Monday, July 6, 2009

Elephunk's Trunk Guide to Beginner's Product Photography

The great Elephunk's Trunk has written a tutorial on how to take great pictures of your products! Here it is:
Step One: Find the Macro setting on your digital camera. This is essential if you sell jewelry or any other small items, and very useful for taking close-ups of details on larger items. Using the Macro setting on the camera will put your item in focus and the background out of focus. Depending on the size of the item and the angle you shoot, you can get part of the item in focus and part out of focus. The icon for macro looks like a little flower.

Step Two: Find good lighting. Most people recommend indirect sunlight. I take all my photos outside on my porch which is always shaded. Early morning or late evening light works really well. Whatever you do, do not use a flash. It will wash out your colors and reflect oddly off your product. If natural light is not an option for you, you can make a light box. I haven't actually tried that yet, but lots of people swear by it.

Step Three: Find an uncluttered background. Interesting backgrounds are great, but only if they don't draw away from the item. If you take a picture of your earrings hanging off a sunflower that stands tall in a field full of crows, it might make an interesting picture. But if I glance at the photo and can't figure out what you are selling, or can't see the earrings clearly, I won't buy them. This is the part I struggle with the most, and the focus of most of the photo critiques I get. For my hats, I usually let the wooden planks form the background. For my purses and haircombs that I don't want to put on the ground to photograph, I keep a large white piece of plastic handy. Also, think about how your photos will look in list view--the thumbnails are tiny! You want to make sure your item stands out.

Now, take the picture! Good luck all and a HUGE thanks to Elephunk's Trunk! You are so awesome (and so are your pictures!).