The camera loves you

  One of the things I am working to improve for this blog is my photography.  I’m not used to being the one behind the camera.  My best friend has always been incredibly into taking pictures, and so I’ve always been her model.  That means that now I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.
G got to play with her camera at New Years
  I don’t have a fancy, DSLR camera.  I have a fairly nice point and shoot.  I love you guys and all, but I’m not investing in a “big gun” until I can figure out how to use my “water pistol”.
  I started by reading this post.
  I still have camera envy (my friend knows better than to do the no-nos he lists at the start), but it has a lot of good tips.  I’ve stopped using my flash when taking pictures of my crafts and food.  It helped.  I’ve still been struggling with my lighting though.
  My pictures have all been turning out like this:
  This is taken on white poster board with multiple lights beaming down.  This is my set up:
Classy, right?
  Obviously, not enough light is not the problem, so what’s the deal??
  I think I’ve figured it out.
  My clever little camera is designed for people who don’t want to have to make decisions when they take pictures.  They just want to point it at their friends, push the button and get a picture.  My camera sees my set up and goes “WHOA, nobody hangs out in an over lit white room.  We’re gonna tone that sucker down.”
  Ah ha.  Not the whole room is over lit and white.
 
  I took this picture in the exact same set up as the first.  Full disclosure, I did do about 30 seconds of photoshop on it just to take out a dark shadow in the upper right corner and then even out the background, but before I was spending 30 minutes on each picture and they still looked awful.
  So here’s what I did differently.  In the “Just say yes” section of the post I linked to earlier, the photographer talks about focusing on something specific to get the range of depth right and then moving your camera (with the button half depressed) to frame the shot how you want.  I’ve been experimenting with it all week to try and get blurred out backgrounds and more interesting shots.
  It works for lighting as well as depth.
  If you look at my set up picture above, you’ll see that one of my lamps is resting on a shoe box.  I did that for height, but it actually works out perfectly for fooling my camera as well.  To take the second shot, I simply moved my view to the corner of the box, focused the camera on this slightly darker area and then, with the button halfway down, moved back to my truck before finishing the shot.
  It’s working about 2/3rds of the time for me.  A much higher success rate than I had before.  Still not sure how I’m going to do clothing, but this is a step in the right direction.
Do you have any point and shoot camera tricks for taking great “product” pictures?
  I’d love to hear them!
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