Blog dog wants to know: are your photos adding to the reader’s experience? Are they well-lit, brightly colored, and include details? If not, read on!
I’m going to share my tricks for better photos, without complicated photo editing programs. I personally use Picasa to edit most of my photos. It’s free, and very easy to use. You can also use an online photo editor such as Picnik or Photobucket. Whatever you choose to use, these tips will help you show off your artwork at its best.
First, let’s set up your “studio.”
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to take your photos using natural light. Choose a spot that gets natural indirect light. Indirect is important, you don’t want a sunny spot. Today it’s overcast outside, so I set up very close to my sliding glass door. I often use my kitchen counter near a large window, today it’s a little too dark in that spot so I am using the floor. If the sun were shining brightly today, I would need to move my set-up a bit farther back, so the light does not shine directly onto my paper. You should have soft shadows and even lighting when the light is indirect.
I use a large piece of posterboard as a seamless background. I taped the top of the posterboard to a chair rung. Sometimes I can just prop it up. You can also choose a different color background, I sometimes use black.
Turn off your flash and take a few shots from slightly different angles.
I like the last one best.
Next step, sprucing it up with photo editing. First, use your crop tool to remove the unnecessary background. You want your artwork to stand out, so crop in nice and close.
If you’re using Picasa, there’s a cool feature – the “I’m feeling Lucky” button. It will auto-adjust several aspects of your photo. I usually start with that. Sometimes it works great, other times not so much. With this photo, it works pretty well (below). The color is more vibrant and the photo is lighter, with just a single click.
Don’t be afraid to add more light to your photo. Most photos look better when they are almost overexposed. I used the slider bar options to increase the Highlights. If it starts to look too flat and washed out, use the Shadows feature to deepen the shadows.
See those little specks of stray glitter near the third flower from the right, in the white areas? Use the retouch tool to remove them (below). Just a few clicks and you can clean up little boo-boos and smudges. Don’t expect major photo retouching, but it’s a great option to clean up stray embossing powder and dirt specks.
Lastly, use the Text tool to add your name and blog address (below). Don’t be afraid to watermark your art. It’s a good idea to protect your artwork from appearing on other’s blogs without credit, and it’s also helpful for readers who like to save photos and forget who the artist is. I typed my name and blog address in black, then used the transparency slider tool to make it blend into the background a bit so it’s not too bold.
So, that’s it. About 3 minutes of photo editing will really make your photos pop! Compare the pictures side-by-side.