Online Product Photo Tips

April 29, 2015  •  1 Comment

Guidelines for online sales photography are consistent with all forms of photography. The main elements, ingredients if you will, are Subject, Light, Composition and Exposure. The correct application of each will give you the desired results.
Subject is the easy one. You have in mind the item you want to sell, Next is Composition. Choose an appropriate background. Color of your background and texture matter. Show the item and nothing but the item! Don’t include anything else. We have selective vision. We can look in a pile of laundry and find that missing sock, (most of the time). Not so with the camera. The camera sees and unfortunately will record the entire mess. Yup! Look at your view finder as a room. A clean room. Teach yourself to look at each corner and sweep it! Move unwanted objects out of the way or change your position and camera angle until you get the desired effect. If all else fails, learn to crop your images. This option is available in all computer photo software and is easy to use. Subject and composition is covered but, your not done yet, Let’s take a look at f stops and depth of field. Depth of field is simply the distance of sharp focus. If your subject has a lot of detail, you will want maximum depth of field. The closer you are to a subject, the less depth of field you have. This means if you are photographing something small and close, you will want and f stop of  f11 or higher to as high a number as your camera will permit. The trade off is this means you need longer exposure, the time your shutter remains open. This creates a need to stabilize your camera. I always use a tripod and delayed shutter release. Now you to figure out how to light it up so the image is clear and sharp. I usually use existing or natural sources. Look for shiny spots on reflective or polished surfaces and called hot spots. You can use whatever is handy to put in the way of the offending light and adjust your exposure accordingly. Then there is the problem of losing detail in the shadows. You don’t need fancy lights or strobes for this part. You can add a light or use a white sheet or piece white poster board to reflect light back into the shadows to show the detail. Photography is about controlling light and shadow. Ansel Adams invented the ‘Zone System’. He came up with the theory that between pure white and pure black equals eleven F stops on a camera. Depending on what equipment your using your camera can’t properly expose them all at once. This is called latitude. Think of it as a basket that will only hold four apples. But you have ten apples. You can trade them but you only have room for four and it doesn’t matter which four you choose. This is why we add or subtract light to the subject to get it down to four apples that will fit in our basket. Now if you are photographing something such as a car, park in an isolated spot, with open shade to eliminate other distractions in the image. Clean room!  I suggest photographing from the oblique to show as much of the vehicle as possible. Take shots from all four angles plus front and back and cover your license plate for your privacy. From your computer, make sure your images are rotated right side up and post. I see a lot of cars on line that are upside down and sideways. So, pay attention. Good luck and Keep shooting!

Produc shoot for Grace Milton Jewelry


1.Harlan Haviland(non-registered)
Thanks Reed. I'm going to share this with a group of craft and sign makers!
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