Adjusting Brightness and Contrast

Last week, I showed you a variety of photography backgrounds, and I mentioned that none of the images had been adjusted, and that some of the backgrounds look grey, even though they are actually white. Here’s something really important to know about cameras and how they work. Cameras try to average the picture to an overall 15% grey.  That’s really important to know – so say that a couple of times in your head. OK – what that means is, the camera is not nearly as flexible as the human eye, and it just can’t deal with dark darks and …

Photography Backgrounds

Last week – we talked about the photography process. This week – I’ll answer Sue Henry’s questions about the backgrounds I use. I use a number of different backgrounds. Some items show better on different backgrounds, and sometimes, I just get bored and want something new to look at. 😉 This is called a “sweep.” It is a piece of cloth hung that sweeps forward to the front of the staging area – so there is no seam or line at the back. In this case, it is painted canvas – painted quite artfully to shade a little lighter in …

Interview: Bead Photographer

Q. So you’re the person that takes the photos for the website? How did you get that sweet gig? A. Well – it sort of came with the rest of the job as being the person that processes everything, writes the descriptions, and gets it onto the website. You gotta have pictures … . Q. Absolutely. Walk us through the process – what goes into photographing a bead? A. I start with a box of beads – usually all from one wholesaler. I’ll empty the box and sort it, and get a sense of what I need to do. If …

My Shiney Little Secret

I get a lot of questions about my photography techniques. One of the things that is really important in photographing beads and jewelry is to  have an uncluttered background that does not detract from the item being photographed. I often use a “stage” – a plexiglass sheet with a silvery backing to create a soft reflection of the bead in question. But glass scratches plexiglass – and over time – it develops a haze of fine scratches that seriously detract from the professionalism of the finished picture. If you were photo’ing anything of normal size – no one would notice …

Smart Blur: Photoshop Tip

Hey – I haven’t posted a photography tip in a long time – mostly because I have already taught you everything I know. But I learned something new in the last little while, and recently had reason to use it. Last Wednesday, I posted a photo of a piece I made for the weekly inspiration. When I first posted the photo, it looked like this. I uploaded it, looked at it, and thought, “Eww! Where did all those scratches and gunk in the background come from? Nasty!” Generally, at that point, I consider my options to be: Re-shoot it re-touch …

A Photographic Journey of Discovery: Depth of Field

One of the things I’m really struggling to get a handle on with this new camera is some sort of decent depth-of-field. In case you have forgotten, depth-of-field is the part of the picture that is still in focus in-front-of and behind the actual point that is in focus. I have been comparing the original lens that came with the camera, which is a 18 – 55 mm lens – a telephoto lens from wide angle (18 mm) to normal (55 mm) vs the 60 mm Macro lens that I got in addition. This photo, where you can see the …

Photo Wars: A New Beginning

Well – after much whinging – I finally did it. I broke down and bought a new camera. And – I went and bought exactly the kind of camera that I said you don’t need. The fancy-schmancy D-SLR with all the bells and whistles and doodads and geegaws and foufaralle that I said you really don’t need. Sorry ’bout that. Now – I am NOT a “research everything to death” kind of gal – I have friends who are, and generally – I just cop their opinions on stuff. However, at this point in time, none of them are in …

GIMP – Photo Manipulation Software

So, having installed GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) last week – as you may remember, my s.o. recommended this as a free alternate to Photoshop. Well – I had it installed and running, and he comes along, looks over my shoulder and says, “Oh, you want GIMPshop – that’s the one that looks like Photoshop – menus are the same and everything.” OK – so – armed with that piece of information – I go in search of GIMPshop. And I find it readily enough – at gimpshop.com. I go to the downloads page, and select a windows download. They …

Alternates to Photoshop

When it comes to photo editing – PhotoShop is the first name you think of. The be-all, the end-all – the alpha and the omega. The gold standard. After all – it’s name has become the verb that means “to alter an image digitally.” Mirriam-Webster says so. However – there is no denying that, at $699 US – for the non-educational, non-entry-level version – it can be tough to justify it. Or if you can justify it – you might still not actually have it. My s.o. swears by another program – however. My s.o. is a Unix geek and …

Taking Great Photos: Recap

Well – I think I’ve covered about all I can for photography. My own camera is dying and I need to replace it – but I’m so used to it – I’m loathe to replace it. I’ll recap and relink so that you have one handy place to find all the pages. And I leave you with this piece of advice – which is what made a big difference to me – but I hardly know if it will resonate with anyone else at all. When it comes to taking great pictures – don’t photograph the object – photograph the …