The truth about my photography skills...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I don't have any...

Hi Everyone,

It's true I don't have any photography skills. I can fake it for taking pictures of fabric bundles when there is a the right light (which is most of the time... Thank you California) But honestly I need to take a photography class because artful photography is not my forte! What brought this up? I remember something I made ... I had to go look up when I made it... March of last year :

This is about as artsy as my photography gets. I had no idea at the time how popular this color scheme was going to be this year. When I was first putting it together the tangerine pluses were going to be red but I saw the tangerine on the shelf and couldn't help myself. I had to change it. Believe it or not there are 20 different colors of teal in there...

So back to photography...  I really need to take a class... what are your best tips on artful photography? what setting should I use on my camera to take a good sunshine picture without getting it all washed out? I have a good camera a DSLR and I have messed with the f-stop and stuff so ... I can take it... :)  
20 comments on "The truth about my photography skills..."
  1. So much teal - truly droolworthy. I'm a sucker for teal. Not too adapt at taking good pictures myself, so no tips from me. Convinced you can do it, though! :)

  2. I just bought a camera a month ago. I learned A LOT from a few tutorials and only shoot in fully manual mode now! I still need to work on setting up a creative shot. But at least I have exposure down. Check this out on my blog... but maybe you are past these:

    Good luck!

  3. beautiful quilt. I take most photos on the aperture setting and then just play with the light setting and the aperture opening. I'm still learning, too

  4. The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum is a fabulous book. All of her information is geared toward crafters. She goes over all the basics of photography and composition, from a crafters perspective. I have the book. I've read it cover to cover. And I learned a lot from it.

  5. thanks Lynn for the recommendation on the book!
    Cute quilt there! (I use auto setting fully!)

  6. Sorry, no tips, I am purely a point and shoot kinda girl!

  7. I don't know from your post what you already know, but here are the things I look for (if you already know all of this, just smile and nod!):

    I nearly always use the largest possible aperture, generally about f/4.5 depending on how much the lens is zoomed. That gives a smaller depth range in focus and looks more "artsy."

    I adjust the exposure by changing the shutter speed. Generally the minimum shutter speed that I can use when hand-holding the camera is 60. If I set the camera against a surface to steady it and just point it with my hands, I can go down to 30 or 45.

    My Nikon has an exposure indicator in the upper right corner that tests that lighting and shows me how bright to expect my picture based on the light that it detects. In daylight I keep it 1-2 stops below the indicated midpoint. My husband explained it to me this way - you are more likely to be able to recover information from too-dark pixels versus too-bright. So, if your picture is too dark, you can brighten it, but if it is too bright, there's not much you can do.

    After I take a picture, I check it on the display. White areas that are blown out and don't contain any color information show up on my display with a blinking red blob on them. For parts of the picture that are actually white, it is ok to have some of that, but too much is not good.

    Besides the camera settings, I have been trying to think more about how I arrange my quilts for pictures & compose the shots. Honestly I think this is more difficult to master than the camera itself.

    When you are in a hurry, you just want to get some pictures into the camera so that you can move along. But, especially recently I have been having regrets about quilts that I didn't photograph or didn't photograph well before I gave them away. So, I am trying to remember that it is worth my time to do the best job I can with this part of my process as well.

    I like to have a dead-on picture of the front and back, making sure that the height of my camera when I take the picture is at the center of the quilt so that as much as possible it turns out rectangular-looking instead of trapezoidal.

    A lot of people do well with having someone hold the quilt for them, but my husband's patience with that is about 10% as much as my limited photography skills require. So, for small quilts, I use packing tape to just tape them to the side of my house. Works just fine when it's not windy!

    For larger quilts, I am still working on a process, but the best I've done so far is to use pants/skirt hangers (with the clips) along the top of the quilt, and then hang the hangers from our pergola thing. Also does not work when it's windy.

    Beyond that, I am just now starting to try more folded-up pictures as well. On anything big, you can't really see small-scale prints, quilting, and binding, so I am trying to take detail shots to show them as well.

    Anyway, sorry for my novel, but I am also working on this same thing. Let me know if you uncover any really good tips or books to read. I just ordered the Crafter's Guide that Lynn recommended.

  8. I"m no expert here so I think your photos are fabulous! I can see many different shades of teal--gorgeous! Also, your photos of fabrics in the shop are always appreciated!

  9. I was just makeing fun of my own photography (or lack there of) skills on my blog this morning!! Sorry Charlie! No help here! But I had to comment because it was funny!!

  10. Beautiful quilt and great photo!!

  11. I'm learning, but like Di, I use the Av setting a lot. That will draw in the most light and blur the background. Another good setting is the P setting because I don't have to tweak much. I know. I'm SOOOOO technical! Ha!

  12. Julie ~ I know everyone wants really amazing pictures of their quilts but my opinion is that unless you are creating a pattern cover then a picture like yours looks great. But, I know you're probably just like me with that perfectionist streak in just about anything you do. lol

    I'm sure you've heard of Pioneer Woman's blog and while much of her popularity is from all the awesome recipes, she has other topic pages within her blog. One of them is actually photography.
    Click this link to get to that part of her blog then once there you will see across the darker purple area there are other links within her photography of them is entitled "photography" and in hovering over that one you will be able to choose from a few different topics which I am sure will help you. She's also got help using Photoshop as well if you have that program.

    Hopefully this will help you. I do know how you are feeling in trying to learn how to take better pictures and/or how to use all those manual settings on your camera. I have an expensive camera myself that's a twin to my husband's camera. He shoots in RAW and has an impressive flash 'thing' that fits onto the shoe on top of his camera with a remote control for that and fancy white balance stuff he does to check that which REALLY does make a huge difference in a picture. (the white balance thing is just a small plastic card you hold up to take a test picture and then change the settings when processing the pictures which adjusts the white balance in the pictures taken outside and inside too but he uses that mostly outside. Just reading how to do that could make a huge difference in your pictures. Me? I am still using mine in Auto so don't ask me anything. ha

    Good luck. Ree does type her information mostly in an easy to understand language unlike some of the books I've read about taking pictures which are written more to a person who already KNOWS it all which makes no sense to me.

  13. Check out this post from Amy of Amy's Creative Side- it's pretty good about how to stage a quilt shot...

  14. My biggest tip for taking photos of quilts is to not take them in sunlight. Find some bright shade (so when it's sunny out, but there is a shaded area) and take the photo there. It makes there be less of a difference between the lightest area and the darkest area. Our eyes are much more sensitive to this than cameras are, so you are less likely to end up with photos that have washed out areas or totally dark areas if you go for bright shade. :)

  15. I have no photo taking tips for you. I'm still trying to figure out the whole process myself. Your quilt is gorgeous though and I think that is a great picture of it!!!!

  16. I can't give you any tips on photography, but I can give you loads of compliments on that quilt. I love it!!!

  17. Believe it or not I have been taking a lot of photos with the iPhone sometimes they are better than the expensive camera that I have.

  18. I don't know much about photography, my husband, who has a photography shop on Etsy, is our photo-taker (in fact we are having a giveaway of one of his photos on our blog right now). All I know is that for our vintage shop items, he like to take the pics in filtered light, not in direct sunlight, so by a window, under a tree, etc..
    Sorry I'm not much help :(
    Beautiful quilt!!

  19. My biggest challenge here is lighting. I almost always have my camera on the shutter priority setting - let's face it we have more rain than we do sun in WA. As far as recommendations go, I would play with your aperture settings and I would also work on the staging of quilts - that is where I struggle...mostly because I don't have any artsy furniture and my backyard is a very much a work in progress.

  20. I suggest that you practice daily, as often as possible. Always bring your camera with you, at anytime of the day when you go out. You'll never know when you're going to take some good pictures.

    Also, try joining a monthly photo contest. Showcasing your works and hearing people appreciate it is just as rewarding as winning a photography award.


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