In my office, my camera is on a tripod about 3 feet from my desk edge, usually set on a timer, and set on the macro setting. My camera is set about 20 degrees above (angled to) the card and I have two light sources. This photo was taken sitting in the window of my office on my phone...forgive my breaking all of the following tips. I only have the one camera--currently on the tripod. I use an Olympus E-500 DSL with an additionally purchased macro lens. My camera is at least 5 years old, but it happily takes its photos anyway. :)
This one is not photoshopped. I didn't use paper on the backdrop...just the desk top.
This one has the background mostly photoshopped off...
Since the photo above isn't the best shot of my messy (and very yellow LOL) office, here are two great links to the desks of some talented ladies: Paula and Kristina. And in the same vein, rather than rewrite the 1,000 articles I found on the web, I will be linking throughout to several very informative articles.
This one from CraftZine explains just about everything I wanted to say...LOL
If you have additional suggestions, please leave me a note and I will edit accordingly. :)
I really hate taking pictures...I have a hard time getting the light right, so I am not claiming to be great at this...I struggle through like many of the rest of the crowd, but below are some of the tips I try to use and have found most useful:
Tip 1: Light it Up
Use natural light. Please turn off the flash. :) Go outside or get a daylight lamp such as an Ott lamp. Set up multiple light sources and play with them if you can't make it outside---avoid the brightest sunlight...I get the best results about 9 AM when there aren't crazy shadows.
Tip 2: Use the Macro Mode and Combine It with a Tripod
Set your camera to the macro setting (usually the tulip icon) and then use a tripod and the timer. You will be surprised how much clearer the shot is.
Tip 3: Use a Plain Background
Do not use fabric if at all possible. Cards are usually small and all that texture behind it often distracts and reflects light. Instead, use a paper background or just the natural situation on your desk. Many people very successfully match the paper background to the card they are photographing. Some lovely cards and matching backgrounds can be found on Donna Mikasa’s and Kiara's blogs.
Tip 4: Take Multiple Pictures---and Notes
Be prepared to trash 20 photos to get the one good one. What you see on the preview might not be what you get...LOL To improve, try taking notes of your settings and what you did and then try to repeat that favorite shot. There are many articles on white balance and shutter speed. If nothing else, get out the manual to your camera....it will have tons of good info.
Tip 5: Compose the Shot
Get down to the level of the card or angled just slightly above it (about 15 to 20 degrees).
Move in close when taking the picture and crop the final shot in editing software if you can.
Move the card slightly to the side or get an unusual perspective. Don’t be afraid to experiment with tilting it a bit or turning it to the side or even laying it down.
Use a plain background.
Tip 6: Protect and Advertise Your Image
Add a watermark. Here is a google link on adding watermarks to photos. There are lots of options to do this.
Tip 7: Prevent Borrowing
Resize your photo. Images should be resized to 72dpi for online use and no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side. To do this, use "save as" and a new name when saving resized files so you do not damage or erase the original file.
LINKS FOR REFERENCE
General suggestions and tips
general photo tips
background tips from etsy
lots of articles and tips from Etsy
cheap homemade light box
resizing and understanding sizing of photos:
types of cameras
Some helpful books
General tips on photographing crafts