Photos are big part of blogging. Getting a great photo doesn't come natural to most folks. There's a learning curve for sure. If you're a beginner and aren't sure where to start, here's a helpful post on Lighting, Perspective, Background and Camera. Since then, I actually bought a new camera that really helps me take nice pictures in low lighting. Even though I admire those who use more professional cameras, I'm very happy with my Canon powershoot, which only cost $130.
I always try my best to take a beautiful picture from the get go. But,
the fact is that most all my pictures benefit from a little boost
after the fact. Yours probably will too. For me, post production is a regular part of my process. I shoot with a digital camera, often in low lighting since I won't use flash, so my pictures always need added contrast, saturation and sharpness. If
that means nothing to you, have no fear, just read on. Since my husband is a professional photographer, we own Adobe Photoshop, which I use to process my images before uploading them to Flickr. Let's talk today about free online resources to help you photograph your fabulous craftiness!
If you are taking pictures of your work to share on a blog, by all means use Flickr! Flickr is way fun. It's a social community based on pictures. It's free. And, you're sure to be inspired by all the beauty there!
I start "processing" my pictures by choosing my favorites and deleting
the rest. Then I shrink them down to a very manageable size so that
they upload into Flickr quite quickly. I use Canon's "Digital Photo
Professional" to resize my pictures to about 600 x 450 pixels all in one
batch, saving the large originals in case I need them later. You don't
have to do this though - Flickr will accept very large images. But,
small images load quickly.
Flickr has a new built-in tool to help you improve photos. And it's free! To access it, click on your photo and choose Actions/edit photo in Aviary. I used Aviary today for the first time and it was very intuitive. If you haven't resized your images to make them smaller before loading to Flickr, you can use the Crop tool to do so. You can select the entire image so that you're not really cropping it - just making it a smaller file size, which will help your final blog post load quickly.
The first tool in the Aviary consul is Enhance. It has little stars by it because it's magical. If you aren't interested in adjusting contrast/saturation/brightness etc. individually (and you probably aren't) this is the button for you. Click on Enhance and then click "Enhance" again to make it happen. If you feel that your image is too dark, the "Night" button in the Enhance consul brightens the image quite nicely.
After using Enhance, you might be done. But, if you took your image in low lighting, it might be a bit out of focus. Use the slider on the Sharpness tool until the image looks better. Careful not to sharpen too much, as it will increase graininess and can create little white lines around the shapes in your image.
Here's a typical image of mine of some stashings from Fresh Modern Fabric, taken in reasonably good natural lighting:
Here's the improved Aviary version with Enhance and a little Sharpness. In this case, since the original photo was pretty decent, the improved Aviary version looks quite a lot like the improved Photoshop version (not shown).
Here's another example, shot yesterday in poor lighting conditions. Because it was overcast, there was not enough light for me to get a clear shot and the image is definitely not sharp.
In Aviary, I used Enhance. Then, I added the Night button in the Enhance consul to brighten the image. I added lots of Sharpness since it was blurry. To show you what Saturation does, I also used the Saturation tool to make the colors richer/brighter than they are in real life.
Looks fun, right? The image is grainy (you can see some pixelation/grain since it was a low quality image), but it's still a fun image to share. If you have a poor quality image that you really want to share, you can also experiment with Effects in Aviary to give the image a whole new life. This is the Ventura effect:
Before we move on from this image, here is the Photoshop corrected image without any bumps in lighting or saturation, just for your reference. It's slightly less grainy than the Aviary version and not overly saturated:
One last example. Here's an image I took of my floor during the design process of my latest quilt. This was a functional image, taken with artificial lighting at night and not one I intended to share on the blog. See how it has those awful glare spots from our lights? Those totally bother me. Plus, it's really blurry and lacking color/contrast. Blech.
Here's what Aviary was able to do to rescue the image with Enhance and lots of sharpness:
I still would have not been thrilled to share this image on my blog. But, it's not too bad, if it was an important image. Still, I think this version with the Indiglow Effect would have been more fun to share:
And, just in case you're wondering, I did use Aviary to put those "Original" labels on the original photos, using the Text tool.
Big Huge Labs/Mosaic Maker
One last tip, you can make mosaics with a few or LOTS of pictures quite easily by using Big Huge Labs.
Link your Big Huge Labs account with your Flickr acount so that you can
painlessly add pictures to the mosaic and publish the mosaic to Flickr,
including text that links to each original flickr image. Go to the Mosaic Maker. Have fun!
When your pictures are ready in Flickr, use the "share this" tab above
any picture to "Grab the HTML/BBCode". I copy that code into the HTML
version of my post to drop in pictures that automatically link to my
I hope this was helpful info and let me know if you have any questions!