Product Photography for Bloggers

One of the many questions that I see asked over and over again in the blogging world is “just how do you take your product photos?” With this in mind I decided to put together a little ‘how to’ showcasing product photography for bloggers. I’m not saying that my way is the right way, but it works for me and I am happy with the results.

Product Photography for Bloggers

The Main Points

  • Use natural lighting where possible, if this isn’t possible invest in a decent photography lighting kit like this, household lights aren’t your friend, they cast a yellow/orange glow onto your photos.
  • Play with your angles. Get down to the level of the product or get high above it and shoot from above. Standing and looking down on a product won’t give you the best results, move around and find the angle that works.
  • Invest in nice backdrops that aren’t too busy, if this isn’t possible at least ensure your background is tidy and free from distractions.
  • Play around with props but don’t be too fussy, a natural look is best.

The Equipment

The majority of my blog photos are taken with my Canon 70D with a 35mm Prime Lens. While it is super lovely to have a fancy camera it isn’t essential, the main thing when it comes to product photography is getting the lighting and angles right, and having a nice, clear (or at least tidy!) background.

Ideally you want to take your photos in natural light, in front of a window during daylight hours is best. If you aren’t able to take your photos in natural light it really is worthwhile purchasing a decent lighting set up, and avoiding shooting in tungsten (standard light bulbs which give off a yellow/orange glow) lighting at all costs. I bought my lighting set up a long, long time ago, it was cheap and cheerful and has served me well, I’ve found a similar kit here, I’m not sure if this is the exact same kit but it looks very similar.

The Props/Backdrop

The backdrop for this particular set up is a simple roll of marble contact paper taped to the wall and laid out on my dining table. I’m more than happy to tape it to the wall at the moment as we will be decorating shortly, if you don’t want to tape it to the wall I would suggest purchasing foam boards from Hobby Craft or a cheap table top from IKEA. Contact paper is a great back drop as it’s cheap and can easily be rolled up but you will get glare from the lights and it won’t last forever, if you are looking for a tough backdrop without glare I recommend Capture By Lucy.

The particular photos that I’m using as examples are festive photos so naturally, I went for a few festive props. I like to go for a mixture of textures, sizes and colours when it comes to props to keep it interesting. As you can see in this short video I don’t do anything special with my props, pretty much just throwing them in place. Props can be anything, simple household items, kids toys, leaves and flowers from the garden – whatever takes your fancy.

My Lighting Set-Up

I like to have a light either side of the product that I am taking a photo of to ensure that it is well lit up and to minimise shadows. My lighting kit comes with umbrellas but as I am shooting product rather than people I don’t tend to use them as the lights aren’t blinding anyone and I want my photos as well lit as possible. I will sometimes stick them on backwards if my daughter is playing behind where I’m taking my photos to prevent her from staring into the lights. My lights aren’t quite where I would like them, in an ideal world the right hand side light would come closer, but I am restricted by the length of the leads and where the plugs are as I am far too lazy to go digging out for extension leads when I don’t really need them.

product photography for bloggers

Shooting

Think about your camera angles, move around and find the best angle, even if that means taking a ridiculous amount of photos to get ‘the one’! I usually take a few photos from the front, coming in closer and some from further away, kneeling down so that the product is in my eye line, looking at the photos on my camera screen and removing any items that are obstructing the view or casting shadows. Remember that you can always crop your photos but you can’t add bits in later (well, you can, but it involves a lot of editing!). A simple change in position can make all the difference to your photo.

I shoot in RAW and tend to under expose slightly – there will be a follow up post sharing how I edit my photos. Shooting in RAW isn’t essential, it’s just my preference, you could easily shoot in auto and achieve fantastic results. Be sure not to over expose your photos, it is a lot easier to add brightness to a photo than to take it away.

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and please let me know if you have any other questions! Keep your eyes peeled for an editing guide coming soon.

*Disclosure – Includes affiliate links*

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Blogging Income & Stats October 2017

I’ve struggled in October, a bout of food poisoning earlier in the month and now half term this week have left me struggling to keep up and with an overflowing email box. I’ve managed to pull it back working late evenings and on the rare days that I’ve had childcare I’ve pretty much pulled a twelve hour shift. This has meant that my income hasn’t suffered too badly, but I am probably pissing PR’s off with my very slow replies!

The bots have been blocked again and my stats seem to be more accurate now, which is unfortunate as those over inflated figures did look good, but I pride myself in being an honest blogger so had to get rid of them!

During October my site received 11,915 page views, 7,952 of which were from unique users. My domain authority is now 38 and I am ranked 88 in the Tots100 chart. My Klout has fallen to 68.

My followings as of 1st November were:

Facebook : 1,243
Twitter : 8,663
Instagram : 26,680
Pinterest : 1,278
Google+ : 409
Bloglovin’ : 1,356
YouTube : 421

My earnings during October were:

Sponsored blog post fees – £552.50
Sponsored social media fees – £350.00
eBay Commission – £21.85

Total income – £924.35

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Hosting fees – £4.99
Paypal fees – £7.99 (I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Photoshop – £8.57
Epidemic Sound – £10.00 (YouTube music)
iCloud storage – £2.49
Social media scheduling – £18.82

Total Expenses : £52.86

Total income less expenses : £871.49

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review : October Degustabox, items for Halloween guide, Shopkins goodies, Dancing Paddington, YoursClothing outfit and Sands Alive.

I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £1,305.

My five most popular recent posts in October were:

Blogging Income & Stats September 2017
Defined by Tiredness
The Curse of The Work From Home Mum
DIY Pumpkin Picking Adventures
Is This The Five Year Itch

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*Disclosure – Contains Affiliate Link*

 

 

 

Working from Home – Expectations vs Reality

When I gave up my job to work for myself from home I had great ideas about how it would go. Fast forward eleven months and I’ve realised that the expectation of working from home is a far stretch from the reality. I (naively) thought that working from home would mean that I would have a lot of spare time on my hands, that I would cook and clean and that in my spare time I would lovingly craft and take day trips with my toddler. The reality is that working from home (or just working full stop to be fair) is a lot like the latest video from www.furniture-work.co.uk.

I assumed that I would be lonely, but I needn’t have worried, my pets make sure that I don’t get a chance to be lonely.

I would lose weight because I would have plenty of time to make healthy meals and may even get out walking in my lunch break.

I would never have to rely on CBeebies as a babysitter because I would get everything done while I had childcare.

I would have food ready for when everyone else got home.

My house would be spotless.

Working from home expectation vs reality

I am quite relieved to discover that I’m not alone in my work from home woes, a lot of my fellow bloggers face similar woes :

I expected a nice tidy house, comfy chair and warm cups of tea, the reality is a sh*t tip and not enough time to even put the kettle on – Hello Beautiful Bear.

My desk would be all set up nicely with everything to hand and in it’s place, in reality I’m working on the sofa on my laptop and not knowing where anything is in the chaos – Ankle Biters Adventures.

I expected that I could be a Mum/Wife spend more time with my family and still have a career but the reality is my house is messy, I spend hours in the evening still working and my family see less of me now than before! – Soph Obsessed.

I thought I’d be able to start work not long after my husband gets home but turns out I generally don’t start until at least 8:30pm!  – Me, him, the dog and a baby.

People who say they get more done working from home. Really?! I get distracted by the TV, Post man, anyone who walks past outside, in fact anything and everything is a distraction! Even pigeons in the garden! – Twin Mummy and Daddy.

I would have a nice tidy desk with beautiful notebooks and stationery and a laptop that never goes wrong. The radio would play my favourite songs, the dogs would sleep around my feet and I would have huge amounts of enthusiasm every day. I would never have writer’s block – I failed on every one of those points! – Pack the PJs.

I thought about sitting down with a cup of tea and quickly knocking out a blog post while the toddler sleeps and the big girls have quiet time. In reality I write blog posts to the soundtrack of my little pony while the toddler climbs on my head and I throw snacks at them every time one of them speaks, promising “I’ll be done soon and then we’ll play!” Every time a pang of guilt hits me. – Squished Blueberries – (Disclaimer: this is not every day… but it is today)

My expectations were that I would get work done, get housework done and have dinner on the table each evening. The reality? None of the above –  The Incidental Parent.

I expected a quiet and calm, tidy office space, all filed neatly into labelled drawers, my reality is loud, sticky, messy carnage!  – Twinderelmo.

I fantasise about getting work done, lists drawn up and completed, smugly crossing through my tasks written on nice stationary at my desk. The reality is writing down checklists on whatever paper there is to hand, having spent a while trying to find a biro and using the laptop anywhere in the house whilst trying to dissuade my 9 month old from pulling out the power cable!  – Sophie and Lily.

I would have thought I would have been busy enough to avoid snacking! And yet 4 custard creams later and I’m still hungry. – Lesbemums.

I visualised a proper office, organised, a huge screen to work on. Often I end up hunched over our dining room table or in bed with my laptop. The home office is still the dream. One day, hopefully.  – Scandi Mummy.

I had the dream of having a bright and airy office that would boost my work productivity, in reality I still spend as much time procrastinating as before, maybe even more so now – Mum’s The Nerd.

I thought that no commute would mean much more time to get things done, however, with people coming to the house, phone calls and house work, you actually have less time. – Household Money Saving.

My expectations were that I would get so much work done each day and be able to focus. Reality is that if there is housework to do it plays on my mind until I get on and do it. It’s probably my biggest distraction because when I am at home I feel I should be doing it! – Emma Reed.

Expectation – enjoying a nice leisurely lunch with something lovely I’ve rustled up. Reality – eating a Wispa and a packet of Monster munch at my desk each day and raging at the thought of my husband enjoying his lunch hour! – Five Little Doves.

If, like me, you are still trying to figure out how to get work done with children around check out Louise’s alternative guide.

 

*Disclosure – Collaborative Post*

Blogging Income & Stats September 2017

September was a lot better than August, I knew it would be because I had some big payments due to clear, enough to see me through the month already, meaning that all other work completed and paid during September was a nice bonus, yet somehow I still ended up going overdrawn! Interestingly I received more money from social media than my actual blog this month, social media influencing really seems to be the way forward and what a lot of brands are leaning towards.

Despite blocking the Romanian bots at the end of last month September saw a large influx of visitors from the USA who also seem to be bots. I’m beginning to think that Google Analytics really isn’t an accurate way to track stats, contrary to popular opinion.

My skewed stats show 25,294 page views, 21,980 of which were from unique users. My domain authority is now on 37, Tots100 hasn’t updated since my last stats post so I am still ranked at 102. My Klout is back up to 70.

My followings as of 1st October are:

Facebook : 1,232
Twitter : 8,562
Instagram : 25,972
Pinterest : 1,246
Google+ : 409
Bloglovin’ : 1,351
YouTube : 411

My earnings during September were:

Sponsored blog post fees – £608.66
Sponsored social media fees – £850.00
Referral fees/advertising revenue – £64.68

Total income – £1,523.34

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Hosting fees – £4.99
Domain privacy set up – £6.25
Paypal fees – £2.07 (I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Photoshop – £8.57
Epidemic Sound – £10.00 (YouTube music)
Bank charges – £6
iCloudstorage – £2.49
Social media scheduling – £18.33
Hotel at BlogOn – £69.50

Total Expenses : £128.20

Total income less expenses : £1,395.14

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review : September Degustabox, Little Cocorico bag, carpet, two nights stay in Southsea with attractions, food and accommodation.

Blogging Income & Stats August 2017

For a moment I genuinely thought that I wasn’t going to earn anything during August. I started to panic, but thankfully a few small SEO type jobs came in towards the end of the month. They weren’t big payments but they paid fast and all added up to a fairly decent sum. While a lot of bloggers frown upon people taking these low fees, I see no issue with it, especially if they are the difference between putting food on the table or not.

I’ve started to notice that my stats have been soaring recently, unfortunately when this was looked into it came to light that I have a lot of bot hits from Romania, Germany and a few other countries. This is a great shame as my stats will have been good this month due to a very popular giveaway, but they are skewed due to these bots. The bots have now been blocked so future reports will be more accurate.

My skewed stats show 29,709 page views, 23,571 of which were from unique users. My domain authority is now on 37, I dropped A LOT in the Tots100 chart and am now out of the top 100 and ranked at 107, they did change a metric this month and have said that the charts aren’t accurate but should settle at the next update, so hopefully I will go back up then. My Klout has has been fluctuating between 65 & 66 and is currently sat at 66.

My followings as of 1st September are:

Facebook : 1,220
Twitter : 8,244
Instagram : 25,195
Pinterest : 1,221
Google+ : 408
Bloglovin’ : 1,349
YouTube : 400

My earnings during August were:

Sponsored blog post fees – £533.50
Sponsored social media fees – £50
Referral fees/advertising revenue – £65.41

Total income – £648.91

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Hosting fees – £4.99
Paypal fees – £17.13 (I get charged when companies pay me via Paypal)
Photoshop – £8.57
iCloud Storage – £2.49
Social media scheduling – £19.39
Epidemic Sound – £10.00 (YouTube music)

Total Expenses : £62.57

Total income less expenses : £586.34

On top of the income I received the following to promote/review.

August Degustabox, playhouse, electric blinds, bed for Aria and paint for Aria’s bedroom.

I currently have outstanding sponsored post fees totalling £1,110.

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