Taking Quality Product Photos
Well.. we have been trying to figure out how we want our products photographed. Having a shop that gets lots of traffic will depend on me taking quality product photos. I have setup a light tent and have been playing with lighting, camera settings and editing and we are getting there. The light tent I got at Walmart on clearance and it has proven useful over the years. The tent folds up nice when not in use and has a piece of cloth to use for the background in grey and blue. Since I want black I am just using the light tent itself for the background color in my photos. I find the tent to be a nice size for most things I want to photograph and the top and sides do a nice job or diffusing any light I shine through them.
The tent also came with two lights. I have bulbs in them now that are a bit larger than what came with the lights so they geot to hot to really use. So for lighting I am playing with a desk lamp with a halogen bulb that has a regular and high setting. I like the light because it has a flexible arm so I can bend it where I want it. I am able to have lighting from the top and have also played with shining the light through the sides. What I am struggling with is the white balance as there is not a halogen setting. I have sunny, cloudy, fluorescent and incandescent .. but not this type of lighting. Because the white balance does not properly adjust I am having to get close and see if I can edit to get back to the correct color if needed.
In a previous post I talked about cruising through Etsty shops and looking at my eventual competition. I saved photos of what I liked and did not like. Then I took a hard look at them and tried to decide what I did and did not like about the saved photos. The ones I liked tended to use wood as the base for the soap photos. So we went looking for things we could use to have similar photos. I love Primitives so have a great collection of old crates. I found one that almost fit inside the light tent and made it work. You can see in the first photo it is a tad wider than the tent. But the tent stretched a bit and we were able to give it a try.
I took several photos on the crate in the tent and played with the camera settings. I wanted a shallow depth of field so the background would blur a bit. We still have some tweaking to do as I am not getting the blurred background I wanted. So far the more colorful soaps are photographing nicely on the wood with the black backdrop. I like the earthy tones of the wood and they allow the soaps to really shine.
I also tried a floor tile I had bought to see how the soaps would look on it. It is earthy colors of cream, tank, brown and greens. So far I am liking it a bit better on the lighter and solid colored soaps. By playing around with how far from the background the soap is I am able to get more or less of the soap silhouetted against that black. With the light solid soaps, closer to the back gives more of the soap against the black and they really stand out. The same soaps on wood are still nice so will have to take several more shots to see how to best present a bar like this.
One thing I am learning with the photography is product prep. I just grabbed some bars and started shooting to get some idea of what I would need to do for photos. This photo to the right shows the base of the soap nicked from being bumped when too soft. I also have a few photos with a small piece of soap stuck on the face of the bar and lint fuzz of all things. Nothing hides from the camera! I have read and tried steaming the soap and it gives them a really nice finish. I also need to clean up the edges and corners and be a bit more choosy on those photographed. I also need to just wait a bit on the soaps and let them get more solid before I mess with them. But when they get cut and you are all excited about them waiting is not something that comes easy.
Overall we are making some progress. We will continue to experiment with the photographing as we continue to create our product photos and build the site. I have most of it laid out as I want it.. but there are still some areas dealing me fits. Since we have thunderstorms here today, we area working on the computer instead of in the garden and trying to get the rest of the kinks out. We also have added two new social sites and are trying to figure out how to use them. We now have Twitter and Instagram. At least once I figure out photos I will have several places to share them!