Aren’t you tired of taking pics that look like you gave your camera to a two-year-old and said, “Here ya go, kid. Have at it!!” HA 😉
I have always loved photography with a passion, but sometimes it’s hard pulling off a shot that looks good enough to blow up to a canvas size to decorate your walls with. There are a few tips, though, that might make it easier. Keep readin’ :).
The other day I was inspired to snap some prettiness, so I brought my camera to my “day job” (I own a Nikon D7100 DSLR). A coworker and I were chatting about our love of floral and nature shots, and how she’s been printing them off and decorating her house with them. I was inspired to create more floral wall art, too! So I carried my camera around this weekend like it was my child strapped to my neck :).
And here’s what I created, which I have decided are going to be blown up to decorate my walls! And I wanted to share with you some tips so that you can start looking at DIY photography as a way to decorate and be proud to display your own work!
5 Tips to Create “Wall Art Worthy” Pics!
TIP #1 – Learn the “Rule of Thirds”
Learn to take pics off-center. It’s called the “rule of thirds.” This is a photography rule that I have been doing for a long time with some of my shots, but never knew it was called the “rule of thirds.” Not all shots I take fit this rule, though. The theory is that “if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.” (Read more about the rule of thirds here).
I didn’t even realize it at the time, but the shot above was using this rule! 🙂 I can see how it’s a powerful way to compose a shot!
I took this pic of my son this weekend, and did the same off-center shot! I know it’s not a flower, but the idea is the same: shoot off center at one of these intersections, and you have a cooler shot.
TIP #2 – Use the Floral Section of Your Grocery Store
I snapped these pics at Whole Foods during lunch last week. Yep–Whole Foods! I couldn’t get over how beautiful the lavender and violet looked on some of the flowers. Grab your camera and head to the floral department of your favorite grocery store. You’ll have a ton of options of gorgeous flowers to snap pics of, especially if it’s a time of year when there’s not much blooming outside. There’s more variety, too! The lighting inside may mess up your shot (especially if you don’t know how to manually change the settings, or if you’re using an iPhone or something). So if you have an option, snap pics that the store has flowers sitting outside. Natural light is best. Try garden centers, too.
TIP #3 – Go Small…Not Big
Many times people want to snap a picture of a pretty tree or flower and they snap the whole plant/tree. And everything else in the shot. That’s cool if that’s the look you’re going for. But I think it’s more visually interesting to snap a small section, like just a few leaves!
Here’s a picture I took this weekend when I went to visit my nephew at college. We were waiting for him after his football game, and I saw this pretty red bush. Instead of snapping the whole thing, I focused on just a few beautiful leaves. I also snapped it from the side so that you could see the green blur from the grass, and you could see some of the other red leaves blur behind it. I love this shot! (Read more about that blurred background, called “bokeh” in the next tip.
TIP #4 – Be Mindful of Your Background!
A lot of times when people take shots, they don’t think about what’s in the background. What’s there–a building? A street? Trash on the ground? Your son picking his nose? 😉 Don’t forget to consider the background (and foreground) as part of the picture. In this picture I snapped outside of Whole Foods, I loved the yellow that was planted around it, along with the yellow inside of the flower. I could have zoomed or gotten closer to the flower to just get the flower itself. But I wanted the yellow in the foreground and background to be a part of the shot. They are complementary colors (which is why someone planted them together). So they both belong in this shot. Even in the foreground, I wanted a blob of yellow. I love this pic!
Also, there’s a term in photography called “bokeh” which comes from Japanese to mean “blurred.” I admit that I’m a total dummy when it comes to explaining bokeh or understanding how to achieve it in my background and foreground. I think whatever bokeh I achieve is totally by accident. LOL. It’s created with your lends and depth of field. THere are times when you want bokeh and times you may want to show everything in the background in the shot. I admit I’m not “there yet” with my photography skills. But I just signed up with Lynda.com, which offers tons of photography courses online for just $25 a month (not to mention other courses in Photoshop, Aperature, etc.). Get 7 days of free unlimited access to lynda.com and check out the courses. They are amazing!
In this pic, I know it’s not of a flower, but I wanted to show you an example of how I thought about the background. I loved the red texture of this fire hydrant I snapped this weekend while visiting my nephew. I wanted to capture the yellow and green of the tree leaves in the background, so that’s why I snapped it at this angle. If I wasn’t thinking about it, I would have just snapped it and probably got boring grass in the background. LOL
TIP #5 – There is Beauty in the Weeds
“Weeds” is such a negative word in the Wonderful World of Gardening, isn’t it? But if you look closely at weeds, they’re actually very pretty (well, some of them are!). My son picked this weed for me, but not before I snapped of pic of it. Pretty, huh?
Even cuter in the hands of a toddler that loves you :). That’s my sweet Koko-Bear :).
TIP #6 – Use a Digital Camera When You Can
Equipment is important, but sometimes you don’t have a digital camera with you, so you use your iPhone or Android (or tablet). The resolution may not be large enough for you to blow up your shot if you’re wanting a larger 16×20 of your picture. You may only be able to blog the image up to 5×7, for example. If you think you may want to blow something up bigger, use your digital camera when taking the shot, not your cell phone, and set the resolution higher. Snapfish has a good explanation and guide on resolutions.
TIP #7 – Get Frames From the Thrift Store!
And of course you know I’m going to recommend getting frames from the thrift store! Try sales days so you can get them even cheaper when they’re 25% – 50% off thrifted prices.
TIP # 8 – Look For Print Specials Online
I’ve had great success with printing from Shutterfly.com. I have used SnapFish.com years ago and hated the way the colors were “off.” Try your local CVS, too. I’ve heard that Groupon has photography deals, too. I personally prefer Shutterfly because you can “pre-pay” and get prints for as little as 10 cents each for 4×6 prints. For larger prints, at Shutterfly you’ll pay about $18. Look for coupons!
Here’s a site I found recently called CanvasWorld.com (no affiliation). If you enter the coupon code “RADIO” you get 35% off and free shipping. I tried to see how much this canvas print would cost at 16×20 and it was only $59, which is MUCH cheaper than any other sites I checked for canvas prints!
TIP #9 – Enroll in an Online Photography Class
I’ve been using Lynda.com to do more photography tutorials. There’s actually hundreds more classes there, from how to use a DLSR camera, to how to edit photos in iPhoto on a Mac, or advanced classes on how to use Photoshop. Not just that, this site offers classes on
TIP #10 – Keep Practicing!
I don’t practice as much as I should. But after having fun taking shots this weekend, you can guarantee I will be! Here are a few other other shots I took these past few days! Practice, practice, practice!
This little guy doesn’t mind being the test subject. He even smiles when I request “Say Cheese!”
The next room I am planning to work on for my 30-Day Room Makeover Challenge (you should totally sign up!!!) will be my family room. I’m was going to wait until January, but I am itching to makeover a space now!! And I want these pictures on my walls! Don’t be surprised when you see these pics showing up later on in future posts as my room makeover wall art! 🙂
So what about you? Aside from your family pics, do you actually use your own photography for wall art? And if not flowers, what would you like to take pics of to makeover the walls in your house? Leave a comment below and chime in!