Product Photography: My Personal Everest

The number one rule of selling items online: Your product pics must be perfect!

My face as I read yet ANOTHER how-to article about taking perfect product pictures =>  -_-

It turns out that while Cupcake *technically* fits inside my light box… this wouldn’t really work. Make sure to buy (or build) you light box bigger than your actual products. You need a fair amount of space to stage your items and keep the background looking tidy!

About six months ago when I started concentrating on improving my product photography I was convinced that once I tweaked my set up, snapping pics would be a breeze. Oh to be so young and innocent again. To live in such a land of optimism. What a sweet life that would be.

Fast forward to me today… My current self is reasonably sure that product photography will never be easy no matter how much I

tweak my photography set up. There will be days where every picture comes out gorgeous and there will be days where my language rivals that of a sailor.

That being said… Taking pics HAS gotten monumentally easier and today I am going to share a few of my favorite tips with you.

Step 1: Treat yo self!

Weird first step right? But seriously, make sure you are properly caffeinated, fed and cuddled by your pups before you start.Photography is tricky and sometimes it can take a little time to get it right so make sure you take care of yourself before you start on what could be a challenging project. Also, it’s just fun to say treat yo self. Go ahead, try it. See!? Ok, moving on.

Step 2: Pick your spot

This is crucial and sadly… I can’t tell you how to do this. My psychic capabilities are sadly limited in this respect. Let me give you a few ideas though:

  • Open the front door and take pics right in the doorway. (I can’t take credit for the suggestion – I will give thanks to the smart people at hellolovehandmade for turning me on to this neat trick!)
  • By a big window or sliding glass door – light is key!
  • Anywhere in your house that gets a ton of natural light! Yes, you can bring lamps in to help with lighting but natural light is KEY!
  • Go outside! Try your front yard, back yard or maybe the park down the street.

I wish I could tell you exactly where to go but this is something you’re going to have to figure out on your own. Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect spot with the best light – that’s what photo editing is for!

Step 3: Gather your supplies

The last thing you want to be doing once you get in the photography groove is running all over the house trying to find some elusive prop you forgot or searching for an extra light source. Gather all the items you think you need and keep them together! Drop them in a basket or a shopping bag and leave them together so the next time you find the inspiration to take pics you can just grab the bag and go.

These are a few of my must haves for taking pics. I’m curious to see what other people use though – comment below and tell me what are your must-haves for a photoshoot!

  • Lint roller – It is amazing how many tiny bits of thread and pet hair try to find their way into a photo. I always run a lint roller over my items right before I snap a pic.
  • Portable steamer – This is the funny looking pink thing. I use fabric backdrops and this heats up in about 30 seconds and removes wrinkles asap. This is the one I use.
  • Chai – Like I said: caffeinate yourself. 🙂
  • Tiny silver prop – This is actually just one side of a grommet but it does the job! Some of my items don’t stand up by themselves and they need a little hidden help from behind. Find something that is heavy to prop your items but small enough not to be seen in the photo. A clean rock, empty spool of thread or small spice jar are also things I have used in the past. Be creative and figure out what works for you!

Step 4: Paparazzi time!

It’s time to take your pics! Here are a few tips:

  • Have one small extra light to use in case you come across a funny shadow you don’t like. Try holding your camera with one hand and moving the light around with the other to see how to get rid of your shadows.
  • Indirect, natural light is the best! Instead of thinking about putting a ton of light directly on your item, think about making your entire light box (or photography area) bright.
  • Photo editing apps are your friend. It’s ok if your pictures aren’t perfect to begin with. Mine rarely are! Check out my example below:
My raw photo with zero editing.
Finished product using only the editing options that came with my iPhone 8 Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll leave you with this.. Product pictures can be a struggle but when you get that gorgeous finished product photo you will be proud to share it with the world. As well you should be!

Cheers,

LV