A picture tells a thousand words – Blogging Tips
Well so they say. I was looking through my emails today and looking at the blog posts from various bloggers and something stood out to me. There seems to be a huge gap between bloggers when it comes to the quality of their pictures. On the one hand you have these amazing pictures, the quality is high and you can tell that they put a lot of time and effort into their pictures. Whether these people just link to the items or they write a post to go along with them, you can tell that they spend a lot of time on their art.
Then you have the other type, the type that I started off as, the “snapshotters” as I like to call them. Now I’d like to think when I started off blogging that I still had good quality pictures, I always took pictures in high definition, I always used high-ultra graphics and I used shadows etc. What I’m seeing a lot of at the moment though is bloggers who take low quality pictures, there’s jagged lines, there’s poor composition, it makes me wonder, why?
(Picture in low settings, FSOriginal Windlight, no edit)
So I decided to do a post because as a blogger your pictures are literally your advertising. You are selling your blog through your pictures the same way that a store owner sells their items through their vendor pics (another topic entirely as poor quality vendor pics is one of my pet peeves and I fully plan on having a “rant” about this at some stage XD). Your pictures, if you have stores that you blog for, are what is supposed to sell those items that you receive as part of being in a blogger group. The whole idea of having a blog and getting into bloggers groups is to advertise. You won’t do a good job if you don’t take a good picture. I don’t care how nice the outfit is, if the picture is crap, then I’m not going to buy it.
Taking good pictures in second life is easy, even if you can’t run on high – ultra graphics you can still do a few extra things in mid that should give you some decent quality pictures. Although the jagged lines aren’t really gone completely like I thought they were, (I only noticed that they weren’t once I uploaded the pic to here) there is a significant difference.
The first thing that you should do when you’re taking a picture in mid is to turn on advanced lighting model and turn on your shadows. If you can’t turn on your shadows because your computer can’t handle it, that’s ok because turning on advanced lighting model should make your picture look better already.
Secondly, you want to go into your hardware tab in your graphics section and stick antialiasing to at least 4. 8 is the best one, I find that 16 doesn’t do much for me at all.
That’s it for graphics, hit apply and then go into your quick preferences (I use firestorm, I don’t know how to use the second life viewer anymore, that’s how long I’ve been using firestorm). In quick preferences, turn your lod factor up to 4 (This can be done in your graphics settings as well, I always forget so do it from quick preferences.) You only need to do this while you’re taking your pictures, I turn most of my settings off when I’m done because my Australian internet hates second life. After turning LOD to 4, start playing with windlight settings. Windlight is everything when it comes to taking pictures! Having your shadows on can really make an outfit look amazing, and different lighting gives different looks to an outfit.
If you know how to use photoshop then this is even better! If you know what actions are but don’t use them, then seriously, go to Deviantart and look up photoshop actions. There’s a ton of free actions and you can do all sorts of different effects at just the click of a button! You can combine different actions and adjust opacity and get different results. They are seriously my best friend in photoshop! Some may say I’m cheating but I say meh to that. It’s what they’re made for after all! Deviant art is also good to find photoshop brushes and all sorts of things! Just check the permissions before downloading as some people have rules and want you to post links to your pictures if you use the brushes or actions etc and some want to be credited when you use them.
If you don’t know what actions are, they’re basically a bunch of filters that someone else has played around with to come up with a certain look, then they’ve saved them as an action. See the gif below for how they work.
(Ugh sorry about the flashing, I don’t know how to stop this, I used gyazo >.<)
This next pic I’ll show you raw first so you can see the difference using an action and just some simple photoshop settings can make.
All I’ve done to get the result in the next pic, is use auto tone, auto contrast and auto colour which all can be found in the Image drop down menu in Photoshop CS6. After this I used a Film Tone Photoshop Action. That’s all there is to it! 😀
I hope this post has helped someone out there. I’d hate to think that there’s some potentially really good bloggers out there who aren’t getting the views they could be because they don’t know a few simple tricks to taking good pics in second life. For more in depth tutorials SL Bloggers Support has a great tutorial section! This has tutorials for photoshop as well as in world and other photo editing tools. I recommend having a look there. YouTube is also a good place for photoshop tutorials. It’s how I taught myself most of what I’ve learnt in photoshop over the years. Please see below for links to all of the items I used in the furniture pics! The items that I used in the action example gif can be found here.
Picture Frames – [MeshedUp] – Vintage Frames Froggy
Curtains – Paper Moon – Straight Cupped Curtains: Chenille
Rug – [CIRCA] – “ORIGINS” Ornate Velvet Area Rug – Rust