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Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos

Lesson 6 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos

Lesson 6 from: Craft Photography Fundamentals

Candice Stringham

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Lesson Info

6. Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos


Class Trailer

Session 1


Introduction to Craft Photography Fundamentals


What Your Visuals Say About Your Brand


How to Become a Photographic Author


How to Use Natural Light for Your Product Photography


Setting Up Your Photo: The Basic Rules


Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos


Shooting 3 Setups: Creating the Backstory with Images


Lesson Info

Becoming the Viewer to Take Better Photos

The point of this is it's okay to find a formula that works for you and to use that multiple times. I mean, you don't want it, again, all in a row, uh, because then people will be like 'Oh, she's selling out' right? But if I had this image in the spring and I have this image in the fall no one's going to be like, 'That is exactly the same' So steal from yourself. (Audience laughs) Steal from yourself, and you're good. Don't steal from anyone else but it's okay to steal from yourself. Okay, oh, we're going back. Okay so we're going back to our list. We've talked about main character, we've talked about the setting, we've talked about the mood and now we're going to talk about view or the viewer. So I like to always ask myself how would a viewer normally see the setting if they were there in real life? So, if I am sitting at my computer with my cup of coffee, I don't drink coffee but if I did, um, how am I looking at that cup of coffee on my desk? Does anyone... (laughs) From above? ...

Well if you're, if you're looking at your computer. It's right in front of you, right? So you're looking, yeah so you're looking from the side. It is slightly down, you're right. Um, but I would be, if I'm sitting at my computer I'm looking forward. Whereas if I'm reading a book and I have it sitting on the table then I really am looking right down. So I consider that when I am taking images. Like, how would people actually look at this. Um, so if you are selling something in interiors, you sell pillows or throw blankets um, or even art, you want to think about if this was in a room how would people be looking at it? And generally when I photograph interiors I photograph them sitting down because that is how people are looking at their rooms usually. So it actually feels much more comfortable to be a little bit lower in perspective than standing up. So I do always sort of consider how people are actually really looking at this in real life so they feel that immediate connection to it and there isn't like, this disconnection of what would happen in real life versus what you're presenting to your person. Okay, I also love to do before and afters if it's applicable and I feel like it'll help tell the story. So even if I only have space for one image i'll just put two together and, you know, bind them together in Photoshop and then use that as my one image. Because just this, it's not really telling anyone what it is. Its a surprise ball. All those things are inside of it. So I want them, you know, if they're going to buy this, they want to know 'What am I really getting?' So I'm going to show them the before and the after, and it will just connect with the audience a lot more and again even though this is still like a story telling styling it's actually very factual as well because it's telling them exactly what they're getting. Okay. Then I always ask myself does it need a human element? Does it feel lonely by itself without some kind of human interaction? Okay. So this is going back to that purse. There's not a person here but I know that a person is using this, right? Because I know her. It's me, you know? This is, this is my bag, minus like, a lot of kids stuff. You know? This is my bag if I was put together (laughs) the way I want to be, right? And that's what I am presenting to people. Okay, again here we, I could have just shown some apples but it would not have had the same connection to people without her holding them. It feels much more homegrown, home made, um, and its Handmade Mood so we want people to feel that. Um, and so adding in a person, even if you don't have their face, even if its you and your camera is on a timer, um, you can do that. Okay so here we're selling Valentine's to, to people who have kids that want to buy Valentine's. And these are cute, they show the front and the back um, they show what they are and what they do. You could put these sunglasses on them, and then on the back it says 'I've got my eyes on you' So they know what the product is but they're going to sell a lot better when a cute little girl is holding them. (laughs) Because they're like 'Oh yeah my daughter would look adorable bringing these to school' and they feel that connection. And then in the last case is um, if you're selling clothing I don't know about you but it's really hard for me to commit to buying something online unless I really see how it's going to fall on a person. Like, what is the actual length, how flattering is it really, um, there's some companies that do that really well now where they connect their, like, all the people who follow them on Instagram can post their outfits and then they have them on their website pages. Um, so there are ways to get around it if you don't have a model, you know, call out to your audience and let them know 'We'd love to share uh, photos of you in our clothing' and we do that at My Mind's Eye, 'We would love to share your parties, here's a style guide to how we like our images if you want to be featured. We like high-key backgrounds,' you know, and so that way someone who sends in something on black and we don't use it, they're not going to feel as bad right? Because they know they weren't really matching our aesthetic. So we are actually presenting that to people as an option. 'We would love to share it but here's our style' Um, and so, that I think is a really great way to interact with your audience. Let them know. You're literally telling them 'This is my branding' so it works really well, um, and it's been a lot of fun to do that. And I have seen since the beginning of taking over the social media the images coming in are different since we've announced that and since we've talked to people about that. Yes? Alright, well I know it's about to be shooting time, Yes. Uh so before we get into that I wanted to take a couple questions and let us know if you have any in here, grab the mic. Uh so, a lot of people are again asking about lighting. They're seeing what beautiful shots you're getting with that natural light and so, what if I live somewhere like Seattle where its gray, or what if I don't have a window, what are some of the tips that you would say to people to go out and find the light if you want to shoot with light? Yes, okay, well I don't know any house that doesn't have a window, right? Because that's illegal (laughs), so, um, (Laughs) So you have to have a way out, and if you don't have a window you at least have a door. Yeah. And doors work exactly like windows. You can open up that front door and use that. I mean, if its freezing cold and you only have a door that may be a problem. Get a screen or something. Um, but, I, every time I teach a workshop I have people tell me 'There's just not light in my house' and every time they go home after this and they're like 'I have light in my house' Exactly. So we're going to definitely present that, um, and talk about that, uh, the key is a tripod, so, just heads up tomorrow we'll be using a tripod. Um, but even then most of the time in my own house I'm not using a tripod. It's all about exposure. Um, so people will think they don't have a lot of light, but it's the way you let in that light that controls if it's bright or dark. And we're going to talk all about that. That's a great answer thank you. If you have a garage, you can open up the garage door, Yes. But I love that, it is one of the most, one of the things that people put in front of themselves as a hurdle. Yes. But you can find those solutions. I have taken pictures in my bathtub because there's a window above it. And that was where the light was the best that day. Um so, there's no excuses when it comes to light. Exactly. We'll find it for you, um, and, that's actually one of the things I love teaching the most because I feel like people just, they don't see it, Yeah. And once you see it, once we show it to you, it'll open up a whole nother world. Then you see it everywhere. Yeah. I love it, I love it. Okay one more question, um, How do you best develop a consistent look, as you were showing us about branded looks, um, when you have sort of a wide range of product and product sizes, uh, this particular viewer does handmade clay floral arrangements for cakes and home decor, so what are some of the considerations when you have a lot of different things but you want that same look? Yeah, okay so My Mind's Eye, we sell Halloween stuff, we sell Christmas stuff, we, but mostly we sell pink and mint, so, when it gets to Halloween we're like 'How do we transition this Instagram from being all pink and mint to being orange and black and have it still work for us?' And the key is, and we're going to talk about this in another segment, is knowing your brand, knowing your branding and knowing your customer, and how to keep consistent in that. And you can be selling different product but present it in a similar way. Um, and so even if the colors change, maybe color isn't your consistent element, right? Um, so if you know that that's going to change and fluctuate throughout the seasons then that's maybe not your consistent element, but maybe your consistent element is that you are always shooting on white. So no matter what you're photographing it has that white, bright quality to it. Or maybe you're always photographing on dark, so there are ways around photographing all different kinds of product, um, and feeling like you maybe can't have a consistent look. You can, you just have to find the key words for your brand and we'll talk about that in another segment.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Creating Visuals For Your Brand Assignment
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 1
Slide Presentation for Lessons Part 2
Prop List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class taught by Candice was amazing. She teaches in such a step-by-step, easy to understand pace. She shares so much of her own tips and tricks she uses to create beautiful images without spending a fortune or having all kinds of expensive equipment. Having the DSLR lessons included was really great for anyone who wants to do more than the camera phones are capable of. Learning the basics of how to use a DSLR is confusing for most people, but Candice broke it down in the simplest way possible. Social media is all about imagery, so if you want to put out the most beautiful eye-catching photos, then you want to learn how to use more than the camera phone. I don't have a business where I need to take photos of things I sell and I still enjoyed her class so much. As a photographer, I am going to use her ideas and insight when I photograph things for fun. There is so much to gain from this class. I would highly recommend taking her class. She is a wealth of great ideas and information and has that friendly personality of someone you'd want to sit and have coffee with.


A wonderful class to get you going with craft/product photography. Candice provides (and shows) fantastic examples and it's really fun to watch her work through a shoot, moving items, etc. to create the final image. She also covers some basic photography tips which is very helpful. Great class! I definitely recommend to others!

Melinda Malamoco

I loved this class! Candice is so personable, clear and relatable. I would want to hang out with her and be creative! I have been taking pictures for YEARS, and for my Etsy store for over two years, and I still learned a lot in her class. The lessons are set up in a way that you can follow, take what you want and don't worry about what you don't need. I will say that I got a TON of ideas for how to better display my brand, what my personal style is and how to be consistent with it. I so recommend this class for anyone who has small business or just wants to be able to take better pictures of their products. Okay, off to build a prop kit!

Student Work