Sunday, 4 March 2012

Book Review: The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos

'The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos' by Heidi Adnum is a must-have addition for any online craft seller's bookcase.

Whether you take photos as an offline business producing PR to promote your handmade items or online where the photos take centre stage and can make or break a sale, this is definitely the book for you.

The book is split into sections so if you are completely new to photography and haven't even got a digital camera yet you won't feel overwhelmed. The first 25 pages of the book focus on basics such as making sure the item is in-between light and the camera, shutter speed, exposure, choosing a camera, getting to know it and the major camera modes, such as switching to 'macro' setting when you are less than a metre or so from your item.

The next 25 or so pages contain brilliant advice about the composition of photos such as backgrounds for your products and what options you have if you need a model or don't have a chic house worthy of 'Ideal home' magazine. All those questions you always wanted an answer to are in here.

Finally the 'getting started' section concludes with ideas for a homemade light box, flash diffuser and even a tripod, all of which won't cost more than a few quid.
The central part of the book focuses on different handmade items, such as fashion, bags, knitting, jewellery and art with specific tips on photographing each category. Each of these sub-sections concludes with an interview with a high profile practitioner and are very entertaining to read. They talk about how they got started, the mistakes they made and any tips they have.

Finally the third section of the book is about 'Finishing up & getting it out there'. This section is useful if you have photoshop or have already found and installed a free alternative. The only flaw in this section was the absence of a list of alternative applications to photoshop although the tutorials can obviously be relevant to others apps too. However, if you can't afford photoshop you would do well to buy this book and spend the money you do have on a good camera as you can reduce your reliance on alterations later on if you take the time to get the lighting right and have a good quality piece of kit.

Throughout the book there are photos to demonstrate various techniques and to generally illustrate it. There is a clear guide to the photographers at the back of the book and also a guide to the items featured and the websites of the sellers. I found this book worked on a number of different levels for me as a result. It wasn't just a guide to craft photography but also a kind-of magazine with interviews and also a gift guide with many luscious handmade items to look at with the websites to follow up on any items you like.

You can buy 'The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos' by Heidi Adnum here.

Thank you to Search Press for sending me a copy to review.

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