we’re constantly receiving handbag pictures from our customers, and there’s very few things I like seeing in my Inbox more than project pictures. They really make my day! And the majority of the pictures we receive are well-taken, well-composed and well-thought-out, but you know what? Every now and then I get a picture that leaves me scratching my head and saying… “What were they thinking?”
Now I know I’ve written posts on this subject before, but I’m thinking maybe it’s time to do a little refresher post because taking pictures of handbags or other craft items really doesn’t HAVE to be that hard! So without further ado….
Here’s Five Ways to Take Better Project Pictures!
1) Presentation Is Everything- This is the easiest, but possibly the most overlooked element of a good photo. As a matter of fact, if you don’t present your project well, it really won’t matter if you do everything else right so DO take the time to prepare your handbag properly for the picture. Press it. Fluff it up. I always plump my bags with bubble wrap or fabric scraps because let’s face it, bags just don’t look their best when they’re empty and caved in. Take the time to arrange the straps in an attractive way, or better still, hang the bag by the straps off a chairback, doorknob, or a hook, then zip, clip or mag snap all the flaps & pockets closed.
2) Don’t be Afraid to get Close to Your Subject!- You should want your bag to be the star of your picture, so it should basically fill up your view finder. Zooming in closer will allow the fine details of your bag to become evident. It will also eliminate background distractions. (You can always crop your picture later on, to accomplish this same effect.)
3) Lighting is REALLY Important- The easiest way to get good lighting is to go outside. Indoor photography generally requires more than one light source to avoid annoying and distracting shadows and less than accurate colorations. You may have noticed that almost ALL of my official bag photographs are taken outside. I like to find a nice bright spot with lots of indirect sunlight. I avoid taking photos in full sun, because that can produce similar shadow problems as with indoor photos, on top of which, intense sunlight can wash-out the colors of your bag. It might even make your metal hardware ‘shine’ in an unnatural way. My front porch is just about perfect on a sunny day from about 9 in the morning until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I get the benefits of bright light without the negative impacts that direct light can produce.
4) Focus on the Details- Always check how your photos look after you take them. ZOOM in to check out how sharp the photo is because you could have inadvertantly moved your camera or phone as snapped the picture A photo can easily appear to be in focus on the small screen of your camera or phone, but a closer inspection on your computer might reveal that in fact, it’s NOT!
5) Pay Attention to the Background-
Prior to starting the photo sessions, take a moment to assess what the background for your picture will be because it matters. Believe it or not, folks have actually sent me pictures of their bags with laundry in the background and dismayingly, it’s not always clean laundry! Some of these distracting items can be cropped out of a photo, but some just cannot! Ideally, a neutral, non-reflective surface is good. Personally, I do not think that dark backgrounds are best for bags, because the subtle features or fabrication details of your project can get lost or absorbed into that dark color. I like to photograph my bags in a natural setting with colors that do not add to, or distract from the bag. For me, my go-to background is my white wicker porch rocker, and if ever it gets so old that it can’t be cleaned up or painted for pictures then I guess I’ll just have to immediately buy a new one. YIKES!
So there you have it! The next time you get ready to take a picture of something you’ve made, (or someone you love), why not give these tips a try. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that it only takes a little bit of extra effort to take your photos from just OK to pretty darned GREAT!
And now…. it’s YOUR turn!
Do YOU have a favorite trick you use to get a great project picture? If so, perhaps you’d like to share it in the space below.
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Or better still, do you have a tip of your own that the rest of us can try?