Are you frustrated by shadows, blurry images, and glares in your photos? Wish the colors or the object itself would pop a bit more? We take a lot of pictures, as you might imagine, and none with the benefit of a paid professional or expensive lighting.
Here are our tips from our own daily experiences. If you have other tips, please share at Editor@Artifcts.com, and we’ll add them to this story!
For Smaller Objects
If you want nice looking pictures for personal use (not appraisals - then you often need the pros!) and it's a movable or smaller object, we usually lay a large piece of paper on a floor or other flat surface near a window for indirect lighting and with no direct overhead lighting turned on. We bought our paper here. The direct overhead lighting is the main culprit of shadows you will cast. With a window, you can pivot where you stand to avoid the shadow.
If you don't have or want to buy plain paper, try a simple wood surface, countertop, cloth, or even a cushion or pillow.
For Larger Objects
For larger and/or immovable objects and scenarios with poor natural lighting, this is the time to grab a couple of lamps to give you more lighting control. If you do this, we recommend spending a few extra minutes taking photos of several items, so you will not need to take the lamps back out again any time soon!
Remember, it is easy to go straight from the photos in the gallery on your phone, directly to the Artifcts app. Just choose a photo (or up to 5) that you want to use to create an Artifct, select share, and choose the Artifcts app. You’ll have options to crop and rotate each photo you add as you go as well as reorder them into whatever logical order you prefer. Watch this video for more about our app ->
Now, Try Editing Your Photo
Don’t be afraid to play around with the photo. You can always cancel and revert back to the original.
And don’t buy special photo editing software out of the gate. Use the built-in features on your phone or computer to play around with images you really care about. We almost always use the built-in editor on our iPhones to play with contrast, coloring, etc., but especially the "Brightness" level.
Because everyone loves a before and after, check out this example. We adjusted the cropped area and the brightness.
Check Out Sample Artifcts
Here are a few Artifcts we created with a plain piece of paper, natural window lighting, a helpful angle, and a bit of editing with our iOS phone tools. Not professional, but not bad either!
Three Bonus Tips Before We Go
No matter what you’re photographing, or whether you are inclined to edit the photo, here are a few additional tips from our own experiences.
Tip 1: Composition can help. Pairing items together to help tell the story, like this apron and this photo + brochure, can also reduce the pressure on any one item looking "just so" in the photo. Your eye is distracted by the overall composition of items.
Tip 2: Try using low-cost, lightweight, non-damaging accessories. A small tripod can help avoid blurry images that result from poor lighting, an unsteady hand, or an object with very fine details. Depending on how you want to use the tripod, you might consider whether it has anti-skid feet, what angles it can achieve, and total height. Here’s an example. Some tripods, like this one, also include a remote, which we haven’t tested but find intriguing.
A felted or leather paperweight, to avoid damaging a delicate item, can also hold down a page to avoid including your finger in the shot! Small magnets can do the same, one on each side of a page.
Tip 3: Patterns and odd number groupings. The human mind loves patterns and essentially finds them soothing and more memorable. Here’s a playful example - Lego cars! Ditto for odd number groupings. If you have several similar items or are creating a composition, per tip one, try out an arrangement of three.
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