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A guide for improving your AC-photographs

Journal Entry: Mon Sep 29, 2008, 8:07 AM



THE CHALLENGE

As artists who creates 3-dimensional art/craft there is a challenge as to show our creations by photo - in a portfolio, as a deviation on dA or anywhere else on the internet.

The viewer can't touch the surface, feel the fabric or smell the wood. The photograph of the item is all we have, and if the photo doesn't show your creation in a good way the whole impression can be completely destroyed.


If the photo is too blurry or the lighting is too poor it's hard for the viewer too fully appreciate your work and might not see/understand the hard work behind it since details are lost in the poor quality of the photo. Also messy backgrounds, cropping and image size make a huge different when viewing all kinds of work

Of course it makes a difference with what kind of equipment you have, but as long as you know how to use it there is no real excuse to blurry photos.

The tips and tricks I've listed below to combat different problems can be used no matter what camera you are using.


GENERAL

When doing a photoshoot of your object, take several photos - use different angles, change the light and please look through them with a critiqual eye. Don’t go for ‘a bit blurry, but otherwise ok’ - reshoot and learn what conditions suits your camera and object the best.

If you rezise your photos, or do some post-processing - ALWAYS save your original!



FOCUS

If the photo is blurry and you can't see the details, it's hard for the viewer to appreciate the delicate work you have done.

Blurry photos either depend on camera movements or lack of proper focus.

All cameras have a limit on how close you can go and still be able to focus, this will usually be indicated somewhere.  Find out how your camera works and don't go any closer than the limit.
If you still are unsure, I'd say take a step back and crop the photo afterwards instead.
If your camera have a macro mode, use that.

As for movements, which can occour when lighting is poor or from holding the camera loose - either use a tripod, books or something to put to camera on - and get better lighting.


Photobucketbra

In the left photo I was way to close and the camera couldn't focus - I took a step back and what a difference! Now all the details are visible.


#1 Way to Correct Blurry Photos



LIGHT

If the lighting is poor the quality of the photo usually is low a as well and it can be hard to get a good 3-dimensional feel over it. With poor light it's harder to get a focused shot without tripod.

Sunlight is often the best lightsource!

PhotobucketPhotobucket

In the left photo the light is too poor and therefore details are lost and on the right photo I used a flash, which tends to 'wash out' the colors.


Lighting: Live Tutorial

Lighting - Abridged Reference

Studio lighting

Fussy Camera, Shitty Light Tut



BACKGROUNDS

If the background is messy, it's harder to take in the details of the creation. Use a plain backdrop - it could be a single colored sheet or fabric. Use a color or pattern that fit and emphasize the object.

Photobucketbra

Notice the difference.



CROPPING

If the photo isn't cropped at all, it can get a bit of a sloppy feel over it - almost like the artisan don't care how his/hers work is displayed (left photo below)
If the photo is too cropped the visual effect usually isn't the best (right photo below)

PhotobucketPhotobucket




RESIZING PHOTOS

Resizing photos is a must when fullview is huuuge and it's impossible view the whole photo without scrollin' in all directions.
You want the viewing to be a pleasure, not a work-out

Resizing images for Deviantart
Image Resize Tutorial
Cropping and resizing tutorial



ANGLE

When you are photographing your creation, look at it! Is the angle you a shooting in the best for your item? Or is the angle making the piece look crooked?

NEVER take a picture like this by DryadStudios vs. Mackintosh coutout stand by DryadStudios
Bad vs.good angle


Big thanks for DryadStudios for letting me use their example in my tutorial!



COLLAGES

Also, sometimes different angles of the item makes it easier to understand the complexity of the creation and a collage can sometimes be crucial to fully appreciate it, with some close-ups and details on how it works.





ARTIST'S COMMENTS

When submitting your fantastic crafted and well photographed work to dA please add a little about it in artist's comments.
You have spent several hours creating it, spend a couple of minutes writing down a little blurb and you will recieve more comments, questions, understanding and awe!



OTHER USEFUL TUTORIALS

Setting your studio - tutorial by ahmedwkhan
Setting your studio - tutorial by ahmedwkhan - an easy way in to create your own studio/lightbox for better photos.

Artisan Crafts Photo Edit Tute by chat-noir
Artisan Crafts Photo Edit Tutorial - a very helpful guide on how you can edit your photos in Photoshop

Pics of art w crappy camera by IIDenator
Pics of art w crappy camera

studio pics without studio??? by hoschie
studio pics without studio???



DISCLAIMER


Please note that I am not a professional in any way, I just wanted to share some tips and tricks I've picked up and I hope others will find them useful.
Opinions and taste stated here are mine


Please let me know if you think something is missing or if something is unclear.


Please also consider the option to contact a professional photograph, if you want to set up a professional portfolio, if you lack the time or equipment.
A good visual presentation is everything when it comes to applying to colleges, jobs or exhibitions. Or just sharing you work!



The example used (if not otherwise stated) is a creation of mine, Crying over a missing foot





journal design & css by Ninina-nini & Ikue
Add a Comment:
 
:icon2dazed:
2dazed Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011
This just continues to be helpful Myana! I send a link to this to others when I can. :) I love it!
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011  Professional Artisan Crafter
I'm so glad you still find it useful! It was worth the time to put it togheter :nod:


:hug:
Reply
:iconfarlydapamanis:
farlydapamanis Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Thank You
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for reading!
Reply
:iconfarlydapamanis:
farlydapamanis Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
this article really useful
Reply
:iconllifi-kei:
llifi-kei Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2010
Wow! I always thought an article like this would be really useful, but I never realised this existed 'til now T__T

It's great though, thanks so much for sharing =)
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you for reading, I glad you found it useful!
Reply
:iconcathygee:
cathygee Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2009   Traditional Artist
Wow, I've only had a quick peek at this so will come back to it when I don't have cats/dog/baby at my feet :) But what I've read so far, really concise - you explain it very well. I've just started experimenting with a lightbox - and MyntKat suggested your tutorial(s)....thank you, I will def. come back for a longer read.......:)
Reply
:iconmyntkat:
MyntKat Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2009  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I am linking to this awesome guide from my tutorial: [link]
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
yay, and what a tutorial! Great job on it!
Reply
:iconmyntkat:
MyntKat Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks :) I might make one on image cleanup soon.
Reply
:iconkalany:
kalany Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2008
Another suggestion re: lighting. If your piece has a lot of detail, and you're having trouble getting light that doesn't wash them out, try going outside on a cloudy day, or just inside a window, or in a shady spot on a sunny day. You should get directional enough light that you'll be able to see texture details, without having harsh shadows like direct sunlight can do.

And if all else fails, for a decent background, take the covers off your bed, pile the pillows up, and then bring the top sheet (or, if you don't use top sheets, another clean bottom sheet) over the top of the pillows. Put your piece on the sheet with the pillows behind it. As long as you have a nice, plain sheet set (no checks or patterns) this does fairly well for a lot of things (not so great for heavy sculpture, though)
Reply
:iconznow-white:
znow-white Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
:clap:
Reply
:iconugrik:
Ugrik Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
Very nice and helpful article.
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Glad you found it useful!!
Reply
:iconlovessecret:
LovesSecret Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
great (:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:w00t:
Reply
:iconartistladysmith:
artistladysmith Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconsimonsaz3:
simonsaz3 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008
Such an awesome resource... you're excellent at providing tips to always help improve artwork. Thanks so much for putting this entry together! Now I know where to guide my friends when they have questions.
:hug:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
I'm happy you found it useful!!
:hug:
Reply
:iconsimonsaz3:
simonsaz3 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2008
:aww:
Reply
:iconewm:
ewm Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
[link] This is a really awesome tutorial you might want to add to your list. On a low budget the over all lighting might not be possible but the creation of the light box itself would be very useful you could even take it outside and use sunlight!
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
wonderful tutorial indeed! thank you for showing it to me :hug:
Reply
:iconerrantdreams:
ErrantDreams Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
I started out with cruddy art photos and think I've been getting better, although I still have more to learn. I now use a portable foldup light box/studio with two high-powered tungsten table lamps ($69 on Amazon, but since I want to sell my items it's worth it). Although the studio came with a reversible blue/gray background, I now use lighter cloth, and have been hunting through remnant bins for better backgrounds (I have a couple of new ones I want to try soon). I also often use the levels function in Photoshop to increase the light as well.

Wonderful article, and it also reminded me that at some point I should try doing the collage type of image.
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
You're jewelryphotos looks really good (all of them do!) and I think you used those money wisely - it does look very professional :)

I'm glad you found the journal useful, I hoped people would find something in there which made them improve or at least be somewhat critical to the photos they submit since it's such a major part in sharing our works.
Reply
:iconerrantdreams:
ErrantDreams Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the input!

I agree. It's easy to end up thinking that it's just the appearance of the physical object that matters, but if you're presenting it for consideration online then the photography becomes just as important!
Reply
:icondarkfireraven:
DarkFireRaven Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
This is an AWESOME article! I'm one of those who pretends her living room is a photography studio, and I was was getting kind of desperate, trying to shoot my pieces. Thank you so much! :dance:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
I'm glad you found it useful!!
And a living room can be a great photography studio, just think of some of the things I mentioned and the shots will turn out great! :)
:hug:
Reply
:icondarkfireraven:
DarkFireRaven Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
I got a nice light from a local secondhand shop that give me bright, quality white light, enough to overpower the tan walls. On overcast days I'll be able to shoot without the white balance being horrid. :D I use sunlight whenever possible, because that always gives me the best results. :) I'm going to shoot more stuff this morning, I can't wait to get started with new ideas! :hug:
Reply
:iconlawrencededark:
LawrenceDeDark Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008
Great journal.. presentation is so important. I have seen some awesome works that were poorly photographed and it really takes a lot away from the art.
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
I coulnd't agree more!
And I hope people will find this guide useful :)
Reply
:iconmarie-ange-the-celt:
Marie-Ange-the-Celt Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
This is great !

I wish we could fav journals ^^
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
If you still have it in your message center, you can save it into a folder... kind of like faving..

It's always a link to it on my front page, in the right column of my journal if you want easy access to it again :D
Reply
:iconmarie-ange-the-celt:
Marie-Ange-the-Celt Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, it worked ! Thank you so much :D
Reply
:iconninina-nini:
Ninina-nini Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
:thumbsup:

:hug:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:w00t: it was a good one, so of coruse I had to include it :)
Reply
:iconninina-nini:
Ninina-nini Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008
:D

:hug:
Reply
:iconpulbern:
pulbern Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Great idea!
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hopefully people find it useful! :)
Reply
:iconznow-white:
znow-white Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
I need to rummage around in the gallery for you to find more :D
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
oooh, do so, and let me know if you find something I should include here!! :)
Reply
:iconznow-white:
znow-white Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008
I certainly will :nod:
Reply
:iconlemonarts:
LemonARTs Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2008
:clap:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Glad you liked it!! :w00t:
Reply
:iconmidknightmuse:
midKnightMuse Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
:clap:
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
:aww:
Reply
:iconsweetclub:
sweetclub Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008
Awesome guide :love: I think he will really very helpful for AC artists :nod:

mmmmm... can I to place link on this guide in my signature (for sometime) if you do not mind?? please :)
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
thank you, I'm glad you like it!

but of course, link the hell out of it! =P I'm happy you found it useful enough that you want to share it with others!
Reply
:iconsweetclub:
sweetclub Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2008
Done ^^ Thank you :hug:
It is very useful guide :nod: pity but I often see wonderful work on terrible quality photos
Reply
:iconmyana:
Myana Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
yay!! :dance:
Reply
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