General

Tutorial: Photo Tips!

I’ve had a few questions about my process for photographing my cards and pages, so I thought I’d write up a few little things about how I photograph and what I use.

First things first, lets cover how I shoot (UPDATED 11/18/11):

Camera BodyCanon 50D, Canon T3i
Lenses – I mostly use a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L lens. It’s always on my camera. I also use a 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens frequently.
Photo Software – Photoshop CS5

QUICK TIPS:
1. Use only natural light
2. Take lots of photos
3. Try different angles. Move around the subject, bend your knees so you’re lower, stand on a chair.
4. When you’re getting ready to press down that shutter, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and then press the shutter. This reduces camera shake.

TIPS:
…First of all, KNOW YOUR CAMERA. I cannot stress this enough. The reason why many of my shots work out is because I’ve played around with my camera and learned what worked best for me. Also, take a LOT of photos. Generally I’ll take 15 shots and only 2 or 3 are real options to choose from.

… Never use a flash unless you have lots of experience (and success!) using a flash. I don’t, so I never use a flash.

… Low-light situations cause problems no matter how expensive your camera is. Most point and shoot digital cameras do not handle low-light situations well, and manual SLR cameras have to be on the correct setting. To alleviate some of the problem, photograph near a window. This will also give you the most correct colors.

… If you’re taking photos at night (like I usually do because I work late most nights), make sure you have a good positional lamp. Generally they have a softer light (unlike a flash). I use a regular desk lamp that’s attached to my drawing table. It swivels and turns so I can get just the right angle.

… If you can adjust the white balance on your camera, do so. Make sure that if you’re using a lamp like the one mentioned above that you select the “tungsten” option.

PHOTOSHOP TIPS:
… I try to take the best picture possible so that I don’t need to use Photoshop, but most of the time I do need to change some things. When I do make changes, they are minimal and I try to keep them simple. I generally do only three things:

1. Crop the photo so that it’s showing only what I need.
2. Adjust the Levels. I do not recommend selecting Auto Levels (though I do sometimes). It’s better to adjust the levels manually so you get exactly what you want.
3. Auto Color. Sometimes I skip this step if it alters the coloring too much.

Anyway, those are some basic tips. Hopefully that answers a few questions. :)

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