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*

Like this? Pin it!  Product Photography for Bloggers

Perfecting Your Instagram Photography

Pretty much every man and their dog wants to be insta-famous nowadays (seriously, some of those dog accounts are killing it!). Instagram is no longer about sharing a photo in the moment, it is about creating a gallery, a beautifully curated gallery, and while the key to a successful instagram account isn’t photography alone, perfecting your instagram photography will help.

You don’t need a fancy camera

I never thought I would say this, but, you really don’t need a fancy camera. I have always been a bit of a camera snob, priding myself on picking up the finer details and having the perfect depth of field, yet, one of my most popular instagram photos was taken on my iPhone 6s, and while it isn’t of a quality that I would ever consider blowing up and printing, it works for instagram. Most people view instagram in teeny tiny squares on their phone, meaning that the quality of the photo doesn’t matter too much. I’m not saying go out and take real shit quality photos and put little effort in, what I am saying is, you really don’t need a DSLR, and also, flower walls will always win instagram.

Bank holiday has been super lazy 😴😴I’ve done pretty much bugger all, apart from a walk to the park and BBQ with the in-laws tonight 🔥🍔Spencer went out with the boys on Saturday for bank hol beers but not me, I made no plans, despite craving bank holiday beer garden booze times ❌🍻Why? Because I’m weak, like super weak. I am determined to have a 100% week on my diet, I even took slimming world potato salad and a weight watchers pudding to the BBQ 💪🏻💪🏻I am just too weak to go out and not cave. So I stayed in. Stayed in with a toddler who has learnt to climb out of bed and decided that she wasn’t tired 😬😬 I lost count of the amount of times that she appeared downstairs 😤she didn’t end up going to bed until MIDNIGHT 😱😱which is exactly why daytime naps have been banned ❌❌ more about that in my latest blog post, click the link in the bio 👩🏻‍💻

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Take in your surroundings

There is nothing worse than looking at your fabulous picture after the event to discover an overflowing bin in the background. Survey the scene before taking your photo. Frame the photo perfectly within your camera. Move to your subject and set the perfect scene within your frame. I’ve been known to turn Aria around in the swing so that the pretty fields are behind her, rather than the ugly old Leisure Centre. These little details make all the difference when it comes to perfecting your instagram photography.

Focus, focus, focus

Focus is key. If using your phone tap on the main subject of the photo to focus on them. If using your camera move the focus point around, or, lock the focus point down and move your camera to where you want it. When photographing people try to focus on their eyes.

If you need to crop, do it within Instagram

I never, ever crop my instagram photos outside of instagram. I used to, but recently I have discovered that cropping works best within instagram itself. Cropping within instagram gives you a lot more control as you can better see how it will look within the app and at the required size. Leave the overflowing bin in the photo and zoom in to crop it out in instagram. Just remember when uploadloading elsewhere that it hasn’t been cropped. This may have caught me out on a few occasions.

Give your audience what they want

This is where a business account really pays off. The analytics are fab at providing a wealth of useful information, as well as easily sorting your most popular photos over a period of time.

This one is getting SO difficult, but also cuter and funnier, which is good because I need something to sweeten the deal 😁😁 – Today she had a meltdown in a cafe because she wanted her yoghurt before her sandwich 🚨bad mammy alert🚨I gave in to her 🙊🙊it was SO quiet and she was SO loud and I was SO embarrassed 🙈 top parenting right there 🙌🏻 – Other goings on today have included her running in and out of the house and shutting her fingers in the door not once, but twice and getting all of the recycling out of the bins and throwing it down the garden steps 🙈 all because the food shopping came and I stopped paying her attention while sorting it out 🙄 – Man I need booze and chocolate 🍫🍺 if only I wasn’t on a stupid diet 🙄🙄

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By sorting my photos by top engaged over the past year it becomes evident that photos of myself and Aria always do well, other than one or two particularly nice photos of Aria, the photos of us together are dominating the top. This shows me that my audience like to see photos of me, the person behind the camera. As a result I now aim to include a photo of Aria and me at least once a week, more if I can.

Get down to your subjects level

I say down because my subject tends to be a toddler, basically kneel down, sit down, stand on tip toes or steps, just do what you can to be on the same level as your subject and the photo will look instantly better. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as when you hover over them and they melt you with their big blue eyes, but generally, if you are stood up and your toddler is stood up it isn’t going to work. Kneel down to meet their eye level and you will see a huge difference in your photography.

 

Be real, but not too real

People like to be able to relate, people like to know that your life isn’t perfect, but people also like visually appealing photos. If I were to post a photo of Aria in a dark and dingy house with toys and general mess everywhere it would flop, it’s not pretty or funny, therefore it isn’t visually appealing, it is just a kid stood in a shit tip. Save that stuff for instagram stories, where, in my opinion, mess is perfectly acceptable, in fact, it’s desired. People are naturally attracted to clean, bright photos, so if you want your photo to stand out in amongst feeds stick to this.

Lighting is key

Good lighting can make all the difference to your photo, especially when using a phone. The golden hours (shortly after sunrise and before sunset) are the ultimate times for your whimsy perfect captures, but they aren’t always possible, especially when littles are involved. Believe it or not the best days for photography are your grey and overcast days. Try to avoid shooting in direct sunlight, especially at midday when it is at it’s strongest. If shooting indoors open up your curtains and let as much natural light in as possible, avoid turning lights on if you can as they often create a yellow glow which doesn’t look good. If this can’t be avoided you can easily adjust the colour temperature to make it cooler on most editing software, including Photoshop and PicMonkey.

Don’t post for the sake of posting

If you aren’t 100% happy with your photo don’t post it just because you have nothing else to post. People say consistency is key and that you should post your photos at the same time every day and stick to a regular posting schedule. This is right, but it won’t work if you post any old sub par photo just because you need to stick to your schedule. If you don’t have a photo that you are 100% happy with, it is okay not to post. If you really are concerned about sticking to a tight schedule then make sure that you have a bank of photos, instagram lost its instant a long time ago so don’t worry about posting a photo taken a while ago, as long as it is seasonally appropriate no one will bat an eyelid.

Take a wide selection of photos

For every one instagram photo that I post there are around one hundred that didn’t make the cut! Taking photos of a toddler is hard, be prepared to keep snapping away until you find the perfect photo. Burst mode is your friend.

Filters aren’t necessary to create a theme

Once upon a time I believed that you had to have a theme for your instagram account, and I decided that my theme would be to edit all of my photos with a hazy pink filter. This looked lovely on some photos, but on others, rather than adding to the photo it took away from it. Nowadays the majority of my photos are bright and colourful, but occasionally if I feel a photo would be better suited with a hazy filter I will add one. I’ve come to realise that my theme is me, my personality, my captions, and also Aria and (hopefully) good photos. If you do want to use filters for your photos (because there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so) consider using out of app filters. Some of my favourite filters come in the form of Photoshop actions, these are relatively cheap to purchase, can be applied to your photo in the click of a button and give you a lot more control than instagram filters.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun! 

Life really is about taking the rough with the smooth isn’t it? Like when I walk along the beautiful, scenic canal 🛶🦆most of it is lush, but what I don’t tend to show you is that I have to pass through dark, dingy, graffiti filled tunnels that stink of piss 🤢welcome to the valleys butt 🤛🏻 This weekend has been all about taking the rough with the smooth 👩🏻🙇🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️I had a fab day on Saturday at #ThisWelshMotherMeets, then I spent yesterday in A&E after Aria fell from the top to the bottom of our stairs 🚑 thankfully she was absolutely fine, but because it was such a big fall they had to monitor her for four hours just to be sure. I was so scared, stressed and worried and am now exhausted and drained 😴😴 We’ve also had stresses with the house sale/purchase being delayed and the solicitors at the top of the chain seemingly ignoring everyone 🤷🏻‍♀️ today I have been convinced that it would all fall through, to then discover that it’s all fine and the top of the chain want to complete FRIDAY 😱😱 we’ve had to say no, talk about short notice!

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We’re Going on a Unicorn Hunt – with Jenny Healey Photography

Aria is a little bit excited. I am A LOT excited. Why? Because we are going in search of unicorns! Some of you may know that last year I worked for the very talented Jenny Healey Photography, a unique and creative family photographer based in South Wales. Well, Jenny has outdone herself with her decision to hold a Unicorn Experience day, that’s right, a unicorn photoshoot in South Wales, so of course Aria has to go.

a unicorn photoshoot in South Wales with talented and creative family photographer Jenny Healey photography based in South Walesphoto by Jenny Healey Photography, family photographer based in South Wales

Obviously I will share some of our photos with you after the photoshoot, but as it is a one day only thing and I don’t want you guys to miss out, Jenny has given me permission to share some of her photos with my readers so that they can get a taste of the experience and what it is all about. She has also said that any of my readers who book a shoot can have a little present just by mentioning my blog, unicorns and presents, she really is spoiling you!

a unicorn photoshoot South Wales with Pontypool based family photographer Jenny Healeyphoto by Jenny Healey Photography, family photographer based in South Wales

When?

The unicorn experience will be taking place during half term on Friday 2nd June.

Where?

The experience is taking place at the foot of a hill near a stream, which can be located opposite the entrance to The Grange Trekking Centre which is situated in the Historic vale of Ewyas, between Hay-on-Wye, the town of books and Abergavenny, the gateway to Wales.

What?

Join Jenny for a magical thirty minute unicorn photoshoot in a stunning location. Soak up the magic of the experience and let Jenny capture the amazing memories for you. There are two unicorns ready and waiting for you to join them, one Shetland Pony and the other a large Palomino, even the little sitters of eight months plus can sit next to a mini Unicorn.

Included in the experience cost is a large 32×16 inch storyboard (rrp £225). This can contain three images from your session and can be either portrait or landscape orientation.

How to book

If you want to book the unicorn experience for yourself (and why wouldn’t you?) or you want to find out more you can contact Jenny and Jemma on 01495 616127,  or jennyhealeyphotography@gmail.com. Don’t forget to mention that you found out via A Slice of My Life Wales to claim your free unicorn goodie bag.

What to do in the area

While you’re in this beautiful area it would be a shame not to take in the surroundings and make a half term trip out of it. Visit Jenny’s blog for a full list of places of interest nearby, including a fairy tale castle, a magical book shop and a beautiful riverside meadow.

Like this? Pin it!A magical unicorn photoshoot in South Wales.photo by Jenny Healey Photography, family photographer based in South Wales

See our Disney photo shoot with Jenny here.

Tips for Photographing Newborns
*This is a Collaborative Post*

Newborns are new for such a short time that it’s really important to capture their soft, well, newness before it evaporates and they become more alert and part of the world. You’d think that photographing newborn babies would be easy – it’s not like they’re going to get up and run away, after all!

However, there are a few tricks you can use to get the most out of a newborn photo-shoot. If you or someone you know has a new baby, you can take some amazing shots and combine them in a collage canvas from Hello Canvas as a keepsake or gift.

Tips for photographing newborns - a blog post full of tips to capture great images of your newborn baby

Getting the baby ready

Of course there are countless special moments and firsts with a new baby, but you can’t arrange for them to happen when the light is ideal and there’s no milk dribble! These are more suitable for instant smartphone captures, whereas for a canvas collage, you need to get everything right, which entails planning.

Props

Everyone loves the current trend for photographing newborns in sleeping poses, covered with crocheted blankets and hats, or laid out on a sheepskin rug. It’s easy, really, as newborns are asleep a lot and a happy, well-fed sleepy baby is much easier to arrange into cute poses! If you’re planning a shoot, time it to coincide with a nap and make sure you have everything ready – blankets, hats, baskets and so forth. Then, once she’s all full of milk and is dropping off, you can strike!

You’ll need to have mum and dad on hand, as the unusual activity might make naps shorter, and a familiar voice and smell will help to relax the baby. The room will need to be warm, too, as few things make new babies as miserable as feeling cold.

What to use

Some people might want to do away with nappies and blankets for a few shots, and this can look adorable, but you need to box clever to reduce the chance of accidents and be prepared for – ahem – mishaps. One of the reasons for using woollen, linen or silky blankets with a baby is to accentuate the softness of the baby’s skin, especially if the props are in neutral colours.

A touch of fun

You don’t have to stick to muted neutrals, you can dress the baby in a fun costume if you want, for a bit of variety. It might be an idea to try out the costumes later in the shoot, when the baby is a bit more awake, as waking her up when she wants to sleep isn’t a great idea. Alternatively, you can try out different hats, as this doesn’t involve quite so much fussing, chopping and changing.

Long-lasting memories

You might be doing the photo-shoot for a fun experience, or you might be planning to print some canvases or portraits for yourself and for relatives to keep forever as a memento of those precious early days. Remember, they fly by in a sleep-deprived haze, so don’t tarry!

My Sunday Photo #5 – Father’s Day

With today being Father’s Day I thought it was apt to share a photo of Aria and her daddy this week. This photo was taken on a recent walk around Cwmbran Boating Lake and the surrounding area. The blossoms are in full bloom at the moment and everything is looking so pretty, bright and colourful – creating perfect photo opportunties.

daddy and daughter photo sat on felled tree with pink Rhododendron backdrop

Happy Father’s Day Spencer!

Photalife