Photographing your Work - Tips
For good quality images, your camera should be set to take photos that are at least 3 MP (megapixels). The default setting for most modern digital cameras or phones should be good enough.
For a seamless background use a neutral gray mat board usually used to frame and mount pictures. You can buy this at Wallacks on Bank Street, it comes 32 X 40 inches for $7.98. You want a neutral gray without any hint of other colours. Bainbridge white core Jurassic #718530 W529 is good, or Crescent brand #SRM1027 is a good choice.
If you don't have all the gear to take professional photos of your pots here's an easy way to do it using available light.
The basic idea is to prop the board against something and curve it using some weights to provide a seamless background. In the photo to the left some tiles serve for weights and the set up is outdoors in the shade.
The set up is just as well set up indoors near a window with lots of light. The mat board can be propped up against some furniture moved into place.
For fill light, a white piece of cardboard can be used to reflect window light back to the subject. Outdoors we had a problem of the house next door creating an undesired reflection which we had to block with a piece of cardboard while at the same time reflecting white fill light.
Shiny surfaces will give the most problems with reflections. White pots might also need some shadow in the background for contrast.
You can prop the top of the mat board forward somewhat to create a graduated shadow on the background for this contrast.
You will want to play around with the angles of your shot. Check your photos on a computer and re-shoot until you get the pictures you want.
Through a Guild Workshop conducted by Harry Nowell, the following information is presented to assist anyone looking for more detailed technical information on how to photograph your work for various Guild events. We hope you find it useful.
- Point&Shoot or SLR is best
- [update] A smartphone with good camera with a tripod mount accessory can work well too (e.g. Mobifoto Mobimount 20 Phone Mount W/BT - Henry's Web Code: 303GET293)
- Never use Flash
- Use manual exposure mode for more control:
- low ISO (100-200-400)
- auto white balance
- Use grey-card for settings, learn how to use the Histogram
- Files: large file size: RAW, TIFF or JPEG
- 2 + second timer delay
- Lights: select 5500 Kelvin lightbulbs when possible
- Natural, Studio Strobes, Construction lights, Flashlights, Desk lamps
- lightbox may be useful; paper seamless backdrop (various colours)
- simple composition, clean, strong focal point
- Always use a Tripod
Sources for supplies & information: Henry's, Vistek, Buchanan Lighting
- Save files: to computer, flash drive, etc.
- Create a copy
- Use software to modify the copied file (IRFAN View, GIMP, Microsoft Picture Manager, PicMonkey, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.)
- For Web, i.e. OGP Website Gallery Pages:
- DPI: 72
- Compressed size: 1000 max HxW
- For Print, i.e. OGP Catalogues:
- DPI: 300
- Uncompressed - use the large format: 2000