Tips for Product Photography

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Most people don't think that we take photos of our aprons ourselves -- and probably no one would believe that they are actually taken in my bedroom!  So, here it is, a little behind the scenes of our product photography.

Please keep in mind that I have absolutely NO photography training and this is just meant to kind of show what we do, so, if you have questions, I will do my best to answer them, but, I'm no pro!

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, first thing first, you will need to identify your light sources in the room that you are working in. For me, that means my super awesome overhead light and my bank of windows. As you can see from the images (please overlook the ugly popcorn ceiling!), they are casting two completely different lights – and that needs to be addressed.

The ceiling light is that funky orange-yellow light that we are all familiar with from a standard light bulb whereas the natural light coming in from the windows is a kind of a blueish light.

We don’t want those to compete so we'll turn off the ceiling light so we only have the blue light being cast by the natural light. This is important because we use soft box lights that use those awesome daylight bulbs which will cast the same light as the windows (as close as you can get with artificial light, at least).

Now, as you will notice, I have placed the soft boxes strategically to light the areas that I need to be the brightest – which basically is the white paper backdrop so that it will create a “blow out” effect and leave me with a completely white background. I am NOT lighting the super awesome Red Trekkie apron with these lights because they are too bright and will alter the coloring of the apron itself and that’s just no beuno.

Now let's see what it looks like with those lights turned on -- right after I took the photo above, I flipped all of the lights on and got the picture below. 

Yikes, somehow, it gets that dark in there!  But, I promise, it gets better & brighter!

To light the apron, I bring in these two daylight bulb lights on stands with removable umbrellas – sometimes I need the umbrellas and sometimes I don’t. The image above is without the umbrellas, but, the one below shows the incredible difference when I put them on and it bounces the light toward the apron....

I then adjust my white balance on my camera, zoom in, and start snapping away. You can see that I have all of the light stuffs in the shot, but, I will edit that out later. The focus should be on making sure that you get the best shot you can of your subject. In this case, our super awesome Red Trekkie apron. I am a little lucky in that red and black are pretty easy to shoot. Your camera settings are important here – and I really don’t have the expertise to help out with that – this is just to help out with the lighting and background.

So, now that we have the images snapped, we’re going to use some photo editing tools to crop, paint, and lighten a bit (if needed). As you see, I crop my images with all of that lighting stuff still in the image – I am not trying to remove it just yet.  

After I get the image size I want and then I switch to focusing on the image quality – is it too dark? Is it too light? In this case, it’s a tad too dark so I adjust the curves slightly in Photoshop.

Then, I bust out the paint brush that has a feathered edge and make the paint color white. Now is where we are trying to remove the lighting equipment – and we just paint over those puppies to leave you with a nice, crisp white background all over. As you can see, it doesn’t take much since it’s only on the edges!

And here is the final result!  One super awesome handcrafted apron that looks like it belongs in a professional catalog or magazine and is all ready for our shop and social media. 

I hope this helps some.  Again, I am not a professional photographer, but, I have found something that works for our needs. You can totally look back through our retired aprons on our Gallery Page to see that our photography has evolved over time.  The best advice that I can give is to play around and see what works for you and your needs. Take tons of photos and move lights around! 

If you think this post could help someone out with their own product photography, please pin it, link it, post it, and tweet it!  Thank you....

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