Practice Makes Perfect

As an artist selling online, photographing my artwork is of the utmost importance because the images are all that people see. Quite luckily, my drawings scan really easily, but for some items, a scan just isn’t enough.

Last year this time, I was really struggling with photography—I loathed it, and every time I pulled out the camera and went forth to photograph some pieces, I got frustrated. Over the months, I’ve kept at it out of necessity, and I’ve gotten to a point where I feel the photos aren’t half bad, and I even have moments where I enjoy the process.

I didn’t realize exactly how much things had changed though, until recently when I noticed a few photos I took at this time last year, photos that were still in my shop, and I was appalled by them. While appalled is generally a negative word, this time it was followed quickly by a positive response because I knew I could take better photos now. Today I took it upon myself to start redoing some of those old, crummy photos, and I’m quite happy to share the results.

Last Year:

This Year:

Living Well Mini Prints/Postcards

Last Year:

This Year:

Little Reminders Mini Prints/Postcards

Last Year:

This Year:

You Fill Me Up Card Set

Last Year:

This Year:

Patterned Anatomical Heart Card Set

All I have to say is: WOW. I’m no expert, but there’s quite a difference here. One of the main differences is the quality of light—I’ve gotten much better with this in my photos (thank you photoshop+practice+a simple box made out of white foam board which I shoot photos in to get more even light). I’ve also just experimented a lot and discovered that the most interesting shots aren’t always the most straightforward—different angles make a BIG difference. Duh . . . I knew this in a more fine art photography arena, but seemed to have forgotten it when photographing my work. I can’t wait to see where more practice takes me next year! Yay for progress!

If you’re struggling with this process too, here are some things I’ve learned so far. Some are very obvious, but are good to be reminded of:

1) Try and try again! Different light conditions, different places in your home or yard, different backgrounds, different settings on your camera, different Photoshop tools . .

2) As everyone and their mother, sister, and brother say: natural light is best. From my experience indirect sunlight is the very best. I use the aforementioned white foam board box to help this along—I put it out on a table in my yard and put small items in it to get even lighting. (email me, or leave me a comment if you’d like to know more about constructing one). If you have a sunny room in your home, even better.

3) Become friends with Photoshop, or some other graphics software. I’m not very in love with Photoshop, but the “auto tone” function is a very dear friend of mine—it turns blah light into something spectacular, nine times out of ten.

4) Go easy on yourself. Just do your best right now and know that with practice and time, you’ll get better—trust me—and then you’ll be able to write a blog post like this and embrace the learning curve.

{Psst: All of these items are for sale in my shop—you can see them all in the card section}

5 Responses to “Practice Makes Perfect”

  1. 1 Pica January 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Wow, that IS a difference!!

    Looking good. I’ve been tested hard by photographing yarn this year…

  2. 2 Jenny January 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, Nicole! Your new shots are fantastic! There’s more than a simple message here… talk about learning to grow and change and learn and know that even the past can sometimes be re-done. Thank you for sharing!

  3. 3 Clara January 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Huge difference in your photos. Thanks for showing the contrast. I’d love to hear more about the construction of your foam-board light box. Perhaps a photo and post?

  4. 4 Mike McLaren January 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    This year’s photo are great. I spent a lot of time in Photoshop with the photos that my wife uses on Etsy. My man problem is finding a camera that I can afford to get good pictures so that I don’t have to work so hard in Photoshop. (I dig the Anatomical Heart drawing.)

  5. 5 Kerri January 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Natural light is the only way! You have improved so much! Don’t you love it when that happens :)

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Hello there! My name is Nicole K. Docimo, and I am an artist and writer from the U.S.A. but currently residing in Zurich, Switzerand. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Some Thoughts

"Be thirsty for the ultimate water,
and then be ready for what will
come pouring from the spring."

{from "Joy at Sudden Disappointment"
translated by C. Barks.}

~This Work ~

Unless otherwise noted, all images and writings on this blog were created by me, Nicole K. Docimo aka Blue Bicicletta. If you would like to share anything you see here for inspirational purposes online, I just ask that you kindly let folks know where you found it. If you are wanting to share/reproduce any of my work in any other way, or have any questions about how you will be sharing the work in relation to copyright, please contact me directly at nkdocimo {at} gmail {dot} com. Thanks!

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