Thursday, December 22, 2011

Techniques for Product Photography

I thought I'd blog a couple of tips for those of you who have Etsy shops, or other online business that require photos to show your products.  Although I have a really nice camera to work with (Canon 5D Mark ii), you don't have to have one to take decent photos.  The most important thing you need is good natural lighting, and a tripod or stable hand, props, and some sort of editing software.  (I use Photoshop CS3).

This photo was taken on a windowsill with natural light from outside on a snowy day.

Taken on a white sheet of paper, natural light.

Taken with a book and fake flowers for props, natural light.

Taken on a wooden box in my windowsill, natural light.

Taken at night in my living room with a plant stand in the background with iridescent lighting (regular yellowish lightbulb).

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 To create successful photos for your products you first need to adjust to the product needs.  For example, if you are selling minimalist items, then you need to stick to a minimalist feeling in your photos.  Do not use props, and if you do, very simple ones. (Like my paper airplane necklace).  Likewise, if you'd like to create a more intricate feeling, then add some props that will work good for what you are selling.  (My halloween necklace has an orange and black color scheme, and I arranged the necklace to look a little creepy, and like the large stone in the piece is a moon behind the skeleton).

Take time to look for some photography props.  You don't need to spend money on them, but sometimes that can help sell your work.  Look around your house and be creative, you might be surprised what things will work great for what you need.


Don't ever use regular house lights if you can help it.  Natural sunlight, in the shade, is the best option for great lighting.  The more light you have, the sharper, brighter and more clear your photos will turn out.  Also, the brighter your ambient light is, the less you need to worry about a tripod or your photos becoming blurry and underexposed.

With that said; the best places to take photos would be in a windowsill, or a table or flat surface in front of a window, door, or of course outside.  Make sure your products are facing the light, or you will see some backlighting (where the background is brighter than your product and casts a shadow where you might not want it).  Backlighting can be useful sometimes for a certain feel or mood however.

If you have to use indoor lighting, like on a dark cloudy day, or night when no natural light is available, I would highly suggest purchasing some kind of daylight bulb.  But even then, you will have hard cast shadows the will most likely not work for what you'd like to do.  There are certain light diffusers you can purchase to help soften the shadows.  For my halloween necklace, I purposely used iridescent light and wanted it to be tinted yellow to help with the mood.  So in some cases, you might want to use this kind of lighting.


Editing can be extremely useful, I edit almost every photo I take.  There are many days, more than not, when your natural lighting is going to be less than desirable.  Editing your photos can help change the exposure to what you intended it to be in the first place.  You can also sharpen and blur your images to create a greater focal point on your product.  The color balance sometimes needs to be changed as well which you can do in most editing software programs.  The last and most important editing tool you need for your photos is cropping.  This is important for showing off your products in the most effective way.

If you have any photography or other questions, please contact me or leave a comment under this post!
Thank you :)

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post, Megan. I am really looking to change my photos on my shop and I love your tips. They are really helpful!