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Monday - Design Inspiration
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Product Photography

I'm taking a break, greedily looking forward to the new cutter plotter that should be arriving via FedEx any moment now. This is so huge, in ways I can't even begin to describe. Let me just say that aside from the press-printed pieces I've done to this point, you've never seen precision quality the way this one ... enormous ... little machine will offer. And my husband can stop having nightmares. Definitely a bonus.

Like the gorgeous keepsake locket above? Me too! I'm drooling all over it, and it was made by a fellow EcoEtsy member LakeEerieBeachGlass to boot! Check it out here, and keep reading for some ideas on how you can make your own product photography just as striking.

Quick experiment: take one full page of a specific type of product you sell and really study the pictures. Note everything about them. Now, quickly, run to a “commercial” catalog that sells something similar and run a search for your type of product. Again, look at the pictures. Notice anything?

There’s no difference in a high-quality product handcrafted and sold from your own home (except that it’s likely to be better for you!) and a product sold by the commercial catalogs. Perception is the key, and photography is where it happens.

Photographing inanimate objects and turning them into something truly worthy of display is a difficult task. But it is one that everyone can do – with a little bit of experimentation.

Step One: Play with Backgrounds – Don’t settle for spreading your beloved product out across your couch or floor. Instead, think creatively. There’s a reason that you can now find hundreds of earring shots taken dangling from a green apple. When that stock photo came out, it was so stunning that people couldn’t help but take it for their own use. The thing you’ll find most useful is to look to “nature” for perfect backgrounds. If your product is at home outside, take it outside and see how it looks framed by leaves, or peeking out of fresh green grass. Jewelry tends to look stunning against “foodie” backgrounds like fruit, coffee beans, rice, and nature backgrounds like twigs and sand or shells.

Step Two: Play with View – Nothing says anywhere that to have a good product shot you have to fit the whole product in the frame. Yes, you will need at least one good photo of the whole product, but is that necessarily the best way to capture attention? Not usually.
Instead, focus on specific aspects of your product that really stand out. Pull the frame in tight and snap away. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this one step can transform the way you do product photography – for the better.

Step Three: Lighten it Up – This step is actually two steps in one. First, think obviously and add some more light to your shot. The best product shots are full of light, with no strange darkness hiding behind the product or creeping in from the corners. You might find that this is most easily done outdoors on a sunny day, or you can experiment with adding light sources to your setting, just out of camera range.

Second, think not so obviously. How many things are going on in your photo? Lighten up the scene by removing all the heavy “extra” stuff. At most, the ideal product shot will contain three things: the background, the product, and a highlight. This highlight usually comes in the foreground (leaves or flowers hanging closer to the camera than the product and background, for example). Beyond these three things, nothing else should be in the photo. Your product needs to remain the focus.

Posted by Lolaness

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