Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's News and Tips: Photo Composition

Taking an amazing photograph that will cause customers to want your product is a mystery to most of us. However, one basic issue in photography that will help you take great pictures is composition.

Do you remember writing compositions in school? A composition was made of different parts - six to seven complete sentences to a paragraph, three to five paragraphs, and so many words. A photograph is like that too; only what you are composing is visual not written.


Photographs are the essence of your shop, so your product photos should match your branding, or theme. Be sure to check the background of your photograph, especially if you are outside or taking your photo inside using parts of a location for your shot. For example, if you decide to take your photo inside your house, make sure the elements in your picture go with your product. You could prop up a group of books that you are selling with bookends. Put a cookbook on a kitchen countertop. Put a soap dish on a bathroom sink.

Make sure your background fits as well. For instance, if Aunt Molly walks out of the bathroom and appears in the product photo of your stuffed animal just as you click the shutter, scrap it, take a deep breath and try again. If you are outside, make sure trees, bushes, clothesline poles, light poles, etc., are nicely placed in your photograph if you use it. You do not want a light pole jutting out of the head of the model wearing your beautiful shawl. That will distract from your product as people snicker and click on something else. Consider using depth-of-field characteristics to soften and blur backgrounds to reduce distractions. 

Fill your photograph

You will not have to worry about light poles if you fill your product photo with your product. I saw this photograph today by Tanya of Silver Spoonful while I was posting treasuries on the blog. It  illustrates my point. 


Tanya fills her photograph with what she is selling. She has also done a nice job with her props. You can tell by the dish in the background that the silverware is on a table - exactly where her silverware, which is specialized for a bride or groom, will be if someone buys them.

Rule of Thirds

A common rule used in photography and in art is the Rule of Thirds. This means that the important parts of your picture will fall where invisible lines in your picture intersect. 


According to Photography Tutorials, "Using the Rule of Thirds helps produce nicely balanced easy on the eye pictures. Also, as you have to position things relative to the edges of the frame it helps get rid of ' tiny subject surrounded by vast empty space' syndrome."

You can see this rule in action by looking again at Tanya's wedding silverware photograph. 


Her fork fills most of the upper two thirds of the photograph so her customers can see the design she created on it. Your eye falls there naturally. If she had laid the fork flat alongside the other piece, her design would have been lost as your eye searched for the intended subject. Notice that her fork tines end in the upper left-hand third of the photograph. That is a nice touch. It shows how her design looks in relation to the fork. The piece lying next to the fork shows what the bottom of the fork looks like. In this way, Tanya can show potential customers what her complete fork looks like without laying it flat. Following the rule of thirds added dimension to this product photograph. 

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