Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Photographing People

*This is part two of my "Photographing with Intent to Sell on Etsy" tutorial. Follow this link for part one, photographing inanimate objects.
Photographing people is easy. If you plan on using yourself as a model (as I do) you should invest in a good tripod and a camera remote.

These items will make photographing your merchandise ten hundred times easier. Seriously, when I first started I was balancing my DSLR on rocks and trees and having near-heart attacks as my camera teetered precariously from limbs and other not-so stationary objects. Having a tripod fixes this problem. You can attach your camera to it and swivel it any direction.

The remote just helps you not spend 2+ hours running back and forth to reset your timer. You can just point and click. Streamlines things rather effectively.

Step one: Choosing the Setting

If you are like me, and have next to no photographic (or modeling) skill, you probably want to photograph yourself outside. As I've stated previously, the best time to photograph yourself or others is one hour before sunrise or sunset. If your schedule only permits noon-day photo-shoot fun, stick to the shadows to minimize glare and those awful dark circles that appear in full light.
As you can see, the left photo has a lot of glare and unnecessary shadows on the face, while the picture on the right is more smooth and the light is more evenly distributed.

Step two: Watch your Background 
Silly things can creep into your background when you are using a tripod and you don't realize where it is pointed!
Even if you are using a model, pay close attention to what is behind them. Your backdrop is just as important as your model in conveying the mood and aesthetic of your merchandise.

Trust me, you will die of frustration when every picture you took has a very large grill on the left. Sometimes you can crop the item out, but other times there is no possible way to remove it from the image.

Step three:  Use Photoshop Legitimately 
Ok, okay, I know sometimes I don't follow this rule. But I try. The best thing to remember is not to alter the item you are selling, but only to spice up the background and model to a professionally artistic level.


Step four: Don't forget to have fun and be creative!
Be wild. Do something you've never seen anyone else do! Market your brand with unique photos and people will remember you. I love using my hair to highlight my merchandise.
The possibilities are endless.  Some of my favorite photos are made just by goofing off and having a good time. Never forget to relax and enjoy your art.

Anyone else have any photo tips? Please share!
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