Oh look! A picture of my sneaker!

Who’d have ever thought I’d get paid for my . . . photography? This can’t be right. I take pictures of my hand in front of the lens. I take pictures of windows with so much glare in them it hurts. My photos contain red eyes and white blotches and black blackness. I’m possibly the shittiest photographer ever.

But we need photos for our web catalog, and updating the catalog is part of my job. We’ve got somebody’s old camera sitting around the shop, the kind that has a little chip drive you flick out and put in the printer (this makes no sense to me at all) to load onto the computer. The camera has stupid dials all over it with little symbols I don’t understand. Fortunately, off just says OFF. I had to memorize the position of the one that means “on.” The worst part is when, for reasons I do not understand at all, the camera decides to put too many pixels into the picture. Then I have to get into the picture editing program is on our cash register/computer and whack away at it.

Before I started doing this, we’d try to get photos from our vendors, but we’ve got so many vendors it would get tricky trying to find everything. Even then, sometimes there would be more than one item in their photos, or they’d have some protection on them so I couldn’t copy them. Doing our own photos is actually easier, even if my pictures still look like dog barf.

I photographed all our lotus-shaped candles and candle holders on Sunday. What I do is I bring a white kata up to the counter for the background. (Katas are special scarves you give as a ritual offering to the Dalai Lama, or any other lama you happen to meet.) The kata covers up all our countertop cheat sheets about how much various crystals cost, which credit cards we accept, etc. so I have a clean background. Then I try to take a bunch of pictures really fast, before some customer comes up and dumps a bunch of incense on my photo shoot.

That’s the thing about working for a very small business–you don’t have the luxury of getting out of doing something, just because you’re bad at it. You’ve got to buckle down and learn it anyway.

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