journey to quality product photography

so, now that it's been over a year since i started pretending to konw what i was doing in the online business world,



i'm going to tell you something.

i'm such a faker.

i had no idea how to run a business, much less, take a good product photo.
the irony, is that i was, at the time, getting paid to shoot people.

products are different, obviously,
and the photos i liked to look at took me a whole year to get right...




my first photos i posted on the site looked something like this...
a digital proof of what the case will look like... nasty shaped, and a nasty gray background...


then evolved to something like this...

a real product, but if i go to edit this to brighten it, it will also tamper with the colors,
thus making the product look, far brighter/more saturated than it is.. which isn't good for product photos... this was just embarrassing on the site... so gross...

once i figured out where my natural light was,
i could take half-decent shots, like this...
though still a bit... gray...



i still even have a few up that look something like this...
 {though usually as a second shot of an item...}



and while i still like the look of these sandy, woody pictures,
that kind of say, "hey i'm a california girl working on the beach",
what looks clean and professional in a store front is clean, bright, and white.

so, i bought a shadow box from cowboy studio here,
went and grabbed some lighting from ace
{these are "full spectrum" light bulbs, so they show up blue when not on,
{that's important. it helps get a natural light feel, while actually brightening up your photos a whole lot}
laid down some bright white paper, though it would have been better to use a roll of photo paper like this... or even a bright white butcher paper if you want to be honest.
{unless you are getting paid hundreds of dollars to take these, don't spend that... that's just silly...}

and, with a tri-pod, my lights at 45 degree angles,
and a patient assistant, we went to town.

here is our set-up...
shadow box, over-head light, 2 lights on the side.
a little white-trash of a scene, but it gets the job done...

and pardon the crappy photos, but my real camera is obviously in use...
and well, my kitchen is probably the size of your guest bathroom... so....


see how much light is already on the product!


shot these with a 50mm lens, a few stops over exposed.
every article i've read, and many professionals that shoot product photos for large companies will tell you that it is nearly impossible to take a product photo that requires no editing. so get over it, and edit it.

it isn't a shot of your kiddos, it's a product.

out of the camera, it looks like this...
{even shooting it slightly over exposed, and with the perfect white balance, it will still look dingy. but the colors are almost too saturated...which is good.}



after a bit of lightening, bumping the contrast a hint, and in some cases, even dodging and/or deleting the hint of color in the edges, they have a clean, white background that a girl can be proud of, and a natural blur on the edges {because of the f1.8 50mm lens. get one}

this one shows up a lot lighter color-wise than out of the camera, which is ok, because this is how the color shows up in real life.  if it wasn't, i could lighten it up like this, then burn or saturate just the areas i want to pop the color back in. done and done.



i don't think it's any surprise that the week i changed out all of my new product photos to the pretty white ones, they were shared and favorited all over the place.
cause they are something worth looking at now!

if you don't have a shadow box,
you can make one like this guy did,
with a cardboard box lined with white paper or fabric.  i've seen lots of DIY-ers do this, and even shine light directly into the box so it bounces all around.  that works too.

 or like this food blogger did...
{with the help of her super domestic husband...}


The sides and top are made from a clothes horse cut down to size and clipped together into a cube (so it can be folded up to store it) the material is just a white bedsheet he sewed onto the sides, and the back/bottom is just a roll of white lining paper... so that when spills happen (which I ALWAYS do)  just tear that section off, unroll a clean piece and feed it through :)

genius. completely genius.


anyhoo, there are a handful of different ways to do it, so good luck!




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