Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Studio Challenge: Photography

Hi Everyone!

It's time for the Baker's Dozen Studio Challenge.  This is a monthly opportunity for the Taylored Expressions team to share what makes our stamping studios hum.  Each month we  have a fun, crafty question so we can share our favorites, some tips and tricks, stamping advice and more.

This month our theme is:

You oughta be in pictures!! 
We all love to share our completed projects with others on our blogs and in on-line galleries.  So, when the stamping ends, the photography begins.  This is a fun step for some and a frustrating one for others.  How is it for you?
Tell us how you get those beautiful project photos.

Since the theme of this month is photography, I thought that I would use the Oh Shoot! stamp set for my card today :) Here is the card that I created using the sentiment: "Oh Shoot!, sorry I missed your birthday!" I love that sentiment as well as all of the others in this set!

I am not a photography expert at all and I wish I had tips and tricks for how to take a good photo. One post that really helped me was reading Amy Sheffer's post on SCS about the photography tips that she uses. I didn't follow the whole thing, but it really helped me get started. So I thought I would share what I do to take a pic of a card. First, here is a picture of my photography set up if I pull back from this card. The table is usually full of stuff that I typically just shove over to one side :) but for this picture, I actually wiped my table down - it usually has the remains of uneaten crusts, smears of jelly and almond butter and a ton of paperwork  - Its so refreshing to see a clear table and
also I am realizing that I need to water the plant in the corner :) !!!

 I use a photo box that my DH bought for Christmas for me (on eBay) a couple of years ago and set it up on our dining room table facing the windows for direct light:

I prefer to use natural light, but there times that I have to do the same set up at night, and them I use my OTT light over my box. I use a Canon Rebel 2Ti - which I really like, but is not necessary to have. The one feature that I really like about the Canon is that I can manually adjust the focus and so that allows me to sometimes just focus on one part of the card if I am trying to do a detailed shot of say just the sentiment - like in this picture below:

Here I wanted to just focus on the paper piecing of the camera, the glaze over the lens and camera, the sentiment and flash - so I manually focused in on these areas:


In terms of photo tips - I don't really know if I have any, but I will list what seems to work for me:
  • natural morning light seems to work the best - by the afternoon time if you don't have direct sunlight, there can be a blueish quality to the background and to the papers on your card. I like direct morning sunlight the best (around 7am-9am)
  • take the photo of your card while being level with your card - this might mean that sometimes you have to crouch down to lean down in awkward ways to be level with the card - but its nice to get a shot of the card level with your camera... also its a nice workout to get in some squats as you take your pictures :D
  • try angling your card to one side which allows the dimensions on your card to be seen - I like to angle my card to both sides take lots of pictures and then decide which one or which angled picture I like the best.
  • this brings up the point: take lots of pictures - its nice to have options!


Once the pictures have been taken, I upload my pics into my MAC (iPhoto) and see which ones that I like the best - I delete all the ones that I don't like and usually end up with three that I like the best - of which I see which one has the sharper image, is clearer etc. Then I open it up in Photoshop (I don't know which version I have, I think its a few years old).
  • In photoshop, I change the image size (around a 4x6) and resolution of the pictures (to between 150 to 200 dpi).
  • Next I like to create a little softness around my photo by using the modify feature in photoshop. I click on modify and the use the feather tool (about 90) and then select a box over the center part of my picture .
  • One selected that portion of the picture will pulsate and then I click copy, click for a new file (which will be the same image size as the file I am copying from) and then making sure the background is white, I paste onto the new file and there is some feathering and softening to the edges of the photo.
  • I might adjust the brightness of the picture also and might increase the saturation of the picture in case I was taking pictures on a cloudy day and there wasn't enough sunlight.


So just to show a demonstration of a before an after, I thought that I would show a picture of one of my photos that didn't make the cut because it didn't really show the glaze of the camera image. Here is the before picture - as you can see - its pretty dark, you can see the outer edges of the photo box and its not exactly straight/level:

I cropped the picture and then followed the above steps in photoshop and I kind of like how this side picture of the card turned out - here is the after:


Card Ingredients:
Stamps: Oh Shoot! From Taylored Expressions
Papers: Pebbles: Seen and Noted (6x6)
Inks: Love Letter and Tuxedo Black  and copics
Accessories: corner chimer, ribbon from stash, bling, glaze and Banner Stacklets 2 dies from Taylored Expressions.

The Taylored Expressions Baker's Dozen Design Team have not only amazing designers but amazing photographers and I can't wait to see their tips and tricks for how the take their photos!! Please hop along with me and check them out!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Big hugs!
Sankari :) 


Charmaine (CharmWarm) said...

Loved reading about your process Sankari. . .and you made me laugh out loud talking about watering the plant! LOL You are too funny!

Wanda G (stampcat) said...

Hi Sankari! I LOOOOOOVE this card! Everything about it. What a great sketch/layout!! Perfection. I am grateful for your photo tips - your card pix always look amazing!

Cindi Flass said...

Gorgeous card! I love how great your after picture is. Great comment about the squats lol. Thanks for the tips.

Stephanie Kraft said...

Beautiful card, Sankari! Loved reading about your process!

Kerri said...

Awesome tips, and what a fabulous card! Your pictures always look amazing:)

Shannon White said...

Wow!! I am so LOVING your Sweet Darling Card Sankari!! 8-) Love your Super paper pieced camera!! And Love your Fab photo set up too! You pics always look Awesome! 8-)


Sabrina said...

I love your card! It is so cute! Thank you so much for all of your tips.

Davi said...

Very pretty dp and layers to go with the cute camera image. Lots of nice tips for photos!

Vicki Dutcher said...

I so enjoy these hops relating to cards but not specific products -- tips are a good thing :) TFS your steps for photos

JJ said...

Cute card!!! Thanks so much for your photo tips!!!!

Shelly said...

Beautiful card, Sankari! I loved reading about your process, your cards are always so bright and colorful in the pictures!