How much difference does a good photo make?
Fair or not, it can be the deciding factor in making a sale, winning a contest, or gaining entry to a show. I'm not just saying that–my own experience is proof.
Years ago I submitted a design to a magazine that accepted photos rather than finished pieces. I had a lot of trouble taking a good photo and ultimately sent them a photo that wasn't great, but was the best I could do with an old borrowed camera. A swift rejection email followed. I was disappointed (okay, I was crushed), but what kept nagging at the back of my mind was the bad photo. Did the bad photo kill my chances? Was it possible that my project wasn't even seriously considered?
Eventually I decided to make a huge step (and investment) and buy a digital camera. With the new camera, I was able to learn how to do a proper close-up without taking a blurry photo. I learned to control the lighting so my photos didn't look like I shot them in the closet. The very next project photo I sent to that same magazine was accepted. I'm sure there were many factors that went into that decision and it's certainly possible that if I had sent a blurry, dark photo of the project they still would have accepted it. But that day marked a turning point for me. It didn't mean that everything I submitted was accepted from that point on, but it did mean that my photos were not holding me back.
What can you do?
Photography is a huge topic–just take a look in any book store at all the photography books on the shelves. Rather than try to write a comprehensive guide to photography, I asked photographer and beader Kirsten Creighton to identify just three simple changes that a beginning photographer could make and have the biggest impact. She chose:
1. Set a simple stage.
2. Control the lighting (and flash).
3. Focus to see details.
Free Article: 3 Simple Steps to Better Beadwork Photos by Kirsten Creighton
Kirsten's article explains these steps in greater detail, as well as shows "before" and "after" photos. I'd love to hear any additional tips or photo horror/success stories. How has bad/good photography affected you? As a viewer, has the quality of photography ever influenced your votes in a contest like Bead Star? Share your ideas on the website. If you have other questions about photography, feel free to discuss this topic with Kirsten in the forums.
Coming This Week: On Wednesday, Jean Campbell will walk you through one of her own recent at-home photo shoots for a class catalog and show you just how big a difference photostyling can make.
There will be no Beading Daily on Friday because of the July 4th holiday. (The forums will be open, of course, so please come by and get your beading fix!)