Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Need some feedback

Hello Everyone!


Last year I made some changes to my light room and the way I take my photos. I added pure white base and background, extra light lamps and took out any and all props. My hope was to brighten up my photos, get rid of nasty shadows and brighten up the blog as well.

Three huge problems:

#1 - The editing process is killer! White balance is a bitch people! Every photo has a slightly different hue in the white background. Sometimes it looks pink, sometimes blue, sometimes yellow. I have to adjust the colours and balance on each and every photograph. It is so time consuming! 

#2 - The colours are just not accurate! With such high contrast with all the whites, and then all the adjustments I have to make with the white balance, the end photographs just do not represent the colours and softness of the cards I am making. It's highly frustrating!

#3 - I am losing all my details! With the whites so blown out, and a lot of the embellishments I use are white against a white background, there are so many details on my cards that aren't visible by the time I load the images onto the blog. Why bother adding the tulle or the glitter if nobody can see it!

Here's photos from my last card... they're pretty, but they don't look anything like the card in real life! The Lemoncraft papers are so wonderfully vintage and have subtle tones, and that yellow rose... isn't yellow at all, it's a soft ivory!! 



So I was inspired by my Pion teammate Ewa Mrozowska to try something like this...


Notice all the amazing details that you couldn't see before. The lacy bow off to the side, the tulle between the layers poking out all over the place! These colours are so much more accurate to the actual card itself, and the editing was so minimal, all I did was brighten the whites and crop!


Here are my concerns:

- Will all these dark photos make the blog seem dingy?
- Does the dark background make the cards look dingy?
- Is it hard on the eyes to look at these photos?

I would really appreciate some input from all of you, this is a big change and I need to know if I'm doing the right thing.

Hugs, Pamellia :)


52 comments:

  1. Ha! Ha! Your blog could neverlook dingy! I love the last photos- are you taking them in daylight? If I can't take photos in daylight I am never happy with mine! I sometimes use different colours underneath my journal pages. Hope you can decide! Hugs, Chrisx

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    1. I find natural daylight to be completely unreliable Chris, so I use daylight photo bulbs on tripods with umbrella diffusers in a dark room. I think I will change the props around too, add a little something different depending on the card. Thanks so much! hugs :)

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  2. Wow, what a difference the background makes!! I absolutely love the darker background, Pamellia!! It really showcases the beauty of the card!! Your blog doesn't look dingy at all since the overall color is white. If you had asked me before showing the two cards, I would've voted for the white. But now mark me down for the darker one!! Have a great evening, dear friend!! Big hugs :)

    Lisa
    A Mermaid's Crafts

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    1. I know right! I mean, in theory, the all white photos should be better, but I just don't feel that they are for my soft cards. Have a great night too Lisa. hugs :)

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  3. The dark background with natural light looks amazing! I was wondering why you don't take pics in natural light...I think you should definitely do the dark background.
    I got rid of my home made photo box, cause it totally sucked, and trying to get the picture to look natural was impossible. I just use natural light and there is way less editing.
    Well, I hope this helps your decision.
    Hugs
    Samra
    Paper Talk with Samra

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    1. Thanks Samra. I love the natural bulb light, it's so much better than regular bulbs and it's always exactly the same for every photo. The editing was a huge thing for me, it would take me longer to edit the photos than it did to make the card! hugs :)

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  4. I always loved your photos but, have to say, was a bit sorry too that we missed some of the details of your 'totally stunning' cards because it got lost in the white background! The darker background does bring all those details to light. As you pointed out, we couldn't really see that wonderful lacy bow until you used the darker background. I would definitely vote for the change. Firstly, because it will be much easier for you to edit them and secondly, we get to see more of the amazing details in your creations!! Besides, there is no way in the world your blog could ever be dingy! Whatever you decide, have a fabulous day my sweet friend!! hugs xx

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    1. Thanks so much Margaret! Those little details that you couldn't see in the bright photos always made me sad. I was beginning to hold off on adding extra things, because I thought why bother, nobody can see it anyway. That's just sad! lol. hugs my friend :)

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  5. First of all, hi, P! what an incredibly gorgeous card! I’m The last person to ask because I’m disgusted with my photography, and have resorted to the big no no of laying my cards down and taking head on shots. It shouldn’t be so difficult to take clean, bright pictures. My photo software had an “upgrade” and it won’t let me get rid of the grey background. What type of lights do you use. I always admire your artwork and blog and love the soft white glow, but never realized the amount of detail I was missing. So I vote for the 2nd darker option. By the way, your cards always portray nature, so the natural background is great! I love being able to see each beautiful detail. I’m sorry you’re having this problem, but please know that your cards still look amazing, and so does your blog. Thanks for gifting the rest of us with your beauty, dear friend. You and I both know in the grand scheme of things, this issue should not rob either of us from enjoying and sharing artwork. But I understand your frustration. If you figure it out will you please share the secret? Love, de

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    1. PS did I mention I could never be deterred from enjoying your blog?

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    2. Aww, you're so sweet Donna! I use daylight photo bulbs on tripods with umbrella diffusers in a dark room. This way the light looks as natural as possible but it's always consistent. I never have to worry about a rainy day or bright sun causing harsh shadows. I use Photoshop for my post editing, which I'm hoping now will be quite minimal! lol. hugs to you my friend :)

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  6. I've always loved, and admired, your super bright photos. Like a lot. That said...if they are such a hassle, my friend, then don't do them! :-) Your second photo is lovely as well, and it makes much more sense for the photograph of your card to actually look like your card. And remember, it's YOUR blog. You can take your photos any way you want! I don't think the proposed photos will make your blog look "dingy" at all.....maybe you could add some dark contrast, like along the sides of you page, to even everything out. Or not, again, it's your space. Go with what makes you happy!

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    1. Thanks Jan! I agree about adding some dark along the side, which the previous post photos will hopefully take care of, once I have enough. I will also redo my banner header so everything has the same tone. I think it will mesh together eventually.

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  7. The darker, and more natural photos are for me much better! Hugs, Valerie

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  8. I love the darker background because it shows more detail of the card. If it is easier for you then do them this way!! I don't think having a dark background will make your blog 'dingy' or otherwise. Your cards are amazing (and so are the animal pics) and I have always enjoyed the professional-ness of your photos. I did not realize it was such trouble to edit them for you. I always had trouble trying to edit mine and finally gave up. I figured I didn't know what I was doing and decided I didn't want to spend buckets of time to learn the software to make it easier for me. That said, I would rather see the details of your cards on terms you can live with. It is your blog and your pics. I doubt you could ever do anything that would deter me from enjoying your talents.

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    1. Thank you so much my friend! I understand about the editing! I was reaching a point where I hesitated even to make a card because the idea of all the editing time would make me cringe. This takes away from the enjoyment of crafting, and that's not right at all! sending hugs :)

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  9. Wow Pamellia the dark background really shows up the missing details doesn't it. I didn't realise you spend so much time editing.I just crop, add my watermark and maybe brighten the backgrounds of my card photos..nothing else and I certainly would not cause myself lots of stress or time with editing. I always think blogging should be a pleasure not a chore so go with what makes life easy for you. Your cards always look stunning. Personally I have always found that "staging" my cards takes me much longer so I rarely bother so it's all down to personal preferance. Good luck! Happy blogging my friend xxx

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    1. Thanks Jane! As far as the staging goes, I have a permanent photo lab in the spare bedroom so it doesn't take any time for set up. I have set a few things on the shelf that I can throw into the frame and that's it. Easy peasy... or so I hope. lol. hugs :)

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  10. I have never been disappointed by any of your photographs and I really love the 'soft edges' you always show... even though it may not reflect all the detail in your gorgeous layers. I remember your concern over the last card though, with the Lemoncraft papers and I can see now how the darker background gives a more accurate colour tone to your card. I think the staging looks brilliant, it does not detract at all from the beauty of your card. Perhaps you could experiment with other darker colours - dark blue with a light blue card etc. The darker background definitely gets my vote and with the added bonus of easier editing, I would definitely go for it... giving you more time to spend photographing your gorgeous furry friends! Hugs, Anne xx

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    1. Thanks so much Anne. I completely agree about trying other backgrounds. The wood that I purchased for the base and the back are oak slices. I left one side plain oak and stained the other side the darker tone you see here. This gives me two wood grain tones to work with and I may purchase another type of wood or maybe a different colour of stain down the line. hugs :)

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  11. Hi Pamellia looks great I always use a black background on my photos the colour enhances your subject better
    To make it stand out. I just take my photos in a room with no sunlight coming in but close to natural light.never use any special equipment only my iPad I do have a 35mm through. I alway try to have the light coming in from the side of me onto my subject,but there are some many buttons you can tweek in these editing programs now,
    I have one on my iPad and use it all the time. Your cards always look great and love looking at them
    Have a super snap shot of a day click click.
    Jules xx

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    1. Thanks Jules. Yes, your photos always look great and you can see all the lovely cheesecloth and other details. Hopefully I will be enjoying the same style of photos from here on out. hugs :)

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  12. So very interested in what you are saying Pamellia and all the feedback. I have always thought your photography was wonderful and have always enjoyed seeing your wonderful projects in the white shabby style background. But .... I agree with everything you say about getting the white balance right. I have now done two years at a photography night class and I still cannot get the right white balance and like you spend absolutely ages trying to do it on the screen. The thing is as no one can see the colours we have used in our projects it is only ourselves that can see the difference but it is very frustrating. And as our work is very layered depth of field is sometimes not easy to achieve either with flowers or the background being out of focus. I have to be able to take shots inside as here in the north we have so very little light from late October until March really so am also experimenting at the moment with my camera in various parts of the house trying to get as much daylight as possible. I find I get better photographs when I have zoomed in - the actual full on project photograph always seems to be different.

    I love the dark background and I will certainly give it a try but I am not sure that it would work with every project. The whole idea of the white soft focus background is to ensure that we don't have to spend a lot of time faffing around with backgrounds !!

    Love to hear how you take it from here.

    Jennie x

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    1. Thanks so much Jennie! You are correct about the full card photo always looking different. This is because the lens will pull in a different amount of light depending on the focal length. I suggest keeping your ISO at a set number and then adjusting your f-stop and shutter speed.

      For example: for the full card shot try ISO 200, f/8 and 1/25sec. Then for your zoom shots try !SO 400, f/5.6 and 1/60. You would have to play with the numbers because every camera is different, but this should help with your DOF and hopefully you will find the settings for zoom and overall that create a matching set. Hope that helps, hugs :)

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    2. Thank you so much for those tips Pamellia. Got them copied and will be trying out next time. As much as I have enjoyed doing my camera night class there is very little time spent on photographing inside. Pretty well all is outside which is great but not what I use my camera for on a daily basis. It is very dark here today so even more problems for indoor photography!

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  13. I love the dark background, makes the card stand out. xxx

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  14. Heck I adore the BG! It really shows off your card to perfection! Definitely keep it!

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  15. NOTHING could make your blog look dingy, your cards are always amazing, BUT the effect you have with this card is sooooooooooo much better, all the details are highly defined, so much the better to see your work with it's shadows and nuances, LOVE it.
    Faith
    x

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  16. This was a no-brainer for me, Pamellia! I like the dark backgrounds...it's much easier on my eyes and far more appealing to me. I purposefully didn't read anyone else's comments (yet) because I didn't want to be influenced at all. I do think it's great you worked so hard with your lighting, etc, and I enjoyed seeing your photos, but I love the 'personality' of the 'newer' photography. Gorgeous card, and I will be back to see the details! Hugs!

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  17. Hi, I had always used a plain darker background and I was told my photo's looked 'gloomy', so I switched to a white background and I agree, the white balance is a pain!! They come out too blue most of the time and I spend more time trying to balance the colours, often loosing details. My man, who is a 'profesional' says I should use a neutral grey background cos that is easiest to adjust to. I think your photo's look lovely and the contrast against the brown is very striking. Hugz

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  18. I love the darker background. While I never really thought about the white background, I do see where it is a bit harder on the eyes and the details are lost some. I have seen some people purchase photo boxes to mimic natural light. I really don't know anything about those details, though.

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  19. I think that at this point you no longer have any doubt that the dark background works better for your artwork (or better yet, that the white is not working for you whatsoever) as you also know that your set up is absolutely gorgeous.

    Sometimes we have to drop what other people say it is "the right way" and do what works better for our personal situation.

    Blessings,
    Denise

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  20. PERFECTION is your FORTE dear girl... so for me... it's always just INCREDIBLE any way you display!!! For sure the dark background really made your card come to life though. SUCH a treat to see all the INTRICACIES of it's BEAUTY. MUCH LOVE, j.

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  21. I'm not be able to help you, my friend, all I can say is that your photos are ALL amazing, as well your delightful cards!!! You are so talented in both!!
    I think that you have to use the way that is less time consuming, if you don't found another way...
    hugs!

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  22. Your cards look fantastic however they're photographed. the technical stuff is beyond me!
    However, as you tend to use lighter colours and shades more often, the darker background
    lends more contrast. Wish my photography was half as good :))
    xx

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  23. Now I am no expert....I loved the 'new' photos with the dark backgrounds etc and yes you could see your card colours are more realistic. However...I am always blown away with your creations and Love them as you've always done them...Photos that is. If it is easier and quicker for you to do them the new way then that would be great for you. You know the colours etc of your cards but for me even the yellow ish rose, that wasn't looks fabulous! I would be frustrated though knowing that the true colours and details are truly not represented. I have trouble with bling things on my photos, as an amateur, so I can only estimate how frustrating this must be for you. Great that you have a permanent room/space for your shots and so good to try different backgrounds. Looking forward to continuing to enjoy all your amazing and magical photos x Sorry not to be able to help in a technical way x

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  24. Darker background for me Pamellia, the detail with on your card is amazing!.
    I have taking to using my one background beige colour (My wallpaper) propped up and in daylight, found other colours in my background altered the card colours too..just lighten if necessary in my editing program and that take time too, so goodness must be a right pain for you.
    Hugs Pam x

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  25. Hi Pamellia, I'm not a great photographer, I just use a little digital camera or my tablet, however I've started putting my cards against a black background and it helps, seems to throw out the whole card.
    Your background here is fabulous, and I think really it enhances your card.
    Your blog is anything but dingy,it's always a pleasure to visit, Kate x

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  26. Dingy?! You? Never?,?! Love the dark background, and seeing all the extra special details we've been missing. I found the all white actually more difficult to look at, so go for it with the darker backgrounds! Make your life easier too. Hugs

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  27. Hi Pamellia,
    as I started to read your post I was thinking a darker background would be great.
    My hubby used to be a keen photographer, and used to develop his own photos.
    Now he told me ages ago about putting a darker background on lighter things I wanted to photgraph, but I sometimes forget to do so.
    I make up a light box of white card with 2 led bulbs to photograph, and sometimes forget to add tha darker card.
    I love the darker colours behind your card it does make it stand out more.
    Your blog has always looked so professionally done, and would never be dingy with such stunning creations no matter what background you use.
    Lots of crafty love. Jenny L.

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  28. Hi Pamellia,
    I've always loved your photos. Although some of your old photos are really overexposed, they always look fantastic. And then you used the new background to make the card see more details, but I think the color seems a little dark. Maybe you can try to shoot with natural light, or just take it outdoors. Hugs, Jane

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  29. Pamellia, as far as I am concerned, you are one of the best photographers in all the blogs I have visited over the years. As a simple point and shoot girl, who does not even know what ISO means, I can only follow my gut feeling, and I have to say, I love the darker background with the natural props. It adds so much more drama to your beautiful creations and brings out there detail! I also love the fact that taking your photographs like that gives you the option to vary your props to suit the mood of your cards. The pinecones and wood are just perfect for this one, and in fact imho does the opposite from making your card look dingy! For a different card you could use flowers, leaves, or even old book pages or whatever, so many options. Have you ever considered mockups? Also, saving time on the editing must be a huge bonus, and with your white blog background and beautiful art and nature photography, your blog would never look dingy!

    Also as someone who does not have a clue about phtography I would love to see some photos of your set up!!!

    Finally, I apologize for my lack of visits lately, but as you may have gathered, I have been away from home for the last nearly 3 months. I just returned today and look forward too having much more time to visit blogs and create again.

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  30. I like both backgrounds. It's more of a mood enhancer, so it depends on each individual card and background combination.

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  31. I always thought your cards and photos are absolutely brilliant---BUT I must admit the darker background did make a big difference I actually thought you had made another card -similar but different-the card is absolutely gorgeous by the way
    Carol x

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  32. I love the darker background it shows off your work beautifully x

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  33. Compared to the rest of us, your blog is so professional, I struggle to light my photos and there are always dreadful shadows and false colours. From what I see of the blogs of other crafters, they also have these problems. I have always admired how fabulous your cards look.

    Having said that, I am staggered at the difference between these two lighting techniques. I can see so much more detail in the new technique and, frankly, I like the little bit of stage setting.

    Not sure if this will help you at all.

    Dionne xx

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  34. I relly really like the darker background Pamellia..you CAN see more detail and you card is beautiful..I do not use any lighing except what comes through my window or maybe have a wander outside if it is not too sunny..my only hope when it comes to photography is that my camera knows what it is doing..lol..

    Luv CHRISSYxx

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  35. Hi Pamellia
    Your blog dingy? Never!!!
    I use natural daylight, where it's bright enough, as I find that easier for me on the editing but on a dingy day, its a daylight bulb in a single lamp but my cards are not as detailed as yours.
    If pushed for a preference, mine would be for the darker background but why not use both depending on the card you are displaying?
    Best wishes.
    Ang x

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  36. OH MY! A new favorite card! this is absolutely stunning!!
    I see what you mean by the difference in the backgrounds-so yes, absolutely the new dark one to show the card in it's best light! Your details on this one are just out of this world beautiful! how long does it take you to create a card? You never cease to amaze me with your talent sweet friend!
    Jackie xo

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  37. Your blog could never look dingy Pamellia! I agree, the white background fights with the card whites and washes out those extra details. I think your coloured backgrounds are far better. I don't find them too dark at all and love the little extras you add in the shot. Trust your instincts hun. Hugs, Wends xoxo

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