Monday, April 7, 2008

Manual, schmanual!

I hate reading instruction manuals and I admit I don't usually do it. I've gone through my life grudgingly skimming through booklets for the bare essentials on how to set up electrical equipment and luckily for me now my husband is a cover to cover manual reader. I did read the manual for my precious French press (stop laughing) coffee maker, which told me to wash it before use. I can handle that.

We bought a digital camera in 2005 before my first trip to Japan and although I didn't take the majority of photos on that trip, I've been the main camera user since I've been setting up my Etsy shop, taking pics of my jewellery and cards. I've really enjoyed developing my own photo-taking style (so to speak) and experimenting with different backgrounds and layouts.

Some people have even complimented me on my photos. I usually give credit to the camera's macro feature, absolutely essential for taking crisp pics of small objects like jewellery, or details on larger items.

When my computer crashed last month, I discovered when my photos were recovered (phew!), that I had over 6,000 photos of my jewellery and cards alone, and almost 4,000 other photos taken over the past 3 years.

10,000 photos taken and I had never read the instructions on how to properly work the camera.

Now, if you're taking pictures to post in your Etsy shop or online somewhere, you may have heard about the all-important "white balance" so that the colours in your photos are represented acurately. I've been wasting time and energy, manually adjusting the colour of my photos, when all I had to do was set the white balance to correspond with the lighting I'm under - or do a custom setting.

Here are some bracelets I've made over the last couple days, the first shot with no white balance adjustment.

And here's the second with the proper white balance.

Yup, this is the real colour of the background paper and the bracelets. Umm, could someone slap me please? Maybe slap me with the camera instruction manual.

I'm very tempted to go and reshoot so many of my photos of my Etsy shop items. I don't think I will do all that (maybe just some), but my future pictures will be better than they have been.

So all this to say, learn to use your camera's features to bring out the best in your work. Photos are the way that internet customers can get a true feel for your work, without being able to touch it and/or try it on.

It took me a few thousand photos to learn this lesson - please don't wait that long ☺


LadyK said...

hehehe, I'm off to dig out and read my camera's manual. I always adjusted mine after I uploaded them, first in the Kodak program, and then in psp7. Hmmmm

High Desert Diva said...

I think we were separated at birth.

I detest instruction manuals. I don't even know where the manual is to my camera. White balance? Greek.

Osmosis isn't happening though as far as my pictures go...hmmm

Cicada Studio said...

What's a manual?? Is that the thingy with pictures of the thingy you want to use?

I love this quote which I heard attributed to Thomas Jefferson, though I haven't been able to find the credit (oh, and I'm probably paraphrasing)

Make me read, and I will never learn
Tell me how, and I may remember
Let me do it and I will never forget.

*white balance is key! you will never look back.

W. J. St. Christopher said...

You've already learned your lesson, so I'll skip the slap -- for now.

I'm a cover-to-cover manual reader and memorizer, and never get why people won't take advantage of all that great information.

On the other hand, I'd probably never hear from my sisters if they weren't calling to ask those questions that could be answered by reading the manual!

picciolo said...

thats a lot of photos! thanks for the tips too. I don't think it helps now that most manuals are either online or on a cd, you just want to have it in your hands to refer to.
: )

Sarah McBride said...

girl, you and me both. I have a brand new camera that I am in love with and the only thing I read about was how to set the macro function.
Now I NEED to go back and learn how to set the white function. Thanks for showing me how important it is!