Taking Easy, At-Home Product PhotosOct 10, 2021
If selling products is a part of your small business, take care to show those products in their best light, at their best angles, and with your own branded spin. It may sound a little intimidating, but you really can create beautiful, professional-grade images with just your smartphone and some easy, affordable, at-home hacks.
What camera should I use for my product photos?
First up, the camera question. We use a Canon 80D for the majority of the product photos we take for our clients. If you’re interested in an entry-level camera, we recommend this creator kit from Canon. However, you’d be amazed what your smartphone can do, especially the latest models. The cameras on our smartphones just keep getting better and more sophisticated. So if you’re not in the market for a camera, consider a simple phone upgrade instead.
Should I use props with the products?
The key to DIY product photography is to use what’s laying around or easily found at your local store. For instance, we’ve snapped product photos using a spare piece of marble laminate, leftover from a bathroom remodel, paired with a simple white foam board. Voila! The scene is set.
Next, consider how you’re going to create dimension. Risers are a huge help, but actual photo styling blocks can cost a small fortune. Instead, pop by your nearest Target or Michaels and see what you can repurpose into risers. We’ve used upside-down desk organizers, toothbrush holders, even sleek candle lids as wallet-friendly risers for staging products at various heights.
You can set up your studio on a chair or other surface, though we love a chair for propping up your backdrop. The key is to make your set-up rather portable, so you can chase that natural light. More on that in a moment.
Lets talk about Lighting your Product Photos...
Have you seen influencers in the wild, doing crazy contortions to get the shot? Product photography is sort of like that—contorting your “studio,” so to speak, to capture the perfect picture. As we hinted above, you want to shoot in natural daylight. Set up your little studio directly next to a window, wherever that window may be—in your kitchen, at work, wherever! It may be that you have to shoot at a particular time of day to get the best light.
Once you’re all set up, turn to these easy, effective tricks for making that natural light work best for you: Wrap a piece of cardboard (like from an old delivery box) in tin foil. You can use this to reflect light and direct it however you want. For example, you might do this to brighten up a shadowy spot on your product.
Similarly, you can turn to the scrapbooking aisle at your local craft store to find metallic sheets of paper that will have a similar effect to the tin foil. The difference? If you use a gold-tinted paper, it will reflect warm, gold-tinted light. Depending on your brand’s look and feel, this subtle infusion of color may be just the thing. Which brings us to…
How to bring in your branding to your photography
You don’t just want these photos to show off the products—you want them to represent your brand. Instead of shooting on a plain white background, purchase scrapbook paper in your brand’s colors, and use that as a backdrop.
Consider what extra touches or little props might further drive home your brand, whether it’s greenery, fabric, flowers, a makeup bag, a hairbrush, and so on. If you’re shooting products made with particular ingredients—for instance, citrus—slice up some lemons and limes to liven up the scene.
Lastly, when photographing products that feature your brand name, make sure that name is visible and facing the camera in every shot. Use dots of sticky tack or other hidden props to manipulate the angle of each product.
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