'The Crafter's Guide to taking Great Photos' (A Book Review)
<< INTRODUCTION TO THE CRAFTER'S GUIDE TO TAKING GREAT PHOTOS >>
I bought The Crafter's Guide to taking Great Photos, by Heidi Adnum when I was looking for some advice on improving my product photography for my Etsy shop. Craft business books are often full of very pretty photographs but not a lot of practical advice but the reviews on Amazon sold me on this one.
- Price: RRP £12.99 (I purchased mine from Amazon for £9.09)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Search Press Ltd, Dec 2011
- Dimensions:</strong> 17.2 x 22.1cm
<< THE BOOK CONTENT >>
CHAPTER 1: CAMERA BASICS
A useful introduction to how light affects your product photography and technical advice on aperture, shutter, exposure and white balance and colour. It also includes information on what to look for when buying your digital camera and the common digital camera modes.
This chapter is really useful for novice photographers, or if like me, you can just never remember the relationship between aperture and shutter. This chapter explains it all in basic, easy to understand language.
CHAPTER 2: HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY
This chapter explains the thinking behind making your products look good before the photograph is taken. This is the chapter missing from most creative photography books. You know you have to make your product photographs look beautiful but how you do that and understanding why certain things look good and others don't is the hard bit!
The chapter talks about style and composition and how you use props, explaining how to show detail and texture and how you choose a background to complement your product.
CHAPTER 3: DIY PHOTOGRAPHY ACCESSORIES
This is a wonderfully practical chapter on how to make your own photography equipment on a budget! Showing you how to make a cheap light tent, light box, reflector, seamless backgrounds, flash diffuser and a tripod. It shows the benefits of each piece of equipment by showing before and after photographs which are really useful in demonstrating the affect each piece of equipment will have on your product photography.
CHAPTER 4: PHOTO FUNDAMENTALS
This chapter is broken down into sections and provides specific advice on photographing:
- Fashion and fabrics
- Bags, purses and accessories
- Knitting and needlecraft
- Dolls and toys
- Ceramics and pottery
- Books, magazines and stationery
- Home Accessories
Each category is broken down into sections on planning and setting up your craft product photo shoots including suggested camera modes, helpful equipment and lighting options.
Styling and composition is discussed with advice on backgrounds, viewpoint and framing, props and scale and styling. There is also common problems and FAQ information and a practitioner spotlight for each craft highlighted.
The troubleshooting page is very useful with a series of small photographs of the same product with various different problems and how to fix them along with two good images of the same product. Some of the problems weren't that obvious to me so I definitely learnt something here!!
While it is obviously important to read the section discussing your craft I suggest reading sections on related crafts too. For instance, you can easily take information from the Art chapter, but Books, Magazines and Stationery is also relevant.
CHAPTER 5: IMAGE EDITING, HANDLING AND OPTIMISATION AND BUSINESS ADVICE.
The editing tutorials use Photoshop Elements 9 but would probably help with other similar software. (Elements 9 is now out of date with Elements 13 being the current version). I do feel that if you have Photoshop Elements then you are likely to be able to do the fairly basic procedures described so maybe this section is a little superfluous to requirements.
The section also describes how to protect your images online and how to back them up.
The business advice section suggests to think about how you are going to use your images and how to style them dependant on these end uses. There is a paragraph each with general advice on branding, marketing and merchandising and then information on social networking and general business advice on running your craft business.
The book finishes with a glossary and details of the photographers and crafters featured in the book.
<< CONCLUSION >>
I really like this book. It is very practical and gives advice in an easy to understand way that 'normal' people can understand. It doesn't make you feel you should have thousands of pounds of equipment or a media degree to take good photographs.
It leaves you feeling encouraged to have a go at the suggestions in the book and feeling that you will actualy be able to achieve attractive, professional looking results.
The really awesome thing about it is, even though it is now a fairly old book, the advice and help it provides won't go out of date. Because it is such a practical book on the fundamentals of product photography (not trends or fads) it will be a useful addition to your bookshelf that you'll be able to dip into again and again.