Anyone can learn how to take professional photographs of their crafts, as long as they have an eye for what makes a strong image. These photography tips from expert craft photographer Kristi Bonney of Live and Love Out Loud are a great place to start. The blogger and professional photographer is a native Hawaiian who encourages everyone to capture their lives and what they love through images, stories and memories. From the most common photography mistakes beginners make to whether that super-expensive camera is really necessary, Kristi shares insider tips for taking your craft to the professional level.
A good photograph is properly composed, has great lighting and a great focal point that pulls the viewer in. A great photo tells a story, evokes emotion and compels viewers to think, act and question. A great photo has the power to move viewers.
What common mistakes do beginners make when trying to take photos of their craft?
The most common mistake that beginners make when taking photos of their craft is shooting from above. When shooting your craft, move around your subject and experiment with different angles. Study photos of other crafts that appeal to you and work to incorporate some of those things into your shooting.
Contrary to popular belief, an expensive camera won't produce good images. Only a good photographer can produce good images. Whether you're using a camera phone, point-and-shoot camera, entry level DSLR or top-of-the-line DSLR, you will not produce stunning images if you don't have the basic fundamentals of photography —downlight, composition and focus. You need adequate light in order for your camera to perform at its best. Composition, or the conscious placement of your subject within the photograph, is essential in creating images that are appealing to the eye. Focus is crucial, as it determines what your viewer's eye will be drawn to. Master those three things and you'll create good images, whether you're shooting with a camera phone, point-and-shoot or DSLR.
What's the best lighting for a photo? Any tips for getting that light?
When it comes to the best lighting for photos, it comes down to personal preference. I personally love shooting in natural light. Shooting during the first hour or so of sunlight and the last hour before the sun sets makes for stunning images outdoors. If you're shooting during midday, utilize shady overhangs in order to avoid harsh shadows and bright spots. Shooting indoors and want to use natural light? No problem! Simply place your subject next to a window to make the most of your available light.
Photo editing, though not always necessary, enables a photographer to make changes to her images like cropping, adjusting lighting, brightening ares in the image that have fallen into shadows, etc. If you've achieved great lighting and proper focus and are looking to produce a true-to-life image, then editing won't necessarily be all that important. If you're looking to produce an image with a more stylized effect, for instance a photo with a vintage effect, then editing will be necessary in order to achieve that. With that said, don't overdo it and be mindful of trends. While trendy editing can be fun, it's exactly that — just a passing trend.
Any common trends that you are seeing in craft photography lately?
Some of the trends that I've seen in craft photography lately have been bright, colorful images that are artfully arranged in a non-cluttered fashion. Honestly? I love that! I'm a big fan of bright and true to life editing as well as beautifully staged photos that aren't over-the-top crazy.
Image credits (from top): All images from Kristi Bonney