In this instructable I’ll go over how I edit my photos for my instructables and for the products in my Etsy store. I don’t spend a ton of time doing it, but I ALWAYS do a little tweaking on my phone or computer. There are quite a few quick and easy ways to edit your photos and make them look great!
Whether you’re using a cellphone, a point and shoot or a DSLR camera, it’s always a good idea to edit your photos. Just a few simple tweaks can take your photos from meh to amazing!
With the amount of projects we get posted on the site every day, basic photo editing will help your projects stand out and get noticed. This is especially important if you want to get your project featured to the front page and end up in contest finalists. 😀
Step 1: Start With a Good Base Photo
Above are four photos, all taken with the same camera and completely unedited.
Clockwise starting with top left:
- indirect daylight (taken next to a window) – ohhhhhhhhh yeeeeeaaaaahhhh that’s good
- inside with overhead lighting (no flash) – see how washed out the colors are?
- inside with overhead lighting (with flash on) – lots of sharp shadows and bright spots, colors are strange
- inside with overhead lighting (no flash, no tripod, shaky hands) – eek! not even saveable.
See what a huge difference nice indirect sunlight makes?
Before you start photographing a project, make sure you think about how you want to photograph it. If you take bad photos, it will be harder to rescue them during editing. While you can always tweak the brightness, contrast and saturation, you probably won’t be able to fix blurry photos, extremely dark photos or photos taken with a bright flash as easily.
Here are the basic rules I follow for taking photos:
- natural, indirect sunlight is always best. Document during the day near a window if possible.
- If you don’t have a good indirect light, try using a light box or two to three diffused lights.
- Try to avoid using the flash if possible – if you have the option on your camera use a flash diffuser instead.
- If you’re taking detailed and up close photos make sure to use the macro setting on your camera. This tutorial will walk you through it!
- In you’re shooting in low light or you have an older camera – use a tripod! Older cameras tend to not have any sort of stabilization feature, and low lighting is always where camera shake shows up the worst. I have both a tabletop tripod and standard tripod for this reason.
- Clean up the area you’re shooting in! Try to keep the surface you’re working on and the wall behind it nice and clear (or at least organized) if possible. If not, take process shots in another location. You want your project to be the focal point.