Now the rules are as follows, you have to write seven things about yourself... well, I've done a few of those before (in the sidebar at right) and truthfully I have nothing further of any interest about myself to add. Yup, I am a pretty boring person... and what is more this is not supposed to be about me, although if I do feel like sharing any little titbits of what is going on in my life I will blurt it out at there and then, but pretty much this blog is all about my sewing, knitting or general fashion-related stuff as it inspires me.
The last time I did one of these I wrote 7 things about couture sewing I had picked up from reading the excellent and highly enlightening instructions in Vogue 8333, and I decided that was a far more fun and interesting thing for people to read about than boring old me, so I decided to go down that path again... this is supposed to be a versatile blogger award, right?
So to be a bit versatile; today I shall touch on a completely different subject of interest to me and probably all bloggers like me documenting their handmade creations... photography. People have left me lovely comments saying nice things about my photography, so while I am no expert and what I know about the actual technical side of photography could be written on a pinhead with room to spare, and a real photographer might read this and laugh at my naivety; I do still like dabbling in fashion photography in my own silly small-scale way and take some pride in my photos. So thought I would just jot down a few little things about taking photos of myself and my work that I have learnt along the way.
It might seem obvious and therefore not worth mentioning, but this is a biggie. The background of your photographs is really important and there is a big difference between a background that will highlight your creations to advantage, or alternatively swamp them into insignificance.
Aaaand; not particularly vital and not something I obsess about, but I do find myself semi-consciously seeking out photo spots that will enhance my creations. I certainly don't let it get in the way of my life, but if I see a good spot around about I will often tuck it away mentally for future reference. Also, there are suitable spots, and there are unsuitable spots. Let's just say, if I have made some new bathers then I will pick a day I am going to the beach to bring along my camera. And if I am photographing say, a beige dress, then it's probably best not to sabotage my creation by standing in front of a beige background.
Take these two examples, two pictures of the same dress. Below is one taken before I had grasped that a contrasting background would show up my dress better. Below that, I had started to twig that an attractive setting might make a difference. Which do you think is the better picture?
2. Natural light vs. Flash
A tricky one. I reckon natural light is far superior if you can get it. I haven't yet taken a photo of myself with a flash in which I didn't look terribly ill; on death's door even. Or at least ten years older than I am... so I nearly always "force flash off". But I've heard that professional photographers can do wonderful things with a flash, and I really should take the time to work out what those things are....
In the meantime, take these two examples, below is a photo taken at nighttime, with a flash. Horrible, no? Below that, the same trousers in the daylight and sans flash. Which do you think is the better picture?
3. the Direction of your light
In general, shaded outdoor light is the best for giving naturalness to your clothes, and providing a true indication of colours, textures and details. And if the light source is behind you, you will just be a featureless silhouette in front of a bright beautiful background, and no one will be able to see any details of your creation at all. Take these two examples... below I took this photo without thinking enough about direction of the light. Below that is a similar outfit, taken in the shade. In which can you see the details of the outfit better?
Black is "special". Generally speaking (without access to a studio set-up), bright or strong light is necessary to show any details at all of a black ensemble... Take these two examples, two pictures of the same dress. On the left is one taken when I thought that shaded natural light was the best option for all my photographs regardless of the colour of my garments, on the right is one taken when I had realised that black might be an exception to this rule. In which picture do the details of the dress stand out better?
I believe that a natural stance suits my personality. For me personally, the typical blogger's stance with one hand on the hip and smiling straight into the lens, is not very natural and sorta too aggressive for my own style. I did this a few times in my early days of blogging and now those photos make me cringe, because in real life I am quite shy and that sort of stance is not me at all. Now I just aim to be as relaxed and hopefully the least dorky that I can. A big cheesy grin is just not very me, although I try to smile at least a little bit in some of my photos since my husband told me I am always looking too serious. Incidentally, my posture has improved outasight since I started taking photos of myself. I am not super tall, but I am certainly taller than most of my friends, and I think that was making me slouch. I could see that in my earlier photos and I've stamped that out. That is one area I can definitely say where blogging has really improved my life!
Take these two photos; below is early blogging days. A dreadful and cheesy pose, right? Below that, a similar outfit but I think my posing and my posture has improved enormously and is a lot more natural.
well, again a biggie. I've found that the most flattering angle for a photo is when the camera is situated quite low, say at low hip height, and certainly no higher than waist height. The worst angle is if somebody taller than you is taking your photo, from their full height, and one ends up looking munchkin-like up into the camera... with a big head and tiny weeny little feet down below. This isn't because you actually have a big head and teensie weensy little feet, but is just how it looks from the perspective of the camera. Do yourself a favour (as Molly would say), and if a tall person is taking your photo get them to crouch down to squatting height. Or get yourself a tripod and open for yourself a whole new world no longer to subject to the whims of your family's photo-taking willingness nor availability...
Take these two examples, two pictures of the same dress. On the left is a picture taken by my son at his full height in the days before I had worked out how to take my own photos, on the right is one I took myself with my camera on a tripod at hip height. Which has the better perspective? (the two photos of my black dress above have exactly the same issue!)
I usually zoom out as far as possible when taking my pictures, reasoning that I can always crop later if necessary. This is a better option to the alternative, ie taking a few pictures only to later see that your head has been chopped off. Take these two pictures, below is the unadulterated photo. Of course you can see only rock and sky (I agree, this might be preferable...), but the dress is a tiny no-detailed speck in the midst of rocks. Below that is the one I used in this blog. It is exactly the same photo but cropped to show off the details of the dress.
Don't let the beauty of your background overwhelm you!
This is the biggest for me. Often I am so smitten by the beautiful locations I take my photos in I don't want to crop anything out. But it is better to be ruthless since I am trying to show off the details of my creations and not just a lovely location... below is the uncropped photo. Then the cropped version; well, now you can actually see some details of the skirt!
(On a side-note, I've noticed lately that I usually crop the picture to place myself off-centre, often in the third portion. I'm not sure why, except that it seems to be visually more pleasing than if I'm right in the centre... what do you think?)
Now, I am passing this award on to some other blogs that I like reading... your mission should you choose to accept it:
Ana, of Stepalica
Andrea, of Fabric Epiphanies
Caroline, of Church Sexy
Shannon, of Mushywear
Tanit-Isis, of Tanit-Isis Sews