Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photographing Your Layouts (Part 1)

There are but a few simple rules to take better photo's of your cards and layouts. Today I'll focus on scrapbooking layouts, I promise to do a tutorial soon on card photo's... please note I'm no professional photographer - so laymen terms will frequent here, I hope you don't mind!

Rule 1: Natural Light!
Why would you take a photo of your creation in the dark? We want to see all those beautiful colours, the textures - not shadows! You don't need to go out and buy yourself one of these to get that effect either (although there is one on my wish list!) or a snazzy camera...
Great light is just a small step away - like the shade of your back patio for example. Direct light beaming down on your creation will wash it out - but shade is perfect. Give it a try, you'll be amazed what a difference it can make.

Other light tips:
  • Don't use your flash - just like direct natural light beaming down on your creation, it will wash a lot of your detail out or create ugly shadows. Trust me, I've been down this path many, many times. If it's night time, just wait until the morning to take your photo, it will be worth the wait.
  • Use the MACRO setting - this is usually the little flower on your settings dial. All camera's are different - so play with the different settings.
Rule 2: Make sure it's flat
Whether you're (gently) attaching your LO to a wall with blue-tack or lying it on the ground to photograph from above (see extreme example below) make sure your layout is on a flat surface, and parallel to your camera lens.

When you are looking through your view-finder ensure your layout is parallel to the top, bottom and sides of you view finder. This takes a bit of practice, but I can assure you it will make all the difference to how your layout looks in the end (less distortion - you know when layouts look lopsided?), and helps the editing process a little too.

Rule 3: Take LOTS of photo's

Everyone loves eye candy. There's nothing better than seeing little details you love about your creation up close. That's why!

Rule 4: A Little Editing Goes a Long Way
The legendary Karen Giron directed me towards a software program called GIMP, it's really easy to navigate through (well, if I can use it I'm sure anyone can figure it out) and you can download it for free here.

Where was I going with that? Well, it's what I use to edit my photo's... and I will be sharing one tip today that certainly helps 99% of my photo problems!

Here's where you'll find two key "helpers" in GIMP (red boxes):

This is really easy - you basically slide the bars up and down until you're happy with the result - now go play! You'll see what I mean.

This is what my LO looks like after I've cropped and upped the brightness : (moved the tab to the right) - eeek!
Because I've edited a gazillion pics in the past I happen to know "Contrast" will make this all better...

This is my layout after Contrast has been moved slightly less to the right than Brightness, so now I've changed the Brightness and the Contrast on my original picture.

Because the background paper was white, this is what I'm aiming to achieve here, which in theory will make the rest of my layout colours pretty accurate.

And there you have it, the first part of Photographing Your Layouts. If you have any questions PLEASE let me know by emailing me at just-add-ink@hotmail.com or leave me a comment and I'll try to help you out.

Until next time,


  1. Thanks for the info Amanda, I needed this the other night for my challenge photo..........lol. I'm off to download Gimp and have a play.
    Jane ;-)

  2. I can certainly use all the help I can get, and I really found your advice meaningful! TFS!!!