By Jodi Wiley My photography skills are pretty basic and I'm still using my advanced compact on 'auto' - not that there's anything wrong with that - but I figured it was about time me and those fancy settings got better acquainted.
The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by photographer and crafter, Heidi Adnum, is full of useful information for the amateur picture taker. I use a lot of trial and error to take my own blog photos. A little less 'error' would be great though, which is where this book comes in. If you photograph your own products for your blog, website or online shop then this book is aimed squarely at you. But it's also great for people who keep a blog and just want to take lovely photos of 'things'.
But this book isn't just about getting to know your camera settings, although it definitely covers that in detail (the first chapter is 'Camera Basics' - light, aperture, shutter, exposure - the usual suspects) but it's a whole lot more than that. There's information on 'how to tell your story' which gets you thinking about how you want your products to be perceived. It shows how you can alter the 'feel' of your items using techniques such as composition, backgrounds, props and styling. There are also handy DIY tutorials on making camera accessories like a light box, flash diffuser and seamless background.
The main body of the book covers how to photograph just about every form of craft you can think of: Fashion and Fabrics, Jewellery, Art, Home Accessories and more. Each section also includes an FAQ with questions such as: 'My home accessories would look great featured in a beautiful home. Problem is, though, I live in a tiny less-than-photogenic apartment. Help!' Can anyone else identify? Each section also ends with a spotlight on a particular crafter. It's great to hear how actual people have solved their photography problems and improved over time. Really useful stuff.
The final third of the book goes through photo editing tutorials, image handling (protecting copyright, saving and storing, troubleshooting) and business advice.
This book is touted as containing 'foolproof' techniques for creating great product photos and it's certainly easy to understand. It's light on jargon and very readable. It's also jam-packed with lush photos of gorgeous products so it's easy on the eye too.
I'm loving this book right now. Combined with the tripod I just got for my birthday I should be taking top photos in no time! Now if only I can figure out those settings...
The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos is published by Murdoch Books.
Jodi Wiley is an artist, writer, teacher and blogger. She has written freelance articles and book reviews for magazines and newspapers, as well as education curriculum. She has has won awards for her artwork and been a finalist for several art and illustration prizes. Jodi is currently on maternity leave from high school teaching and is on a (quite frankly deranged) quest to update her blog daily: artbywiley.com