Today I’m sharing some photography tips (and a little of “what’s in my bag”) that I’ve learned over what seems like a lifetime of taking photos! Just a little background.
I’m old enough to have shot with film prior to digital cameras. In pursuit of my art degree at college I took a couple of classes and since my roomate was a photography major our bathroom was also a darkroom where I learned a bit of that process (and the scent is something not to forget:~}}
Photography Tips For Achieving Gorgeous Still Life Photography & Products
- Capturing What You Want
It’s a process and there is a learning curve, but if you put the time in to practice and then practice some more (and more again) you’ll begin to see the results quickly. Just do it…rinse and repeat over and over!
Let’s start indoors.
- Location For Light
I’m a natural light photographer by preference and the first thing that I generally do when shooting products, styling a room or shooting for a magazine piece is to look for a great source of light. However, even if you shoot indoors next to a window the weather may not cooperate and you may have to play with your camera settings to adjust for that. Try to learn to shoot in manual! On DSLR cameras automatic photos just look so flat and to look good on the internet you will likely have to heavily edit and lighten them up. There are many great guides to learn to shoot manually,YouTube videos, and CreativeLive with FREE on~line classes (and paid courses) that are fantastic!
A couple of books that helped me tremendously are these…especially when it comes to learning about all important light in photography:
A good tripod can really be your friend when shooting indoors. I shoot with a full frame camera and my tripod is pretty heavy duty, but you may not need that so shop around for what suits your needs and budget. When shooting indoors you may need a longer exposure, so a tripod is definitely something that you’ll want to have for clear and crisp shots.
- Setting Up Shots
Once I have my location set for the shoot (preferably by a window!) I’ll take a few test shots. Sometimes I’ll use my smart phone and take a few shots to see how things look, but I prefer to set things up in “live view” mode. That allows you to see live what you’ll be taking a photo of. If something needs to be moved it’s helpful and can save time in shooting photo after photo only to notice that your cat’s tail is in the shot! If you have someone helping you with the styling, live view is a great tool and allows you to be a big time director.
Admittedly I don’t always take the time to shoot tethered, but if I’m shooting for publication or print I find it so helpful. You will need to have your laptop close by and connecting cables to use between the camera and the computer. Shooting tethered I capture my images directly into Adobe Lightroom and can view each image as it comes in and then adjustment in Adobe Photoshop. You can also use PicMonkey, which has less of a learning curve and has a free version.
- Tack Sharp Images
To obtain the sharpest images possible use either a remote control device (very inexpensive) or if you do shoot with Lightroom use the shutter button shown on your computer as it’s own remote. This will help to avoid camera shake and image blur. If your lens has the option of turning off image stabilization you’ll want to do that as well when using a tripod…
Some Camera and Lens Recommendations…
When I first made the move from film cameras to point and shoot and then to my first DSLR, I used a Canon Rebel. Both of my daughters have the Canon Rebel and LOVE them and they are budget friendly and a great crop body camera for learning and easy on the budget!
I’ve progressed over the years to several camera bodies and Canon has great resale value. I now shoot with a Canon 5D MKIII, which is a full frame, but a less expensive full frame camera that gives great results is the Canon 6D.
I have several lenses in my bag for various purposes, and if you are just starting out a great all around lens would be a 50mm and they can be quite affordable (less than $100) and versatile. My own favorite “go to” lens is a zoom for shooting both indoors and out and is the Canon 24-105mm F/4 L, and I’ve used it for years and it’s what I generally use for the blog. Workhorse!
Practice and Read
Don’t be afraid to learn new techniques and reading books on photography is a great way to understand the process. Mistakes help you learn and once you start you won’t want to stop!
This post has some affiliate links meaning that should you make a purchase I receive a small commission and you pay nothing extra.
Susan Duane says
Great info! I'm still using my 50D. I use my 50mm a lot. Thanks for sharing all your tips!!
Kim @ Savvy Southern Style says
So glad to see you mention the canon 6D since that is what I just purchased last month. I'm loving it. I need to get a new tripod since I have a rather cheap one, but it was fine with the rebel, but the new camera with the heavy lens needs a stronger tripod. I also got the Scott Kelby book when I bought the rebel.
DD's Cottage says
Great tips Janet–I need a better camera!
thanks for this. and I too, need a better camera. I'm not good at this.
Sister Patty says
Oh Janet, this post is SOOO timely!!! I love my Nikon and just need to jump in and NOT select the general settings. My goal for the year is to have an online store — your input has helped me SOOO much!
Thank you so much!
[email protected] Designs says
Great tips Janet…I find it hard when you have to lean in get in certain positions to get shots with a tripod….If you ever have a photography class, let me know…I will book it down there!!!
I always appreciate new photography tips and have always admired your gorgeous photos. I'm currently waiting for my new lens to arrive and will finally attempt using my tripod that had been sitting in a corner for years, now. I really wish that I could find a local class without having to drive an hour to find one. I should check out one of the books that you recommended. Thanks for the tips and beautiful pics for today!
Botanic Bleu says
Thank you for all the camera advice. I use a point and shoot Olympic, but have been considering upgrading to a better camera. Your advice about which lens you use is very helpful to me trying to decide which lens to begin with.
White Lace and Promises says
You pictures are beautiful. The tips are great. A tripod would be best for me. I bought a nice camera once and sold it because my hands tremor and all of my pictures were blurred anyway. Any suggestions for that problem. You are great and I always love seeing what you do especially because I love all the shabby chic.
Rosemary and Thyme says
Great tips for us bloggers. I am always looking for ways to improve my photo skills. I have to look into the YOUTUBE classes and the books you mentioned. I also want to learn about blurring objects. Thank you for the information.
Sam @ Living The Dutch Dream says
Thanks for the tips, very helpful. I only have a cheap camera but you are right the tripod makes a massive difference.
Erlene A says
These are great tips and I'll have to check out some of your links to classes. I'm going to finally upgrade this year, so these tips are helpful for a newbie.
Rebecca Mclellan says
Your photos are fabulous. And I sure need the tips too as I'm very photo challenged. Thanks for sharing.
Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia says
So many great tips, thank you, I really need to start using my remote! Your photo's are stunning as always!
Sarah Moore says
Thanks for the great tips! I just bought my first dslr a few months ago and I'm still muddling my way through figuring it out. =)
Sandra Lee says
So many great tips here. I bought my first DSLR last year and am still getting use to it. Admittedly, more practice is in order.
Kathryn with Heaven is Smiling Above says
Thank you for this informative post. Better photography is something I would love to learn this year. I really appreciate the learning resources you mentioned. Your pictures are beautiful. I'll be following you. So glad I came across your blog on #whimsywednesday.
Thank you for the great suggestions.
I will admit I have hit the wall.
We live in an older home surrounded by larhe trees , and I just don't have much natural light.
It has been a struggle .
I am not giving up though!
Practice Practice Practice!
Lynn at Nourish and Nestle says
Hi Janet…So, I'm still fairly newish (less than a year) to blogging, as well as serious photography. So much to learn in both areas. I'm taking a photography course at my local college and our only 'textbook' is the Bryan Peterson book. He really does a great job of explaining heretofore confusing issues. Thanks for taking the time to share what you've learned along the way.
Army Wife Quilter says
I got a Nikon Coolpicks p350 last year. I have used it a little. I am not very good at the settings. I did however use it today to take a picture of a valentine lantern swag. It turned out better than usual. because I put it on my porch and the light was better. I am going to start using more natural light when possible. what do you use for better light when it is dark out side. I will try to use the manual settings instead of all ways using auto. thanks
Stephanie Newman says
Great tips!! I struggle shooting indoors all the time and try to use manual mode as much as I possibly can.
Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty!
Ashley @ 3 Little Greenwoods says
I had got to get a good tripod! Thank you so much for all of your advice. And thanks so much for sharing your creativity at the The DIY Collective this week!
Mila Myk says
Thanks so much for sharing. I often struggle in that area 🙂
You have been featured this week at Idea Box.
Thank you for all these great tips. I need all the help I can find. Beautiful examples!
Sinea Pies says
Excellent tips! This post was very popular at our party this week and will be FEATURED at the upcoming Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop Congrats!!!
Sinea ♥ from Ducks 'n a Row
Amanda Kolb says
Wonderful tips! Shooting tethered is something I keep meaning to try, but always seem to be shooting "in the moment" lol Thank you for sharing with us at Merry Monday!
Maria Brittis says
You are a sweet heart to take time from your busy schedule to write this. I truly appreciate this imnformation. This is the area I need help.