My product photography has never been too awesome, being more adequate than Pin-worthy. I’ve gone from the usual beginner-level embarrassingly dark photos to the clean white background Photoshop mockups and now I’m back to trying more styled shots. Despite having studied photography at college and having a few photos used professionally, product photography is still a bit of a struggle.
I feel like I’m getting better, partly because after a year I’ve figured out the best spots in my flat and partly from reading a lot of advice and looking at a lot of other product shots. The key points seem to be bright overcast days, neutral backgrounds, complimentary props and a bit of brightening on the computer.
I’m on a mission this summer to re-photograph all my products and this is my current setup – pretty unimpressive, but it works out great. My flat has gigantic windows so it’s always pretty bright and living on the west coast means it’s often cloudy and overcast, which gives me great lighting. I just prop up a white piece of card and my magnetic whiteboard to bounce light back into the shadows. The wood background is usually fine, though sometimes I bring in fabric or printed paper. And I just use my iPhone camera as I’m waiting for my Japan trip before I invest in a new camera.
I do also own a Lightcase, a pop-up acrylic box with various background pieces, but I don’t use it that much as styled photos seem to be on trend these days, rather than plain backgrounds. If you sell jewellery or other small pieces, it’s a great starter kit – it was a lifesaver for my glitter ghosts.
As for props, my rules are that they should have some connection to the product and be interesting but not too noticeable. You don’t want to post a new product on Instagram and have everyone asking where you got your props!
One last tip – take tons of photos. Make sure you get some overviews of everything that you can crop later into square and rectangle sizes. Get some detail shots too and then just take a bunch more to make sure some are in focus. Leave your products set up while you check them on a computer screen if possible, so that you don’t have to set it all up again if you discover a stray hair or if they’re not going to brighten up nicely and you should wait for another day.
I’m pretty happy with mine so far and it does seem to have brought a little boost of likes on Etsy. You can view my variable product photography history over at my Flickr (all 800 photos!) and this photography series on the Folksy blog is a good place to start if you need more tips.
I also photographed some new products so check back tomorrow for that.