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Friday, December 18, 2009

I am always on the quest for better ways to take a great photo. I am no professional photographer, but have found a few things that are useful to the average joe trying to photograph there work.

These tips are for the "point and shoot" digital camera crowd, of course if you are more advanced in your photography knowledge, then this is standard knowledge for you.

That means read the manual and know the different settings and modes on your camera. There are usually preset for Scenery, Nighttime, action , and other scenarios that you can use.Yes, some models are better than others, but if doesn't matter what amount of money you spend if you can't work it when you get it home. I suggest 10Mega pixels as the minimum for a digital, some people may argue with me , which is fine, but I think this is the least you can get to take a decent photo.The mega pixel rating of a digital camera determines how much fine detail you can capture in your shots, so the higher the mega pixel, the more detail in the photo.

Most digital cameras have a macro mode. This setting is great for taking close up shots of your products like rings or smaller objects. Most of the time the macro mode is represented by a flower symbol. Just turn on macro mode (whether a switch or button on camera), then get as close to it as your camera will allow. Make sure you allow the camera to focus properly before depressing the shutter button fully.

Sometimes you think you are holding your camera steady only to find out after the picture is taken that you weren't. Alot of cameras now have an "auto shake" feature. This is represented on my camera with a picture of a hand with wavy lines on either side of it. When this is turned on it automatically stabilizes the picture. This is good if you are a little shaky or if you don't have a tripod. The only downside to this is that on most cameras this feature is for auto mode only, so you will not be able to manually tweak settings like Iso, brightness and etc.

The ISO setting of a camera controls it's sensitivity to light. If you're taking a photo of a still object, like jewelry, then always use a low ISO setting. It allows for a longer shutter speed and produces a cleaner image. If you're shooting a moving object, like a child in one of your items, then a higher ISO setting of say 400 would be better. Do take note, however, that a higher ISO setting gives a faster shutter speed and requires less light.

No matter how great a photo you take , it will most likely be needing some sort of editing. Whether its cropping the image to make it more dynamic or fixing the light/other color problems. The most common software is photoshop, but for some people its too complicated or too expensive. They do offer a "downgraded" version called "Photoshop Elements" but there are other alternatives. The following are three good free photo editing programs

Picnik- is a web based site which makes photo editing simple. You can have Picnik "auto correct" photos for you or you can manual do it in "advanced mode". The site is free to use with registration optional and it interfaces with your Flikr account. If you plan on using it frequently, then it will probably be best so register(free) to keep track of your photos.

Picasa 3- is software from google that you download . Since this is from Google , it makes sharing your photos easier as well.

Snipshot- is free photo editing software online similar to Picnik. One of the things that makes it interesting is that you can apply effects to your photos , similar to filters in Photoshop. They do offer a "Pro Account" , for a monthly free or they do a have "2 week" free that gives you access to more tools.

Gimp-is software that you download as well. This is a little more advanced than Picnik, but very easy to use.

Aviary- is free photo editing and web tool that really is geared toward design and creation. Similar to Photoshop, it allows you to not only apply effects to your photos, but also create other designs, like that all important Store Banner. They even have tutorials on their blog on how to make an "Etsy Shop Banner" using there product. This may be good for some of you who are a little "techno challenged" but still want a nice banner. If you are looking for more photo editing options than Picnik , but are not ready for the challenge of Photoshop, then Aviary is the best bet for you.

Paint.Net-is software that you download for computers that run Windows. It edits photos with similar tools to Gimp or Photoshop .NO THIS IS NOT THE MICROSOFT PAINT PROGRAM THAT YOU FIND FREE IN YOUR WINDOWS APPLICATION. This is a little more advanced thank the Microsoft paint program as it was originally intended to replace that free program. SO though every knows I am not a fan of Microsoft Paint as a graphic design program, if you are use to using Microsoft Paint, then this may be an alternative to you.

These are just a few programs, we think it really depends on your skill level and needs as to which is better for you . We suggest that if you are unsure, try them all out and see what works best for you.


White Balance to Make Your Photos True to Life
Staying Sharp: Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos
The Portable Lightbox: Easy way to achieve professional photos
How-to Photograph Jewelry

*If you know of any great tips to help take a better photograph let us know!
Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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  1. Good tips. The great thing about digital is you can take a hundred pictures if you want and keep the best. I love and have been using it for years. I found it much easier to learn than Gimp.

  2. I like picknick when my old betsy of a computer is down I can use it at the library since its online. I can destroy a photo trying to use the different features and picknik is very forgiving. LOL.