UPDATE: how to photograph how-tos


The first photo of the six.

The first photo of the six.

Hi, readers! Thank you for stopping by and feel free to navigate around this blog!

I have just completed a project for a client. Well, it’s a trial project. I had to shoot images for a wikihow-type article (or maybe the author will actually be doing an article for wikihow). This is not exactly Gordon Parks or Ansel Adams caliber work, but it is a photo project, so it is an opportunity. The how-to subject: how to make sugar goo. Sugar goo is edible stuff you can also play and craft with. It’s made with corn syrup, sugar and water. Sounds like a good way to get dizzy if you eat it. A good way to become a diabetic! Also a good way to get sticky stuff ALL over the place if kids play with it…good luck cleaning that up! But anyway, the project seemed easy enough; I got the ingredients together, took my first shot of all the ingredients together. Then…I had to cook the mixture. I was thinking it would instantly thicken after stirring for a while (taking the necessary photos as I stirred for demonstration sake). NOPE. It became more liquid with the heat. So then I figured it would thicken as it cooled, but since I needed to get a move on to edit and email the images, I put the small pot in the freezer. When I took it out a few minutes later, it was goo alright…MEGA thick! Good! I took a shot of the goo pouring from the spoon. A good goo-pouring-from-spoon-and-into-the-pot-shot.  Then I loaded the images and edited them properly.  Then I emailed them to the client, today. Six images in all.

When one shoots how-tos, as I am learning, it is very direct: shoot only parts of the process that are necessary to shoot, make sure to include images that would clearly illustrate each of the important parts  of the how-to (and only the important, stand-out parts so that you won’t have a slew of photos to edit…too many photos to select the best from would waste time). Make sure the photos are clear and that all objects are visible and easily visually decipherable so that viewers know what they are looking at. When one is finished with taking the photos, they should be cropped (don’t want too much space around the objects) and color-corrected. Wa-la!

This project reminded me of how much I am not a fan of crafts. As a fine artist, I adore everything about the wonder of fine arts. It is a very purposeful thing. I can also say that crafts is also useful in its own way. But the difference between fine arts and crafts is this: fine art is based on individual expression and even though fine arts utilizes the foundations of elements and principles, one can still use those foundations toward a unique self-expressive goal and the end result can vary as there is no real rule; crafts is based on point-by-point steps and self-expression is less pronounced, the end result is often certain and many times does not end how it is planned to end. Case in point: the art of photographing the sugar goo allowed me to photograph in no particular way so long as it helped to illustrate the how-to, but the craft of creating the sugar goo had a certain end that I had to force, by the way, with freezing it. So although crafts has its value, too, I am not a craftsperson by far. It drives me nuts!

I hope the client likes the photos! I am really enjoying this freelance thing…so many projects!

If you are interested in freelance work, check out sites like oDesk, Guru and Freelancer (these sites incl. arts/design, writing, IT and office-type jobs to name a few)! Make sure to read their terms because while some do not, other sites require a fee for upgraded accounts. And here is a freelance site that is strictly focused on vector-based graphic, web & logo projects: Mycroburst.com. I am looking into that one, too. It doesn’t hurt to have a few freelance accounts. Happy freelancing!

This is how it ended up. This is the last image out of six.

This is how it ended up. This is the last image out of six. Not as sharp an image as I was going for, but hope it will pass…

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