Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Picture This" - Photographing Layouts

Let's talk about photographing our layouts. I prefer to photograph my layouts instead of scanning them for uploading to my scrapbooking sites. There is a trick or two to doing it well. Let's go over some basic rules:

1. Do not stand over your layout and photograph
2. Do not put your layout in direct sunlight and photograph
3. Do not use your camera's flash - EVER

So, what should you do?

1. Get your layout at eye or tripod level. I tape my layouts to the wall to shoot them. I use basic scotch tape because it doesn't hurt the paint on my walls or my layouts when I remove the tape. You want to put some tape at all four corners and place it on the wall at eye level. If you have a tripod, then place it at tripod level. This helps you shoot your image as straight on as possible and without shadows. It's impossible to stand over a layout and shoot it straight without getting some sort of shadowing.

2-3. You never want to use your flash or direct sunlight to photograph a layout. It will cause glare, shadows and make the color wash out. I recommend using a low light lens, I love my 50mm, and putting your layout on a well lit wall that is not in direct sunlight. You will want to allow as much light as possible into your lens, so use a low aperture. If you have a home that has little light during the day, you can shoot your layouts outside. The best times are early morning or late afternoon because the light is softest. Find a wall on the outside of your home that isn't in direct light and hang your layout there to shoot.

The last and most important part of photographing your layout is the editing process. I have two quick tips for photoshop users (I only know photoshop, but if you know another program feel free to comment on how to do these tips in that program.)

1. There is a nifty little feature called "perspective". You want to click in the box and "check mark" this tool. What this does when cropping an image, is allow the crop lines to bend. You will be able to move each corner of the crop box to fit each edge of your layout exactly. Do this on all four corners, then hit return and you will have a perfectly straight image with no background.

2. A quick way to fix color on a layout is to use your "auto contrast" feature. With your image open, click on "image", then on "adjustments", then on "auto contrast". This will sharpen up your image and help the colors pop. There are much better ways to do this, but for a quick fix, this works well.

Be sure to take lots of pictures of your layouts and practice. It's fun, quick and easy.


Stacy said...

Great topic and tips Lori!!

~*Heather Woodbury*~ said...

These are cool tips, Lori. I did not have good results taking pix of my pages and gave in on scanning and 'stitching' using PSE. I don't think I have good enough lighting to get good pages and I don't have PS. I LOVE that crooked crop tip.

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Anonymous said...

I will definately have to try this as I think you may be trying to tell me something about my not so perfect layout shots. Thanks for the tips. I will try and get better and keep the rug from showing through like a 3rd background.