Another Hard Lesson For a Hardheaded Girl

I’ve heard over and over how “if it looks easy, it was probably hard to accomplish.” This applies to music, painting, writing, and pretty much all of the arts.

The answer, then, is always practice. And then practice. And then practice some more.

I recently procured a light tent and have been learning how to shoot stock images. It’s a great outlet for photography and occasionally, if you build up a good inventory, you can make a couple extra bucks at it.

So I thought I’d try my hand. I did my first submission of ten to the online stock photo company I’d chosen, and all but one were summarily rejected.

I was told that most “were not commercial”…meaning I’d submitted arty stuff and not “hey that would look good on a brochure” stuff.

Ok. This calls for expanding my horizons a bit. A streeeeetch to my current knowledge.

So I’ve been practicing. And struggling.

I have spoken with a professional photographer who has a lot of success with both stock and not-stock work. She gave me great information and feedback.

She advised that making the move to add “commercial” to your “arty” repertoire is a tough one.

I had no idea how just how tough.

I keep looking at this photo and sighing. Occasionally I whimper. (I suggest clicking the photo to see the big size. In the small form to fit this blog post it’s hard to see details):

I took the better part of a hundred photos of ding-dang tomatoes in just three different poses. I fiddled with light. Lenses. Exposure. All of it. From the piles of photos from that shoot, this is one of the better shots.

And it still sucks.

The stems are out of focus (c’mon Fayeth, that’s photography 101!). The colors are muddy (gah!) and the depth of field isn’t quite right as you can still kind of see the corners of the light tent. And the way the lights are configured, it looks like each little tomato has two little eyes (this was not easily corrected by Photoshop. I tried.). GAAAAH!

So frustrating.

Turns out it takes a lot of effort to make a “simple photo of tomatoes” look like it was just simply snapped off the camera and ready to go.

What does this all mean? Well…back to the light tent I go with a new bowl of tomatoes from the back yard.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

And then practice some more.

I think the edges of my personal creative envelope are starting to ache a bit.

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  • Ur Bro

    They look evil with their glowing little eyes. Kinda like gremlins. Sorry, just saying.

  • Lucky

    I dunno, I kind of like them. They look really delicious, and while I see the out of focus parts, I think the color is very mouthwatering tomato-y. And they should be eaten, evil little things.

    I feel your pain, though. I know little about photography (I was a camera girl at a tourist trap at one point in my storied “career,” but that didn’t require much knowledge of photography), but I’ve been assigned to build a light box and start photographing the wife’s work for some eventual website/etsy (she’s a bookbinder). It’s really hard! Nothing I’ve tried works. Thankfully, bookbinding is slow, and she wants to build up some inventory before launching a site. So I’ve got time to read up and try to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Lucky – You are a very, very good spouse. A VERY good spouse.

      I’m glad to you know are adventuring down this treacherous light box path with me.

      Hope your books look better than my damn tomatoes!! :)

  • Alan

    I kind of felt like someone was watching me as I read that.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Alan – Creepy, isn’t it? Imagine having over 100 shots of the little buggers staring out at you from iPhoto.

      : shiver :

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