software that while is similar to Photoshop has many additional capabilities.  I typically only use it for photo editing right now (someday maybe I'll use it for other things).  After playing with my product images a bit, I have discovered a few things.
  1. NEVER AGAIN will I post something without first editing it!
  2. It's easier than it looks.
  3. It does take some practice, but it's worth it in the end.
 Here is a before and after image to show you what I mean.


I didn't do a lot of editing, but I at least cleaned up the dark hint associated with the image, which brightened everything up quite a bit.  The second set I cropped some.  And more importantly, I figured out how to add a watermark to my images to if someone decides they want to use my images somewhere, Stitch Silly is plastered on my image. 

I still have a lot of improvement on the actual composition ahead of me, but I think this is a great start for editing once I've taken the picture. 

Look for a few tutorials walking you some of these techniques.  Hopefully, I will demystify Gimp and photo editing for you just a bit.  Who knows we maybe able to help each other out just a bit

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