A little trick to make your photos eye catching!
Taking great Etsy product photographs isn't about expensive camera equipment, in fact a new camera can slow your learning down.To make your photos catch the eye of a customer you need to know a few tricks of the trade.
As a photographer I have an in-built compulsion to look at lots of photos. I've never counted how many photos I look at daily, but it must be thousands. I spend a lot of time every day on Etsy, Pintrest and Flickr, I also view dozens of photography blogs and websites. In the evening I usually read one of several art and photography magazines I receive through the mail every week. On most weekends you'll find me in a gallery. I'm a picture junkie!
Of the photos I see, I'm lucky if one stops me in my tracks, if it does I pin it on my Pintrest board. Of the rest, 50% will be technically good, but 50% don't even register because they're dull. I don't mean the subject is dull! What I mean is the photograph is lifeless and flat. Which is a shame because 9 times out of 10 a dull flat photo can be improved by one simple adjustment: Contrast.
I cannot emphasise enough how important Contrast is! Let me explain why...........
Photography is all about light. Modern cameras and lenses can make taking photographs easier, they focus for you and guarantee correct exposure, but they can't bring your subject to life. Surprisingly a lot of higher quality DSLR's produce a flatter image than cheaper digital compact cameras, because the manufacturers assume you have the knowledge to make the contrast adjustments yourself.
It's all about Light
Light is the key to good photographs and lighting can make the difference between a good photo and a bad one. Good lighting creates highlights and shadows, it enhances texture (see the Quebec sign below), and it makes your main subject pop out from the background, giving the picture depth.
Unfortunately you can't rely on good lighting. Light is fleeting, it changes with the time of time of day, month of the year and weather conditions. But by adjusting the contrast of your photo it's possible to bring out textures and shadows when the light has failed you.
Contrast is a simple effect you can easily add to your photographs to bring them to life and make them pop. Good photographers make contrast adjustment part of their work flow for every photograph they publish. The adjustment is simple and quick.
Photo Editing Tools
Everyone has access to photo editing tools needed to adjust contrast. Try to use the editor you already have, the one you use to re-size and crop your image. You may need to look in the help menu to find the contrast adjustment.
Alternatively you can use the software CD that came with your camera to make simple adjustments to your photos, or here are plenty of photo editing packages available like Adobe PhotoShop and Serif PhotoPlus. And there are lots of free editors you can download, you could try these for starters: Photo Pos Pro or Pixia.
You can also use online photo editors. I suggest you try a few to find one you like. I can recommend Pixlr, it's free to use and works well.
Time to make a start - Open an image in your photo editor
The simplest way to adjust contrast is to use the "Brightness/Contrast" control. If you're using any of the standard photo editing tools, you will find the Brightness and Contrast control under the Image Menu. I've marked it in RED (below). If you're having problems finding the control, or your editor looks different, use the "Help" menu.
|You will find the Brightness/Contrast control under the "Image" menu is at the top of the screen|
|The Brightness/Contrast is a simple slider control that will add contrast to your photo.|
|This photo is flat because of the dull light. Just drag the contrast slider to increase the contrast.|
|I've adjusted the contrast slider to 90 units. Notice how the colors become vibrant.|
The Hard Part
The hardest part about adjusting your photos is finding the control in the photo editor. The Brightness/Contrast adjustment is simple, it works and will improve your photos. If you're happy using this method you can stop here, just keep practising.
There is another way to adjust contrast that gives you even more control, it's called Curves and it's a method professional photographers use, I'll show you how to use it in a future post.
If you have any questions about using photo editors or about adjusting contrast, add a comment below and I'll try and help.