Taking Great Photos. Part 1: Setting Goals

We frequently get emails asking about our photographs. “How you do you get such great pictures.” Or, more to the point, “How can I take great pictures?” Is it a special camera? Is it special equipment? What is the key?

Well, you too can take great photos. It’s not a special camera, although it does require learning a couple of things about your own camera. And yes – there are some specialized pieces of equipment, that if you understand what they do – you can make your own if you are on a tight budget.

First – let’s talk about what defines a great photograph – just so we’re all on the same page. We could easily get distracted, or I could anyway!, and ramble off about Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz and not ever get back to the point.

You may be taking photos to record your beadwork – in which case, you have a goal – which is to take pictures that remind you of what you made.

Or, you might be taking pictures for a website because you are aiming to sell your work.

Or, you might be taking pictures to illustrate a tutorial, so that you can teach others about your techniques.

Or, you might be taking pictures to impress a jury to get into a show.

If you think up some other goals – let me know in the comments. 😉

I don’t personally see that shooting pictures for a jury is anything other than a specialized selling job – so I’m going to lump those in with selling, and say that there are three potential goals:

  • record
  • sell
  • teach

Teaching and recording are pretty similar too – it’s a matter of assumptions about what the target audience knows – but for now – I’ll leave them as separate.

So here’s your homework for the week. I want you to think about exactly what you want your pictures to do. Record, Sell, or Teach.

Then think about who you want the pictures to record, sell, or teach to. You’ll find that recording and teaching will be relatively simply – and “sell” will open up a can of worms that you might not get the worms back into. But give it a shot anyway. Who is your target audience? Who are you selling to. And “everyone” is not a valid answer. 😉

You could also spend some time having a quick browse around the internet and try and find some examples of pics that you really wish you took. Bookmark them, print them, whatever. You could post links to them here in the comments so we can all see them. 😉

Cheers – see you next week.

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