Friday, March 20, 2009

Up for the Challenge - Part 1: The Photograph

As promised, this post is the first of a series of tutorials to help even the first timer successfully participate in our upcoming Chick's Challenges! Today I am going to walk you through how I photograph my cards and get them ready to be uploaded.

First things first. Clear your schedule. Obviously this is far more important than your paying job, the needs of your family or cleaning your house. (Just kidding - this won't take long at all - but I'm still not gonna clean my house). You're going to need a card to photograph. You can use any card at all, but this is a great excuse to go make one!

The most important step in photographing your card is natural light. Find a surface in your house near a window where you get lots of lovely sunlight streaming in. This is where you want to set up your card. Using overhead lights or your camera's flash tends to make your card look washed out and the colours can turn kinda funny.

Next you need a backdrop. White or gray are the best colours for this. I made my own little photo studio by cutting a cereal box up. Just remove all the flaps on the top and bottom, and one of the largest sides to create a tri-fold screen. Here's a pic of mine ( Jumbo Corn Pops, I believe).

I also have a vey plain easel from the Dollar Store set up in mine. I find it helps keep the distortion down, but it's really not necessary. Set up your card inside your new photo studio so that the light shines on it.

Turn your digital camera on. Use the auto setting. Turn the flash off. If you have a macro setting, enable it. The macro setting is symbolized by a little flower icon. It allows you to get nice and close without overexposing the details or distorting the frame. Get as close as you can, keeping your card square in the viewfinder and snap! Take a couple if you like - they're digital and you can choose whichever one you like best and delete the rest!

Now you want to upload the pictures from your camera to your computer. Every camera comes with it's own software and they are all different. They are generally very user friendly and will walk you through the steps. Most will give you easy steps to crop your photos, size the photos, colour correct, etc... Go ahead and play until you like the look of it.

There are only two key things to remember at this point. One, re-size your image to no bigger than 8 x 12 inches. This will help to keep the file size manageable when you upload to the internet. Secondly, you need to save this file in JPEG format. Whatever software you are using to get those pictures off your camera will have an option for this. Usually, you just select "Save As" and then you are given two blank fields. One for the name of the file which you will type in, and one for the file type which is a drop down menu with all kinds of file extensions listed. Selecting JPEG will condense your file, again to keep the size manageable for uploading. You may also be given the options for file quality - go for maximum, it's your artwork after all and you want it to look good!

That's it. Give it a try. Play around until you feel comfortable. Tomorrow, we're going to go get you a free gallery to upload that picture to!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cathy

    Thanks for the instructions. Will have to play around this weekend -- unfortunately after housework is done and at least 2 pages for an album done and no broken hands to look after!!!