Tip #4 How to get along with your camera from Teresa Sullivan of Photographing your Craftwork
If you have a digital camera, there is no such thing as wasted film. The best thing to do is to take a bunch of pictures of—anything, whether it’s a person, a tree, or your artwork. Do a bunch at the automatic settings until you get bored. Don’t delete any pictures until you load them onto your computer. You want to see the good, the bad and the ugly, not just the good. Download the images and see if you like them. You can always delete them from the computer; it’s good if you have some idea as to why that image stinks. Make a folder of the images and mark it “auto settings” or something to that effect.
Then keep the camera on auto and take pictures of your work. Shoot on a sunny day outside in the sun, on a sunny day outside in the SHADE (it will look different than in the sun), on an overcast day outside, on a rainy day on the porch, inside with flash, inside without flash, etc. To keep track of which is which, take a scrap piece of paper and write “sunny day in the shade” or whatever applies, since when you download the images you’ll want to know which is which. Keep a file of unaltered, un-photoshopped images, and copy the file so you can play with altering/improving the copies and compare to the originals.
Send the pictures to your friends and family on their computers, and look at the images on their computers, if possible. You’ll get a feel for how much a color can change just from being shown on a different monitor.
If you want to continue discovering what your camera can do, take it off the auto setting and turn the dial around to other settings. You won’t waste film, so you have nothing to lose. If you want to know what setting produced which image, include the scrap paper with the setting written on it in the image itself. If you have a great looking image you’ll be glad to know how you got it so you can do it again.
There’s nothing like actually taking your camera out and clicking the shutter to de-mystify it. Do this before you read the online forums on cameras and helpful stuff. Look up your camera and tips on cameras online AFTER you fool around with your camera—now that you’ve become a bit familiar with it, the information you read will make more sense. You’ll get specific questions answered that you thought of when you were experimenting.