So I've thought about writing this post for some time now, but wasn't sure if it would be particularly helpful. Based on some complaints I've been reading lately, I've decided that it might be of use to some people, especially bloggers who photograph their crafts and food creations.
Jenny took this picture to show how dark it was while I was taking these pictures of my whipped body butter. The sun had just set at this point, which where I live in Colorado means that it was completely behind the mountains and giving me no direct light whatsoever.
You Need this Tutorial if...
-you take a lot of pictures of non-moving objects (not people)
-you don't think you have enough sunlight to get decent pictures.
-you have given up hope of having really great pictures, or are holding out for a SLR camera. (Personally, I have an Olympus SP-320)
What You Need
-First thing's first, if you don't already have one, get yourself a tripod. I know, I know... I really resisted using a tripod when I first started taking pictures for the blog too, but let me tell you, now I couldn't live without it. This Sunpak Tripod is pretty similar to what I have and right now it's only like 16 bucks. I'm not sure how long that price will last (looks like it's regularly $48), but this tripod is $18. I wouldn't suggest spending more than 20 bucks or so.
-You might also need your camera's manual. If you can't find the paper version, try looking for it online.
Settings To Acquaint Yourself With on Your Camera
-Self Timer (usually looks like this)
-Flash (looks like this)
What To Do
-First of all turn off all the lights in the room. Most light bulbs will give an off color to your photos. It's better to have just a small bit of natural light than a whole bunch of yucky light.
-Now turn off your flash. You may think you need it, but the light from the flash is no good. So push the flash button till you see this icon.
It took me the longest time to realize that it was the flash that was making so many of my pictures look crappy, producing harsh colors and shadows like this.
-Now attach your camera to the tripod. In Auto mode, your camera will automatically leave the shutter open long enough to let in enough light. Unfortunately, in low light conditions, this will be much too long to hold by hand and will be super blurry.
See how much better the color is without the flash, though.
-Now put the camera on Auto Mode, set the timer (it'll prevent any movement that occurs when you depress the shutter button) and take the picture.
Now I'm not saying that this is the best picture I've ever taken, but considering how dark it was, it's pretty fantastic.
Obviously, the more light you have, the better picture's you'll get. This is a pretty extreme example.
I am occasionally shocked at how nice the pictures turn out when I use this method.
The sun was pretty low, with just a few rays of light making their way through the window when I took this one of my margarita jello. I think this was the first time I realized that I could get pictures with just about any bit of daylight.
And here's another one of my favorite food shots, taken about a half hour before sunset.
So, was this helpful info to anyone, or do you all do this already?