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.
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 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 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.
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.
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