Taking Pictures Is Like Seeing with a Handicap
When you look at the world though a camera you are lowering the quality of what you see. You are literally taking on a disability. You have to compensate for that. You have to put out extra effort. Mostly you have to think about how the picture will look to the viewer, not how it looks to you. Correct for the built in flaws that come with looking through a lens. Here are a few ways you can do that with any camera:
Tip #1: Fill the Frame
If you get nothing else from this post, do this: Fill. The. Frame. That’s the easiest way to turn a mediocre shot into a good one and all you have to do is get closer to the subject. Here is an example:
The first image is the kind taken by many amateur photographers. I could put that picture on my blog and say, “Hey! I made some handspun.” But it has no impact. Its an angle and view that would be just fine… if you were actually there in person to look at the yarn. The middle picture is better but not great (more on that below). The last one is the best in this set. I filled the frame and just showed you what your mind would see if you were looking at it in person.
Tip #2: Check the edges of the frame for annoying and distracting stuff
Get into the habit of running your eye along the edges of the frame before you click. Train yourself to see all the stuff your mind is hiding from you. Like that opening in the brown board in the middle picture above. Its distracting from the subject.
Here is another example:
That purple and green granny square blanket is distracting to the eye. I wanted to show you the single on the bobbin so I moved around until that was all you could see.
(After you get into the habit of checking the edge of the frame, check the outline of your actual subject. Look for shadows. Those can distract the same way a busy background can distract.)
Tip # 3: Pictures are like paragraphs, each covers a single topic
Each paragraph has a topic sentence. Every other sentence in the paragraph is to support that topic. Take the same approach to pictures. What topic do you want your picture to have? Then take the shot that shows your topic.
The topic of the first image is : “I made a hat.”
The topic of the second image is: “The yarn works up crazy beautiful.”
The topic of the first image is : “I’m working with Noro yarn.”
The topic of the second image is: “Check out this colorway.”
A big part of taking good pictures is picking the right topic. For example, the people who come to this blog know what a basic hat looks like and they know what a yarn label looks like. I usually don’t bother showing those pictures. Its a waste of my storage space and your time. So give some thought to your potential audience, think about what they are interested in, and then start taking pictures.