Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fancy Photography

 I have been reading a lot of blog posts lately about setting up shop for product photos. I have done it lots of ways. I live with a professional photographer and while he would be more than happy to help me, the last thing he wants to do on his day off is pick up a camera. So, I usually do it myself, having had lots of advise from him. I have also paid a professional to do it, and those were really great images, but for my purpose, I think I get decent enough results. I am by no means a pro, and there are much better photos out there than mine, but I'm fine with my pictures most days. My best results come from setting up on my kitchen table around 11am when the light is not too harsh. I don't use fancy lights, umbrellas, or much of anything else. I have a Nikon Coolpix that has seen better days and sometimes doesn't want to focus, but it's ok. If I had a better camera, the shots would be sharper I suppose.
 I use this cube Gerry got me to soften the light if it is too harsh, but mostly I just use a cheap piece of poster board that has a flat surface, no texture. I prop it up using my cube and place the cube by the window in my kitchen. I have neither the room nor the patience to set up an elaborate bunch of lights and stands, and this gives me perfectly nice photos for my blog, Etsy or show submissions. Now if this were going in a magazine, that would be different. But there aren't a lot of magazines calling me for submissions, so I'm good.

 I have a studio space upstairs where I make my necklaces and in a pinch I will set something up by the window up there. All of the jewelry shots in my Etsy shop were made on this table by the window with a few interesting props.

I think natural light is the most beautiful way to
photograph anything. I especially like it when a part of the photo has been over exposed giving that very white light. Proper lighting for me is the key to making work look great. Studio shots can make pottery looks soooo beautiful, but if you don't have the means for a professional set up, a south facing window and a gray paper can be just as good, just get the shot in focus haha! That seems to be my biggest challenge!

27 comments:

Laura Farrow said...

yes! natural light. your pics always look good!

cookingwithgas said...

I would love to take good pictures but my mind goes numb when people start talking about how to do it.
Yours and Gerry's are wonderful and , I think he knows what he is doing- lot's of practice!

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks, and yours will to now with that fancy camera! Not that they were bad before :)

Tracey Broome said...

First reply was for Laura, Meredith you popped up between typing :)
Meredith, auto focus, stand by a window, it's that easy haha!

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I love your photos- you have a good eye for shadow and props. If only I had a south facing window :( Our kitchen is quite shaded, in fact the whole house is~ so, I have to use the photo set ups...annoying, for sure!

Tracey Broome said...

Kathy, shade can be good, a nice flat light casts less glare, try it!
Re the props, I used to be a set designer, just can't help myself, haha!

Michèle Hastings said...

Photo set ups are a pain when you don't have designated space. We put ours up and take it down all the time.
I think that lots of things look better photographed in natural light... especially jewelry.
Your photos always look great, your set design experience shines through!

Tracey Broome said...

Michele, after I posted this, I saw the new shots on your blog and loved how they looked. You got it right! So beautiful, I think you light your work really well!!

Dennis Allen said...

Thanks for the tips.Your pictures always look so nice.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Dennis, there are certainly others out there doing it the right way, but I hardly ever do things the "right way". This is for those who are like me, haha!

Vicki said...

Another yes to natural light!
When I used to paint, I really appreciated the value of being able to paint by a large window and would take advantage of the light until the last rays of the day.

Your photos always show your work to their very best Tracey.
You have the ability to convey the character in your art pieces so well. Their warmth and soul shines through :)

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Vicki, thanks, I like making a nice picture with my work, I also like looking at other people's work when it is photographed beautifully.

angela walford said...

that lil ladder would be really handy around the house, just for that little step up :P great pics trace :))

Susan Jonsson said...

I have always loved your photography. It makes me yearn to have a piece of your work in my home....One day....that will happen....Thanks for sharing your ideas...

Susan

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Ang, maybe a ladder for the house mouse, haha!
H Susan, thanks, I want everything you post in your shop, we should work something out:)

Susan Wells said...

You make it look EZ!!

Tracey Broome said...

It is EZ:)

Melissa Rohrer said...

What direction does your window face? I tried a light box with natural light for a while. Found it difficult to get consistent results, but maybe it had something to do with my light box being homemade.

Cat's Ceramics said...

Thank you so much for sharing your beads of wisdom Tracey. I have such a hard time photographing my work- my OH is a hobbyest photographer and our photography sessions usually revolve around arguments of the creative v technical side. Sometimes I think it best I do it on my own! x

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Melissa, the windows I use are south facing but our lot is very shady. I find the the mornings re better, afternoon light gets to orange and harsh.
Cat, I know exactly what you mean!

Lori Buff said...

It's interesting that you posted this article today since just a couple of nights ago Janet was looking at your blog and commented about how great the photos were. She also likes the necklaces.

Tracey Broome said...

Awww, that's so nice, thanks Janet!
I've learned from one of the best :) but he is much better!

Michael Kline said...

Yep, it shows that you work hard on your images. I like the bright natural light! I have trouble with shiny glazes.that's my challenge.

Tracey Broome said...

Michael, I had trouble with the shine too, terra sig is not a problem but some of my raku glazes are crazy shiny. I just used a card to flag the light....

Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation said...

You always have great images :) I cheat and set a mat outside (when it's not raining or snowing...) and just use natural light -the lights in my studio (I think bright spot LED's?) create crazy bad color.
HEY my book arrived yesterday!!! Thank you girlfriend! xox

cindy shake said...

OOOPS! that's what I get for surfing your Blog from work!!! ...thanks for the book ;o)
xox

Tracey Broome said...

YAY! Glad the book finally arrived, that pony express! Enjoy :)