Sunday, 26 February 2012

How to Photograph your Scrapbooking Layouts

Ain't that something we all need to know???
Not many of us have it prefect but I have been
on an endless mission for the last 3+ years to 
get there.  You only need to hit my archives when
I first started this blog to see that I was CLUELESS
as to what I was doing.  I am vastly improved now
BUT there is still one thing I am doing wrong.

Funnily enough it has only started bothering me in the
last few months...It's like I'd never "seen" it before...
just like this article says.  Distorted perspective - yup,
got that!!  Very marginally but it's there.  I haven't
actually tested out this tutorial on my version of PSE
so I'm hoping that it will be as simple as it sounds here
when I do. I'll bullet-point my top layout photography tips.

1.  Check your layout before you start by scouring
every millimetre of it with your eye, for fluff, remnants of 
embossing powder, bits of glue, etc - have a large
 face-powder  brush kept specially for brushing off your layouts
 before you  start photographing them (You don't notice these
 little things when taking a quick look at your layout - but you 
DO notice them once you have uploaded your images - then
 you have to start again!

2.  Check your camera settings.  Shoot on manual or aperture-
priority and adjust your F-stop to the lowest number possible
without blowing out highlights.  Make sure your white balance
is set to CLOUDY and you shoot in the SHADE - there have
been a few very annoying times for me when I have
 photographed a bunch of layouts only to discover, once uploaded,
 that they were all "blue" from having my white balance set to 
"Flourescent" from shooting indoors the night before.  

3.  Adhere your layout to the wall of your house or to a pillar/
column etc (any vertical flat surface) using removable adhesive
(I use Prestik but in the UK it goes by the name of Blu-Tack,
some people call it "Sticky Stuff" - hope you all know what I
 mean - it looks like grey or sometimes blue, chewing gum!

4.  Photograph your layouts HEAD-ON.  Do NOT photograph 
them standing over them on the floor - your results will NOT be
as good and you will have problems with llight and perspective 

4.  Have a very steady hand (like me - lucky!) or use a tripod -
you do not want ANY shake at all.  Lucky for me there is 
A LOT of light where I live so I always have a huge aperture
 (a very low F-stop number) so the shutter speed is so fast
 that there is no time to shake or blur at all.

5.  Stance & Angle.  Stand with your legs as wide as you
can (like a giraffe) to stabilise yourself and get a good 
distance between you and the photo (a couple of yards
 on average) - try taking some photos closer & some further 
away too (not more than  about 1 metre) & do your best to
 make sure that you are  HEAD ON with the image - 
not shooting down or up to it.

6.  Take a lot of photos.  Typically I take about 40 images
 of a layout - including close-ups and dimension shots,
 then choose  & edit the best, and once that's done I delete the
 rest immediately.  It's all digital now so no problem with that
 -  better to have a good selection so click away! Every click 
makes you a better and more confident photographer too!!

7.  Edit your layout photos.  Start with the proportion control
(see link above), or if that's all a bit fancy for now, just use
 the  straighten tool like I have done for years!  Then use the
crop tool - set to MANUAL so you can adjust it just right - 
around the edges of your layouts - then brighten it up as much 
as you can  by adding "fill light" - then a touch of highlights 
(don't overdo this or you lose detail) and a teeny touch of
  shadow.  This will immediately pack a mean punch.  Now 
desaturate so you don't all look like you have a fake tan 
(orange) and lastly sharpen for a crisp image. Be careful 
with this last one as it will add grain if  you have a bad
 quality image to start  with so you may only be able to 
adjust slightly.  

This may all sound very complicated but I've done it so often 
I can do it with my eyes closed now (so you will be able to
 as well, with some perseverance) & if I have a whole lot of
 images taken under exactly the same circumstances, once I have
 them cropped & straightened I can batch edit them all
 together as  opposed  to individually.  You can do this all 
FOR FREE in Picasa  (and probably other free software 
programs)  well - everything  except the  proportion control, 
which you will need PSE/Photoshop for.

And there you have it - layout photography demystified.  It's
 an important skill to learn if you want to show off your layouts
 online  - you take hours to create them so you want them to
 look their  very best for the whole world to see!  Helloooo? 
 Are you still there??  Well this was rather long...
hope it was helpful!?!


Marilyn said...

Oh girl THANKS for the tips!!! I'll try it later. I only take like 5 pics of my projects. Love this!!
A big hug!! :)

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Great tips girl and I totally agree on all of them!

Marjie Kemper said...

This was very helpful... thanks, Helen! I don't have PhotoShop but will try Picasa. So far I'm okay scanning 8X10 pages but my 12X12s definitely suffer from distorted perspective (oooh, a cool new term ~ thanks!)

topkatnz said...

Good advice - I can't believe what a mess some people make with this - I, however prefer to stand over my images, straddling them, yes, just like a giraffe!heehee

Alison said...

I stand over mine too...maybe it's time to try it your way! TFS!
Alison xx

FiKenward said...

Great reading Helen, it is so so frustrating, I still can't even master my camera as of yet.

Lynnda said...

Great tips girl and I totally agree on all of them!!! TFS...hugs...xoxo

yyam said...

Definitely great pointers Helen except I don't really take that many shots of a project...or people...just trying to keep my counter low...Canon charges $300 to reset your

P/s: Make this post better by adding pics to support your text. I think people would refer to these tips a lot!

Lynette Jacobs said...

This is wonderful tips...and i really need to try them. I am blessed to have a A3 scanner...but it pushes the embellishments flat int he process.

Anonymous said...

I’m really lucky and so glad that after surfing the web for a long time I have found out this information. .

Denise Price said...

I like these informative articles that you've been doing lately, Helen. Great ideas!

sandi said...

Once again some great tips! Thanks!

Tracee said...

Great tips Helen you make it all sound so simple lol Now if only the Bristish weather would read this too!! Tx

Tina said...

Great Tut Helen! Yes, I believe I've been to the restaurant in Salt Rock - I was in S Africa back in 2005 or 2066 - can't remember now. I was there for 2 weeks with work. Too bad we didn't know each other. Maybe on another work trip ;)

dstandard said...

Fabulous tips!! Never thought to adhere the photo to the wall and shoot head on but going to try it! Hey you won an image off my blog at Designed 2 Delight - check over there and collect your free image! I picked my lucky 13 number (my birthday) and it was you!

Gayle Price said...

Thanks Helen, I sort of knew about the PS thing but that link you shared was really clear and very helpful, so thanks for the tips. xx

Matilde said...

Thanks for all the tips!

corinne de france MARCH said...

thanks :-)

Linn said...

Wonderful tutorial! I have used florescent instead of cloudy! Can't wait to try this out:)

Unknown said...

Thank You for the tips!!! I've been struggling for some time now...Yes,it's true,you work hard to perfect your lo and then the photo does it no justice! When I take my lo's to photograph them,my family wants to run away and hide...'cause I get so frustrated.....Going to try all your tips!! XO

Creative Craft Retreat said...

Oh thank thank thank you... I have trouble with this everytime. Off to buy a tripod today because I think thats my biggest downfall along with lighting and camera settings. Hugs to you for sharing this info.

The Scrapbooker's Confetti Box said...

Thanks for this great tutorial. I have learnt so many new techniques cant wait to try them.

Mariela Conci said...

Helen, I treat myself to tell you how we do it around here .. GROSSA! I love how you're talking directly to the explanations and no curse to sweeten things like directly. I adore you!

In my blog I always say you have to grow up, fall, grow .. to appear on your Scrap challenge around the world is the best way to learn from the know .. not expect to earn more than experience yet .. ! ;)

-------------------------------------- ESPAÑOL ----------------------------

Helen, me doy el gusto de decírtelo como lo hacemos por acá.. GROSSA! me encanta como hablas lo directa que sos para las explicaciones y nada de palabrota para endulzar las cosas como son directamente. Me encantas!
En mi blog siempre digo que uno tiene que crecer, levantarse, caerse, madurar.. que presentarse en tu reto de Scrap around the world es la mejor manera de aprender de los que mas saben.. sin esperar ganar mas que experiencia.. todavia! ;)

Katie said...

Thank you for the tips. I hate it when one side of my layout looks like it is curvey when i take photos its bothered me for ages.