Sunday, April 14, 2013

the answer is light

A friend recently started an Etsy account to sell vintage housewares and has asked me to help her get started. She wants to know how i get my photos to look good, so A. this post is for you.
I could spend paragraphs talking about staging and height and props; in fact, i have so here is the link to that post.
The most important thing to know, in fact probably the only thing you really need to know, is that the answer is light.
 Light is everything.
Finding the right location with the right light at the right time of day is hard, but once you do everything else is a cinch.
My first shoot for Etsy took hours and hours and days. Some things i shot at 3 or 4 different times. It seemed like it took forever to find the right combination, but now that i have, the actual photography takes almost no time at all.
Now all i have to do is wait for the correct conditions. If light is the number one answer, patience is number two. Be ready to wait. These three pictures were taken 4 minutes apart:
too dark

too much sun

ahhhhh... just right
On Etsy you are allowed up to 5 pictures per item so i will take anywhere from 15 to 30 snaps to edit them down to the ones i want.  It is a personal choice that i will not correct, filter or use any effects on my Etsy pictures; every picture on my site is straight out of camera. I do crop them square because that is the format Etsy uses, but it is important to me that customers see exactly what they are buying. I'd rather spend the time going though hundreds of pics to find the right one than spend the time correcting a not-quite right one. But as i said, it is a personal choice.
Be sure as you are taking all those pics that you are changing your angles, perspective and distance. You don't want 30 pics of the same thing, but rather full shots, close-ups, up shots, down shots and even some crazy shots.
As for the question of shooting indoors and using non-natural light, well... good luck to you. I did a bunch of my card pictures indoors and the lighting was too frustrating. I would rather wait for a sunny day then play with white boxes and spots. Some people do really well inside, but not me.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. Don't get discouraged, it gets easier.
To bullet point it for you:
and, of course,


1 comment:

Kaaren said...


So, what do you think about light?