There are many sources, both free and paid, for images you can use on your website, in your ebooks and for other projects. However, sometimes to get the perfect picture there is no better option than doing it yourself.
Taking your own photographs allows you to get the exact angle, lighting and image that you’re looking for. Not only that, it eliminates any possibility that you will be sued for infringing on someone’s copyright with that image you grabbed from Google Images.
Think you don’t have the skill to take good photos? Here are a few tips to help you get the right shot.
Use a simple background. To make the object you are photographing stand out, reduce the background distraction as much as possible. Use a backdrop, such as a piece of fabric or a large sheet of paper, to give you a plain, uncluttered look.
Take a close up shot. When you are close to the object you are photographing the image will be sharper. Get in close and use the macro setting on your camera if necessary. The background may be a little blurry, but that’s OK–you want people to see the object you are photographing, not the background.
Get off center. A common rookie mistake is placing the object right in the center of the photo. Boring! Put it off to the side. You might even want to leave part of the object out of the picture.
Get the lighting right. Lighting is possibly the most important element of your photo. Natural light is best, so consider going outside to shoot. Have the light source behind you, not the thing you are photographing. And watch out for shadows. Avoid lighting causes a color cast on the image, unless that is the effect you are going for.
Put yourself at the level of the object. You can make an “artsy” photo by shooting from above or below, but for most images you want to put yourself and the camera at the same level as the object you are photographing.
Buy a quality camera. For online images, many inexpensive cameras and even a good smartphone will provide a satisfactory image. I have gotten some great photos with my iPhone 4. For really great images, consider investing in a good camera. Although many high-end cameras are priced in the thousands of dollars, you can get a quality camera for just a few hundred dollars. If you do a lot of photography, especially if you take photos for your eBay auctions or etsy store, a good camera will pay back your investment.
Take a lot of photos. It costs no more to take 100 digital photos than it does to take one. Take a lot of photos from various angles with different lighting. Try composing the shots in unique ways. You can easily flip through the images, delete the ones that don’t work and choose the best image or images for your purposes.
Learn photo software. Even the best photographers use photo editing software to make their photos even better and to add effects. Whether you use free software that came with your computer or you downloaded online, or you buy Photoshop or other expensive programs, you will need something to crop, resize and adjust your photos. I use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for complicated edits, but for simple, everyday editing, I love IrfanView. It is free to download, but if you decide to use it the creator asks for a €10 (currently about $12.50) donation. It is well worth it.
With a little practice, you will see your photos get better and better.