Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Product Photo Tips

 I've been having a lot of product photography questions, so I thought I'd run a blog on a few basic tips. I'm going to try to do a quickly camera tips blog as well on different settings as well. If you have something specific you'd like to learn about, please e-mail me your questions and I will try to get to answering them here as well.

A few things that come in handy when I’m photographing product:
1. A light box with simple backgrounds. This keeps most reflections from around the room off your product. It also helps filter the light. You can build your own light box http://www.digital-photography-school.com/how-to-make-a-inexpensive-light-tent (which didn’t go well for me and I didn’t like the fact that it didn’t clean up nice and compact). You can also purchase many different types from most photography stores.

2. A tripod and a remote shutter release. This ensures a still camera and results in a non blurry photo. Most cameras can be mounted to a tripod, however, not all cameras are compatible with a remote. You can also. Try using the timer on the camera.

3. Bright lights. Try to get the most natural lighting possible. Some lights will give your object a bluish look, while others will throw more of a orangey-yellow look to your objects.

4. Photo editing programs. I use photoshop to touch up minor blemishes and get the coloring just right. There are many types of photo editing programs available for a small cost. I use Photoshop Elements which is a editing program that has more options than a lot of people will ever need. Picasa and Gimp are free downloads available online.

5. Focus...make sure you focus on your object, not on your other props!

6. TIME. Don’t rush yourself. Take the time to get things right! 

Take pictures of your items at different angles. Stage your product with something that lends to it, not takes away.
Simple backgrounds are often best as your main focus is on the product itself.
I do tend to shoot in manual mode, rather than in Auto, giving me a lot more control over how my photo is going to turn out. This means adjusting your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and sometimes even the white balance.
The biggest thing for me when I browse items online that I’m considering purchasing is the photos. If they aren’t clear and crisp or well lit, I will usually go on to the next shop. It may sound a bit bias, but how do you really know what the quality of the product is if the photo isn’t quality. If you don’t feel confident in producing quality photos, hire someone to do this for you that is experienced and has the equipment to do it.
Just a few questions I've had in the past year and a half...

Q: Is there an easy way to minimize the glare or hot spots from the ceramic glaze or glass?
A:  Use a light box or white cloth to filter your light do you are not putting direct light on your objects.

Q: I have a problem with zooming in on jewelry and getting focused pictures. When I zoom, it gets out of focus. Any suggestions?
A: Use a tripod and try a manual focus. Also, you may be too close to zoom in depending on the camera equipment you are using.

Q:  Is "white balance" affected by the MACRO setting?
A: White balance is taken into consideration no matter what setting you shoot in.

Q:  I use a light box, my photo's seem to have a yellow hue to them and look a little flat. I do not use my flash and I set the macro setting. What am I doing wrong?
A: Use extra lighting, and again adjust the white balance!

Q: how do i make the jewelry sharp and crisp and the background blurry?

A: A higher aperture will take care of that. Also allows for a faster shutter speed depending on your lighting. 

Q: How do I not get the dark backgrounds in photos? 
A: I would recommend trying more lights to light up your background. Try using a large piece of paper or a flat sheet to keep the background looking smooth and flawless. A paper would probably reflect light the best. 

Q: How to crop pics for thumbnails?
A: etsy recommends the photo to be a minimum of 570 pixels on widest side. Remember to keep your product somewhat centered to it shows on the thumbnails. For vertical photos, you may need to leave some white space on top and bottom so that your focal point shows on the thumbnail.

Q: Can you think of any reason why my photos have been turning out with a lot of blue tint lately? I use a manual white balance setting and is it possible for that to go wacko or something?
A: White balance. You can adjust according to your inside lights, sunny day, cloudy day, etc.

Here is an example of a photo shot in auto white balance versus manual set white balance. 

REMEMBER that your customers can not pick up your product to view them as in a brick and mortar store. Your photos need to be a selling point! Quality photos equal sales!

Another option, for those that just don't like to use the camera, or would rather be creating that shooting is to send your product to a professsional photographer. I have worked with a few different types of products and have a waiting list for those that are interested in being notified when I have an opening for a new client. I will be opening a portfolio of my works for this in the near future for potential customers to view what I have already done for other customers.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Revisiting 2012 Goals

Here are this years goals...
1. Putting God and family before business.  I still want to promote a bit every day, but I need to put other things in my life first and trust that this will still all stay together and go places!
2. Reach 400 sales by December 31,2012.
3. Have at least 100 items listed in my shop.
4. Listing a new print each week-meaning getting out there with my camera!
5. Find a target market and go with it.
6. Have a successful shop over haul!
7. Read through the Bible in the year.

1. I hope I'm doing good with it. I try to do things for my family and get things done rather than going to my camera or etsy shop first.

2. This one is going to need a lot of work. Of cours I can't push the sales to happen.

3. I've got 160 right now and working towards 300+

4. I did a batch of new onesi so listing a new one almost every day but have not been doing a new one each week

5. Still working on finding the target market.

6. Still working on the shop over haul...over haul number two for this year actually.

7. I've started with reading through the Bible. Haven't been reading every day but I can see that this one should get fulfilled

Alright, time to get more house work and such done. Maybe I can do a few more photos later today too :)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Giveaway in the plans...

I'm working on putting together a giveaway from various etsy shops and local businesses. If you're interested in donating a prize, please email me a photo of your prize, your social media links such as Etsy shop, blog, newsletter, Facebook, Flickr, twitter, stumbleupon, pinterest, g+, and anything else you might want people to follow.

Each person entering will have to like your main page (you choose which you want that to be) and then get extra entries for following all the extras.

What is in it for you? Everyone will hopefully promote the giveaway to your family, friends and fans, and in return, we will all be getting new fans, new followers, and potentially new customers.

If you have questions, feel free to email at crystalzphotography@gmail.com