Thursday, October 7, 2010


Photography is tricky enough on its own. To make it even tougher on us, there is the color red. With the holidays, you can't avoid it and so, while I am no photography expert, here's what I have to offer. It's AuntKarensCreations this week that asks,

  How on earth do you take a good picture 
of a red Christmas stocking?

First thing about photographing any color or product is getting a proper set up. Natural light is a necessity and (typically) easy to come by. I take photos next to a south-facing window. If you're in the northern hemisphere this is the direction from which you'll get the most light. You'll also get consistent light from the north with less worry about harsh shadows, but work with what you've got. Avoid direct sunlight as it creates harsh shadows and can alter the color of your items in photos. On a sunny day, this may mean setting up in the corner of the room while on a cloudy day you can be right in front of the window.

My set up is very simple. I have a large piece of white foamcore board on the floor and one standing vertically oppostite the window to reflect some light back on the product. In the afternoon the sun starts to intrude upon my workspace, as you can see, and so I typically try to take photos in the morning. For someone taking photos of small items you can do this on a smaller scale. This works well for me as I have a range of product sizes.

Now you take your wonderful photos and load them on the computer for some basic editing, which I feel all images should go through no matter how good they are on their own. I use picnik and there are a few things I do to every photo. First, I up the exposure and contrast. Next, I do a little color correcting. The easiest way to do this for me is to use the neutral picker feature and select my white (or gray) background. One thing neutral backgrounds can do is pick up the color of the product. For this photo using the neutral picker took the red hint out of the white background.

For editing a red product photo, I found that adjusting the saturation is helpful as well. In my experience, red tends to photograph brighter than it may be. By lowering the saturation you're able to get the cardinal or maroon that your item might actually be. These two simple color correcting tools can lead a good photo to a great photo.



  1. very good:) I have never used picnik but I always edit each pic,, nice write up

  2. Wow what a difference! I have to laugh because I thought nobody was listening to my whining and whimpering. LOL I'll figure out where the saturation and neutral picker are on my program. You really did make it the right color!
    Thanks so much!

  3. I really like the photo of your "studio" - how simple and the description of the light coming through the window -- etc - so much easier to understand if see a visual! Nice photo editing ex's too! THANKS!!

  4. Thanks for sharing this info -your creative space looks so good! ..about taking photos of red items: I hate it -they never turn out good for me..Hugs

  5. Excellent tips! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you for the advice, I still have trouble with the color purple too