We upload it to our blog, yet the picture is dark and doesn’t look ‘right’.
I totally understand the frustration, when I started my card making blog over seven years ago (Yikes !). I used to put my cards under a scanner and hoped for the best.
I knew then I couldn’t possibly compete with professional photographers but secretly I was very envious of all the other cardmakers’ blogs where their greeting cards looked ‘just like they do in magazines’.
A quick search on Google and it became clear…
So I searched online to see if I could get a few quick tips and came across a few websites, apart from the very technical ones.
I was lucky to find a few quick fixes that will give my picture taking to a slightly more professional level.
Unfortunately I can’t remember the photographic site that dished out those pearls of wisdom but I quickly made a note of the main three tips in my mind.
3 tips for better pictures for cardmakers
So here are the three tips so that you can improve the look of your cards when you want to upload them to your blog:
- Switch the Flash off on your camera.
I know it seems silly and you think that the picture will become dark but don’t worry tip N.2 will fix that.
The reason you want the flash off is because it makes everything look flat and unnatural. It also creates shadows where you don’t want them and your cards look like they’ve been caught in the traffic light !
- Look for the instruction booklet for your digital camera (you can go to the manufacturer’s website and download it there if you misled it) and check if your camera has this setting called EV (exposure value) and then set it at 0.7 + you can ‘push’ it to 1.0 + if need be, just experiment.
What this does is to tell the camera to get more light in, so that you’re actually forcing the camera to overexpose your picture.
Honestly it’s ok because the next step is to fix it once you’ve taken the picture using a free software called Picasa.
If you have other pictures software enhancer, that’s cool, use your one.
The setting you want to hit is the automated quick/instant fix. This will just automatically enhance the picture just like by magic.
You can also play with the saturation setting to give your cards’ pictures ‘more colour’.
- Finally you need a white box (also called lightbox), I was lucky enough I found one in my local Maplin (computer and electronics retailer in the UK) but you can make your own with a fairly deep box.
Just cut out the two flaps that fasten the box plus one side, then line your box with white cardstock (it doesn’t have to be good quality just white).
Next use a table lamp and shine the light from above but directing against one of the sides so that it reflects the light back to your card.
You might need to prop up your table lamp with a smaller box or like I did on the picture with a kitchen paper roll (yep I’m that technologically minded).
You could always ‘take it outside’ like Lindsay Obermeyer did to get the best natural light (go and have a look it’s pure genius).
Take several pictures of your card from various angles
Since we don’t have to develop pictures anymore in this day and age, don’t be stingy with your picture taking, just go for it and you’ll start to feel like a professional photographer. Take at least 5 to 8 pictures of your cards ‘moving’ around the card and varying the angle of your camera, my best pictures usually are made when I put the card slightly at a jonty angle and take the picture from below looking up.
You’ll want to experiment so that you can find what works for you, so go for it and also try to avoid taking a picture of your card from the front that’s why I position my card slightly off. You’ll pick, then, all the card layers (if any) and people will appreciate more your cardmaker’s skills.
Also and this is a total bonus, no matter how good your matting or positioning of your elements on your card there will always be something that looks a bit off, when taking picture this way, it kinda corrects these ‘mistakes’ as you can’t really tell. Shhhh that’s a secret ! lol
If you have any tips of your own about how to photograph handmade cards, please leave a comment below ! Thanks !
Further reading about the subject of photography for crafters (with affiliate links which help this site):
USA and Rest of the World
The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos: The Best Techniques for Showcasing Your Handmade Creations
From the SVGcuts.com website: Another tutorial about taking pictures of your cards using natural daylight by Leo Kowal
Just came across this new portable lightbox (Foldio) for smarphones; it’s still in crowd sourcing process but it seems like a neat idea as you can see from the video below. Enjoy !