I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years shooting personal projects as a way to get hired by the companies with whom I really want to work. When I began this process, my images were fairly tame. I assumed that mainstream and technically-correct images were better than free-form zaniness.
But then I started attending portfolio reviews, where I had the opportunity to sit down with industry buyers to find out what it is they really wanted to see. It was surprising to discover that my loopier ideas resonated more, even if they weren’t necessarily in the style of the company to whom I was pitching.
There are many niches in photography, but one we don’t talk about often is taking product photos. Even though these types of shots don’t fall under the professional umbrella — we’re not talking professional product photography, just product shots for an online store — almost everyone at one time or another has had to sell something on eBay or (not for the faint of heart) Craigslist.
And so, we thought we’d share this short “how to” video that Jessica Marquez of Miniature Rhino put together for Etsy. It offers beginners a few basic tips that can help take your product shots (and hopefully sales) to the next level. Read more…
Photographer Nick Fancher tells us that he recently came up with an interesting way of customizing the catch light in subjects’ eyes. If, in your portraiture, you place white or black foam boards to control the amount and direction of bounce light, you can also use white and black gaffers tape to control what goes on in your subjects’ eyeballs!
David Hobby over at Strobist shares a fantastic idea for photographers who would like to always have some gaffers tape handy at all times:
So we are gonna make a gaffer’s tape keychain fob [...] That right there is 40″ of gaff, effortlessly carried by default, at all times [...]
No, no, no. While duct tape may in fact be more manly, gaff is what duct tape wishes it could be. And it is what photographers use because of its holding power and ease of clean removal. Don’t ever mistake the two.
All you’ll need is a paperclip, a wooden pencil, and a larger roll of gaffer’s tape. Head on over to Strobist to read Hobby’s step-by-step tutorial.
Genius: Make a Gaffer’s Tape Key Fob [Strobist]
Image credits: Photographs by David Hobby/Strobist
My wife Tori and I are suckers for a good silhouette. While out photographing, we are always scanning the environment for a good silhouette opportunity. We don’t nail every attempt, but over the past few years, we’ve picked up some simple tips that increase our chances of achieving a killer silhouette shot. If you want to execute a jaw dropping silhouette, put these tips to practice and chances are, you’ll accomplish your goal!
Big bulky cameras can be pretty intimidating when they’re used to photograph young children. For a cheap and simple way to make yours a little more child-friendly, consider using a PEZ candy dispenser as a fun, attention-grabbing hotshoe accessory.
There’s a reason that most of the foods you buy never look like the photos used to advertise them. Food photographers and stylists have all kinds of random tricks up their sleeve for making food items look picture perfect. Here’s a list of various household products that are commonly used to make dishes look more appealing. A warning, though: you might lose your appetite.
There are many things a photographer has to take into consideration when composing a phenomenal picture, but one that you don’t often think about is perspective. In an educational article over on National Geographic, photographers Cary Wolinsky and Bob Caputo — who have a combined 64 years of experience shooting for NatGeo — talk about how important it can be to “Get Some Perspective,” sharing some helpful tips and tricks they’ve come up with along the way.
It’s good to have a little perspective–to know where you stand and just how big (or small) your world and the things in it are. Most pictures we see include something we recognize–a person, a house, a car, or something else that we already know the size of. Like leaves. We think we know what size leaves are. And usually we’re right [...] But photographs can be deceptive, especially in this age of easy photo manipulation.
Check out the entire article, complete with examples, over on National Geographic. And when you’re done there, head over to Wolinsky and Caputo’s website PixBoomBa for more helpful (and oftentimes funny) photography tips.
Get Some Perspective (via Reddit)
Image credit: Mr Toad by -RobW-
One tip that instructors often pass onto the beginning photographers is to use their dominant eye (i.e. the eye they prefer seeing with) to look through the viewfinder. If you want to find out which of your eyes is the dominant one, here’s a quick test you can do: extend your arms straight out and form a small triangle with your hands. Looking through the triangle with both eyes open, frame something nearby (e.g. a doorknob) and place it in the center of the triangle. Then close your eyes one at a time without moving the triangle — your dominant eye is the one that placed the object in the center.
Interestingly enough, many people (myself included) choose to use their right eye for their viewfinder even though the left one is dominant — likely because it’s the way they started shooting from the beginning.
If you’re planning to hang a bunch of picture frames on a wall, Marissa Waddell of Roost suggests laying them out on the ground to figure out frame placement. Once you’re happy with how the frames look, simply take a large sheet of wax paper and outline the frames. The paper can then be used as a guide for where to hammer in nails on the wall, giving you the exact layout you came up with.
Another Take on the Gallery Wall (via Lifehacker)