Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Blog Photography Update

I wrote a post about photography and me in December 2013. After someone mentioned the post at Carriage Corner Sew Camp, then someone left a comment about it in the comments on my Saldana Dress, so I've been gathering my thoughts to post here.

First, I've had to up my photography game. No matter how much I complained about it in the original post, I had to get better. Okay I guess I didn't really have to but I wanted to. Admittedly my photos aren't on the same level as some other bloggers but they have gotten better.

I've learned to use my camera. I understand more of the functions and can manipulate it now knowing which settings will get me what look. I'm definitely not a pro and wouldn't be able to give lessons but I can get a decent photo out of my camera. It also doesn't hurt that I bought a better DSL and stop using the point and shoot.  

I bought a tripod and a remote so that I could try taking my own photos. I've gotten comfortable with these items and use them inconjunction with my camera in my living room, no problem. I'm just getting up enough courage to take the camera and tripod onto my deck to take photos.

The most important change though is my own. When sewing a dress or when it's done, I think of how I want to frame the shot. This was the creative sense that needed the most developing. When shooting inside, I stick to the fireplace backdrop because it's white with some interesting dimension and works with the lighting. To get that lighting, I only shoot during the day, either early morning or late afternoon and all the windows in my living room are open so that light floods the room.

When shooting outside, I've now taken enough pics on my balcony that I know what looks best. In the Saldana picture, I knew the tree was blooming and that the purple on the tree would work with the purplish hues in my dress. So I shot there.
  

When my daughter takes the pictures, we use the greenest areas in the complex to get interesting shots.  Sometimes, we venture to the playground but I hate shooting there when a lot of kids are present. For the McCalls 7542 dress, she picked a square and wouldn't let me move from there because she liked the flowering tree in the background.


Finally I take a lot of pictures.  You wouldn't believe how miniscule movements can ruin a shot - okay maybe you can! *LOL* I take about 100 photos. My camera is automatically set to shoot anywhere between 2-5 pictures at once. My daughter takes 100s. She picks up the camera and starts shooting from the time I move out of the house, catching some very interesting aspects of the garment and me.


I also find that I don't like the posed pictures as much as the sponteous ones...easier with my daughter than myself.  However, allowing the camera to shoot several times, gives me the opportunity to get more sponteous pictures. It takes a while though to wade through all those pictures cause I'm vain and I delete ALOT of pictures.


Although a lot of sewists use PhotoShop, I still haven't taken the time to learn it. I use the photo software that is included with my desktop to crop and change exposure on pictures. Again the pictures taken by my daughter aren't cropped as much as the ones I take inside. But that's because I'm trying to exclude everything else but me and the backdrop. It also depends on how I feel on whether you see more of the garment or more closeups of my face. Many times I want to emphasize the garment and not me so I will use longer range photos.


My newest learning curve is taking pictures with the timer on my iPad. This is becoming quite an adventure! But no daughter means that I need not only photos for my blog posts but one or two for Instagram also. Using the timer on my iPad means that I can take them without assistance now.


This is my photography update. I can definitely see the difference in the blog pictures in the last three years. I hope you can too.

Next on the blog is my latest garment - another button down shirt which is not on my sewing list. I went a bit rogue. I'm presently working on a garment that is from the list, a newly issued pattern with more fabric from the collection.

...as always more later!





16 comments:

  1. I think photos are the hardest part of a polished blog, and yours have been consistently good. Photoediting was my hobby until I gave up the big computer for a notebook. I highly recommend Photoshop Elements rather than photoshop. You can do everything with elements that you can with the big guy, but it's at least $100 cheaper and has many many shortcuts built in if you don't want to do each correction and edit piece by piece. There are built in tutorials with it. You can edit from RAW, edit into layers, save the original right under the edit. If you already have Shop, they might make you a deal for elements.

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  2. I like your pictures inside ones and outside ones. I would be hard pressed to choose between them.

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  3. I remember that original post stirring up a lot of interesting discussion! I've always enjoyed the photography aspect of blogging, but like you, it's taken me a while to figure out how to get the best images with the least stress. It's always a balancing act!
    I did switch to using Lightroom to edit photos last year, and I do prefer it a lot to iPhoto or PicMonkey which I was using before. It allows for more specific changes, like lightening the shadows without affecting the bright areas, or boosting one colour without affecting the others. It's not a necessary expense, but it's a luxury I enjoy!

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    1. Gillian - it did cause ALOT of conversations didn't it?! *LOL* Which was not my intent at all, but somehow it struck a nerve. I keep reading about photo editing software and honestly my eyes still gloss over at that part...it's a little tooo deep for me right now. But who knows, next year I might write another post saying something different.

      I love your blog pics btw and would love to get to your level! Thanks for adding another layer of info to this post!

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  4. Carolyn I have noticed the change in photos you have learned a lot. I never thought about that aspect of blogging but I bet it takes more time than the writing. You get good photos that show you at your best and show your sewing at its best. Thanks for all you do.

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  5. Looking good! Your pictures are definitely looking crisp and professional (and I love the candid photos, too). I also have a Canon Rebel and LOVE it - I rarely use my phone for anything now, even Instagram. One thing I would recommend is eventually purchasing a 50mm lens if you don't already have one. They take gorgeous close ups and portraits, and you get that nice bokeh effect... perfect for dreamy, blogger-esque photos :)

    Jacqui
    www.birds-of-a-thread.com

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  6. First of all, your pictures are fine. As nice as any I have seen on blogs. But good for you for wanting to improve your photography skills. I love your outside shots because of all the green. :)

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  7. Great to see you experimentin more with your photographs! Love the action shots you take yourself :-)

    I used to use tripod-camera-photoshop element a lot. But it was such hardwork.

    Nowadays I use my smartphone (on a grabber stand) & frequently rely on Instagram filters to prettify the photos. (If I have WiFi/data setting turned off then Instagram save the edited photos to Gallery app & I can then cancel Instagram photo posting if I only wanted the filter without sharing on Instagram.) I find the phones selfie camera function useful to see what I'm doing so I don't get loads of bloopers - unlike with camera on tripod. Definitely makes taking pictures less of a hassle!

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  8. I really appreciate the reportage on photography, as it is the bane of my blogging experience. You have been so generous with your successes and your fails, and I cannot thank you enough.
    I hope that you have the best of Mother's Days tomorrow. Much love to you and your family.

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    1. SJ - thanks and Happy Mother's Day to you too! The photographs are challenging - from the taking to the editing to getting them into the blog post. If I didn't have my daughter taking the majority of them for me, I would probably have to quit blogging, because that's how important pictures have become.

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  9. The other post is exactly how I feel about sewing blog photography! I also tried to get better, to be more useful to plus size sewers looking to see garments on a real body, and did improve, but you would never mistake my photos for something out of a magazine.

    It seems like it takes 100s of photos to get really good shots, but I have so little patience... How do you stand looking at so many photos of yourself? I get overwhelmed and quit, lol. Tips please!!!

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    1. Ebi - Yes, I truly believe you have to take 100s if you want good pictures which is very time consuming, time you could be sewing. Also you're right it requires a lot of patience. I try to look at good garment photos first and then I look at my face. That's how I eliminate so many...both have to work together. Hope that helps!

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  10. Happy Mother's Day! You are an inspiration to me!

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    1. Hey Bonnie! Happy Mother's Day to you too! So glad to know that you're still around reading. It is appreciated.

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  11. As a blog follower for years I can definitely see the quality raise in your photos. These photos make a huge difference in the blogs I read and I have gotten to the point where I have discontinued reading ones that post poor quality pics. Thanks for taking the time, expense, and energy to post excellent photos. Karen

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  12. I've always thought you took great photos. I've seen poor ones and the ones you post are very good. I had to go back to your original post and read all the comments. So interesting what sparks comments from your readers. The fact I have readers is always somewhat amazing to me.

    Keep sharing your sewing journey.

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