If there’s one thing that’s true when it comes to ecommerce, it's that the perceived value of your products is always judged by the quality of your product photography. But when you're just starting out, getting your product images done can be a very hard task because good photography is very expensive. There are many product photography tools to help you to get the job done easily. As professional photographers we understand this more than anyone, and as a company that works with small businesses everyday, we also know that sometimes the money’s just not there. If that’s you, and your budget is tight, have you thought about taking the DIY approach to taking your own images? It’s not as hard as you might think.
There are lots of techniques for shooting successful product photography, but the one we are going to show you is the easiest one. Gear is at the heart of photography and can be really exciting, but typically it’s the aspect that most people become confused about. There’s no necessity to spend a large portion of your budget on high-tech equipment, so keep an open mind and try not to overspend on gadgets that do the same job lighting your product as a £1 piece of card can do. You can probably do this window light setup for £20 or less if you already own a camera.
You don't take a photograph, you make it.
You’re only going to need a few things for this setup:
You don’t need a pro DSLR camera. I would just start out with whatever you have and see what the results are, also an iPhone can do the trick.
It’s a common myth that it’s the camera that takes the pictures, but in reality the camera is only one piece of the whole. A photo is made up of many components such as lighting, exposure, styling and post produsction.
Since you’re going to set your camera to a quite small aperture a tripod can be very handy. But don't worry if you don't have one, you can shoot also hand held.
3. White Background
You can buy a Poster Roll on Amazon for £5
Depending on the table, you can use either tape or clamps to secure your background. You can affix it to the bottom of a large plastic storage container that’s flipped onto its side.
6. Bright Room
A room with large windows is one of the key requirements, and the bigger the windows, the more light you’ll get in.
Setting up your table
Put your table as close as possible to the window around 90 degrees to the right or left of your shooting table.
Dont let the direct sunlight hitting your set, it makes harsh shadows and looks bad on most people and products.
Place your product in the center and leave enough room to sneak your white reflector card in later.
Setting up your camera
1. Set your white balance (WB) to Auto.
2. Turn off your flash.
3. Image settings – set it to the largest JPG setting you have.
Quality – F (fine)
Set your ISO to 100: Remember- the higher the ISO the more digital noise there is.
Exposure Settings - Aperture Priority
Your camera might not have this, but if it does, change the f/stop to very highest number - F11 or higher . Aperture Priority should automatically adjust the shutter speed to be what the camera thinks it should be.
A wide aperture like f2.8 or f4.5 will narrow your depth of field, leaving parts of your product out of focus. A small aperture like f11 will give you a wider depth of field, keeping your entire product in focus.
If your camera doesn't have Aperture Priority you can use Auto Exposure
If you have an exposure compensation dial, you will most likely need to add +1 or +1 ½ to get the correct exposure. If you are using an iPhone, just tap the area you want exposed properly.
Zoom in - most cameras have an optical zoom and a digital zoom. Don’t use the digital zoom as this will lower the quality of the image . If you have an optical zoom, try zooming in as far as you can.
Don’t use a wide angle lens. You will distort your product.
Set up your product in the middle of the surface.
Set up your white reflector card - this is an important one. You only need a piece roughly the height of your product, normally, an A4 size will work. Bend it in half, so that it stands up on its own. Its purpose is to bounce light back onto the product. The light will bounce off the card and fill in all the shadows. Try it at different angles to get the perfect lighting. You will not need it if there are two light sources (windows) on each side of your shooting table.
Once you are ready take the picture . Feel free to experiment with different ways of making a perfect shot and over time your skills will considerably improve.
Upload your images onto your computer to get a better idea of how they look. The back of your camera is never very accurate.
Once you’ve got a final image you’re happy with, it’s time to get it retouched. If you photographed your product correctly, the product should be exposed properly and the background should be off white.
You’ll need to crop your images to the exact dimensions and then resize the image.
Once you’ve cropped the image, it’s time to save the final resized image for upload to your site.
Post production software like Adobe Photoshop is one of the best retouching tools out there but we won’t have time to go into the details of using it however check our blog regulary or visit our YouTube channel for new tutorials.