What are your “Tips and Tricks” regarding photographing your projects?
Original Blog Posting
Last week, I asked you how much effort you put into the photos of your projects. To respond, the options were:
1) I just “get ‘er done” … snap, snap, snap
2) I at least clean off the workbench before taking the photo—I try to take a good, clear, uncluttered photo
3) I go all out – I plan the background for the photo, I get the perfect lighting – I want my projects AND photos to look as professional as possible
All options (and any in between answers) are acceptable – it is your project after all. But I started thinking: is there a way to optimize each of those three options?Get ‘er done
At the one end of the spectrum is the “just get ‘er done” process. Just take a picture. “I’m not a photographer, I’m a woodworker”. Totally understandable. So while you are snapping those pictures, remember:
- blurry photos aren’t good – so don’t get too close (most cameras won’t focus correctly when they are “up close and personal”) and hold your hand steady when you are pressing the shutter button. If you don’t think you have a steady hand when it comes to cameras, put the camera on a table or piece of equipment to stabilize it.
- dark photos don’t show off all of your hard work – turn the lights on but not “behind” the project or you will just get a silhouette and that’s for the “I go all out” type of photos.
- show us your pride and joy – take photos of the corners, the back, the underneath, the hand-cut dovetails. Remember, you can post 6 photos in the project section, so six different angles would be great
Up from the “get ‘er done” level of level and effort is the “I try to take a good photo.” So what are some things to think about (beyond those listed above)?
- clutter – a non-cluttered background for your project is the key to this level of photography. If possible, move the project to a location where there will not be shop equipment and wood scraps sneaking into the photograph. Or, if you don’t want to move the creation, hang a cloth behind your work to hide everything and anything that might distract the viewer. For small projects, a light box is another tool to use – blocking off the outside world from all sides and creating the perfect lighting for your photos.
If you put this much effort into your photographs, you don’t need any tips, but for those “I try” individuals who would like to take their photos to a new level, here are some ideas:
- set the mood: Fit the environment to the project. Ex. If you have created something for the cottage, photograph the project on the beach.
- adding without cluttering: (this goes along with the above idea). Are their things that will be used with or alongside your project? Put them in the photo to help tell the story. (Ex. set a knife and a sliced apple on top of a cutting board, or place a handmade pen on top of writing paper)
- create perspective and focus: use the camera to get up close and personal with some element of your project and let the rest drift off into the distance; show us the wood grain, the edges, the joinery
- mood with lighting: use the light (and shadows) to enhance the beauty of your project and to highlight it
- simple is better: remember not to get carried away with the setting and lighting. The focus should be on the project. Everything you do, regarding the photographic process, should enhance your project.
Those are some of my ideas—what other tips (or questions) do you have?
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)