Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Taking Product Pictures, Part 1: The Shoot


I’ve missed you all! I hope your Mother’s Day was as lovely as mine, and I hope you aren’t still hobbled by that half marathon you should have trained for like me! Let’s get back into the swing of things, shall we?

I’ve done my fair share of product photo shoots over the past eight months, so I thought I’d share the setup that’s working the best for me now.  In the next two parts of this little series I’ll give you my editing process and tips for streamlining your photo shoots.


photo setup for etsy windows


For a long time I took my pictures in my sewing room.  Although it’s the most convenient, it certainly isn’t the best for light (the orange walls don’t help). I finally noticed that the big bay windows in our kitchen let in really nice light in the mornings, mostly due to the filtering effect of those sheer curtains.


photo setup for etsy board


I like to use an all-white background for my pictures because my fabrics are so colorful.  I use a big white project board (the kind we all used for science fair projects) as my background, and I keep a big piece of white felt on hand to lay across the table.  You can see the project board is kind of tucked into our light fixture – it just barely fits. 

I don’t turn that overhead light on because it gives the pictures a yellowish tint; I just rely on good ol’ sunlight.  On a cloudier day I set up my camera on a tripod and take pictures using my remote to ensure super-crisp pictures.  If it’s a sunny day, I can usually use a fast enough shutter speed and just hold the camera while I squat down in front of the window.


photo setup for etsy floor


For the pictures of products lying flat (like this bib and this changing pad – the picture of it opened up), I lay that big piece of felt on the floor and take my pictures from above.  I used to put everything on the table, then stand on a chair and risk my neck by leaning in strange angles to get the best shot.  We live and we learn, right?

Once I have all my pictures taken, I sit down after the kids go to bed and tackle editing them in Photoshop Elements.  We’ll get to that next time!

In case you’re interested in the specifics, I shoot with a Nikon D40, which I looooove.  If I need a flash I use my SB600 Speedlight or O-Flash.  My tripod is just an inexpensive collapsible one and my remote was a ridiculously cheap one the hubs found on Ebay.  And just an FYI – those are affiliate links.

1 comment:

  1. Its always fun seeing how other artists work behind the scenes! I work in a similar way:)
    Hope you had a wonderful mother's day!


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