Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need To Open The Darn Door

Since I am an avid photographer myself, taking photographs for both of my etsy shops is definitely a large part of the fun. I try to take nice shots that highlight whatever I am offering for sale but that also have some similarity in style to give my shop an overall "look". I take the gray close up shots of my vintage clothing in the second stairway of our apartment building (yes, I do think my neighbors think I'm a little strange ;) ) because the walls are a nice neutral gray and light comes softly through the windows. The shots from the front, side and back I have usually taken in front of one of the set of double doors in our apartment:

My intentions are probably pretty clear: I wanted a lighter background to offset the clothing. Two problems almost always occurred though. Problem a) light is seriously hard to come by in Berlin, especially since I opened my shop in the winter. Often the white ended up looking dingy or yellowed which meant extra time on photoshop to make the pictures presentable, something I'd rather not have to do. Problem b) the pattern on the door often made the photographs look crooked even if they actually weren't, another issue that meant photoshop. But then, a few days ago, Eureka! I thought, why not just open the doors. Here is an example of the results:

Having light from the back definitely helps with the darkness issue. I also like the warmth added by the floor and that you can see the lovely pink tulips my husband bought for me to cheer me up because I was super grouchy that this has been the coldest, grayest and wettest May in Berlin ever (I can't help it. I grew up in California and Arizona where "weather" comes in about three varieties and is generally dependable, i.e. warm, clear and gorgeous...) I also like that you can see the place where the clothes is from which would definitely always peak the interest of a curious soul such as myself. Anyway, I would love any thoughts or feedback, so please do fire away. :)


  1. With a bit more open aperture, you could even more emphasize the dress and let the background softly vanish in the bokeh of the lens. It is fun to do DoF experiments with a nice 50mm/1.4 prime lens.

  2. I'm no photographer. I mean, I like to take pictures, but I'm (so far) too lazy to learn anything in the manual camera settings to make my photos better. (It's on my to do list, though.) I take my photos on a plain white background (indoors, with special lights, and I still need to edit after). I used to take my photos outside on my deck and I loved the light in those photos, but the weather and wind (and winter) made things difficult so I moved indoors. I like the way your new photos turned out, but think hzeller's suggestion sounds really cool and interesting!

  3. Karen, I love the photographs that you take for your shop. Simple but very clean and crisp somehow. I also like those two suitcases that pop up every once in a while as props. HZ, the idea with the aperture is good. These ones here were taken at the lowest setting on my macro lens which is 2.8 (this is my absolute favorite lens and the ones I use for pretty much everything.) My husband does have a 50mm lens that goes down to 1.4, so I'm definitely going to have to borrow it and give it a whirl.