Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Product Photography

I see it all the time, people posting bad photos of their awesome products!

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Whether it's for your blog, your shop, or you just want to share your latest product on social media, you should have good photos. You spent a lot of time on your projects and you're proud of them, nothing wrong with that! Make sure your photos are the best representation of your work that they can be.

I'm not a professional photographer. 
You and I might not be professionals, but we know if something looks bad in a photo, we probably won't buy it. Same goes for the people looking at our products. I spend a lot of time on my crochet items and I want them to look the best they can and as close as possible to real life. When a person orders something from my Etsy shop, I want them to know exactly what they're getting. Photos are important. My photos aren't perfect, but over the last 4 years I've taken a LOT of pictures and I've found some things that work for me and they might help you if you find yourself stuck on where to start.

*I mostly shoots pics of my crochet projects, but these tips could be used for lots of different products. Here's a peek at my photos, supplies and some behind the scenes shots.

You can read 1,000 articles on how to improve your photos but they won't get better until you PRACTICE and try different things to see what works for you. 

Some of my photo shoot supplies:
  • Camera
  • Foam core boards(white)
  • Poster board
  • Foam mannequin head
  • Foam ball hat stand
  • Wood backdrop
  • Window

1. Lighting. Google product photography, Etsy photo tips, or blog photo tips and the number one piece of advice you'll see is LIGHTING...natural lighting, no flash.
-Try different places around your house and find a window with a lot of great light(not direct sunlight). You might be able to shoot on a table, chair or even the floor...whatever works!
-If you have a somewhat dark room with one window, you can avoid possible harsh shadows with a reflector. I don't have too much problems with this myself, so a white foam core board is usually sufficient to reflect the light. You could also use aluminum foil to bounce light. See more about that HERE.
-If you can't find good natural lighting, consider a light box.

2. Background. This is one of my pet peeves. I usually see it on social media...someone is crocheting away and snaps a pic of their project and posts it to a Facebook group. There's laundry, toys, pets and all their junk in the background. If you're selling, this is definitely a no no. Even if you're not, take some pride in your work and show it off in the best way possible. Don't get me wrong, I don't live in a magazine worthy house. I have 3 kids and there's always clutter somewhere, but I'm not posting it online for the world to see!

3. Backdrops. Everyone has their own style, find yours. Look for backgrounds that are neutral and allow your product to be the star. If you have an Etsy shop, be consistent so that your shop photos flow together. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with a bright and clean white background. The best way I do this is with white foam core boards and white poster board. Depending what you're shooting, you can use these separate or together along with lots of light to get great photos.

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Also popular is a wood background. You can use real wood like a table or floor. I made my own reversible wood backdrop! You could also purchase a roll of paper that has wood print but even better...I found wood print posterboard(scrapbook section of store) at Hobby Lobby for super cheap! *Update, saw one at Michael's in the posterboard section a couple days ago too.

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree 

 Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

You could also use fabric, fur or outdoor shots to take advantage of a beautiful landscape.

4. Props. Style up your photos with props. If I have a coffee cup cozy, well I'm going to put it on a coffee cup and maybe shoot it in the kitchen with ground coffee in the background. If I have some rustic gloves for fall, I'll surround it with some leaves or pine cones.

 Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Show your items being used. It helps someone else picture themselves using the item and it also helps them visualize the scale of your product. I shoot my hats on a mannequin head and also my DIY hat stand. A great place to find props is Goodwill. This is especially great for food photography You can find all different colors and styles of dishes. I found the base of my hat stand there too.

5. Photo Editing. You pretty much have to edit your photos. Photos almost never come out of the camera perfect. There are a lot of places to do this. I use the Windows photo editor on my computer for fast edits. You can make adjustments to brightness/contrast and color. To get even more options for edits and to add watermarks, you'll need a better program.
-Check out my post about free online photo editing for some great sites to try out.
-If you want a pure white background and you're having a hard time, try FotoFuze, it's amazing!

Product Photography, Over The Apple TreeProduct Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Note about cameras...I have a nice camera. I used to have a lower quality camera and I've heard of bloggers who shoot all their photos with their iPhone. Whatever you use, there's nothing more valuable that knowing how to use it properly! Read the manual and practice. Don't think you can't take great photos unless you invest a ton of money into a new camera.

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree
My kitchen window where I shoot almost all my photos!

Here's an example of the wood print poster board with my DIY hat stand. Obviously the straight lines of the wood print will photograph better flat. For my hat stand, I found a wood base at Goodwill. I'm not exactly sure what this was, so you won't find this exact thing but it has a wood dowel in a flat base. An idea you could look for that might work similar is a paper towel holder! I got different sized foam balls that I can change out depending what hat I'm using.

Product Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Product Photography, Over The Apple TreeProduct Photography, Over The Apple Tree

Want to know how I package my Etsy products? Check out my post HERE.

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  1. What a great post, thank you!
    I'm not a great photographer, and am not yet selling things, though that is something I'm looking to do next year. But I couldn't agree more. Some of my earlier blog photos were awful. They are still not great, but I've invested in a good (not pro, but good) camera, with good lens, and am just practicing away. I'm sure in a year I will be better!

  2. Brilliant tips, thanks so much for sharing them. I struggle with the white backgrounds, neutral picker doesn't always sort it out so I'll check out your recommendation.

  3. Great post and I agree that you need practice. After playing with different angles, props, backgrounds, lights and focus, you'll know what works best for your products and what is your style. I will share your post on google plus where I have a product photography section :).

  4. Fabulous tips Laura I was so bad at taking pictures when I started


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