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How to take amazing product shots on a budget

Much like food, products need to be a feast for the eyes before customers will open their wallets. All you need to do is scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to see that people are in love with beautifully taken product shots. Not just pretty to look at, great product shots help create an element of desire and make it easier for browsers to imagine owning the item. If your product shots aren’t up to scratch, convincing anyone to spend their hard earned cash with you can be tricky. Increase the Christmas cash-flow and ace your product photography with these helpful hints.

The equipment
Not everyone has access to a fully kitted-out photography studio, especially if you’re running an online store from the comfort of your kitchen table. The good news is that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to get beautiful shots that showcase your products.

Here’s your basic kit:

• Camera/smartphone
• Tripod
• Lighting

Although having a top-of-the-line camera is useful, you can get by without splurging out. Using a smartphone to take product shots will offer you a far more affordable solution and with the right equipment, can still give you a really stunning shot. If you have the funds to invest in a longer-term option, we’d recommend going for a DSLR camera—there’s loads of choice out there depending on your budget.

We’ll let you in on a secret; it doesn’t matter how steady you think your hand is, you’ll still need a locked-off tripod for your product shots. It will give you the freedom to position the camera perfectly while you tinker with props and products within shot and will also stop your images from looking blurry and amateur. If you’re using a smartphone, there are mini tripods on the market that help hold your phone steady on a desk or table.

Throw out any preconceptions you have about expensive lighting rigs being the only way to get the best shot. Many photographers rely on natural light (early afternoon is best) when taking product shots. Get those nice, soft shadows on your photography by using big windows or taking your pictures outdoors.

Setting up your shot
You have two main choices here—either go for a plain white background or pop your products in-situ for a life-style shot. To achieve a plain white background shot, use white poster board or a sheet of paper that lays flat on your table and bends upwards to form an ‘infinity curve’—the seemingly endless white background that shows no edges or ‘horizon’. Opting for this method allows you to crop the products out of the finished picture and edit them for use in all sorts of situations for optimum versatility.

Lifestyle shots that are taken in-situ are great for marketing and also give you the freedom to appeal to your customer by creating a scene you think they’d relate or aspire to. Filling the frame with props and getting a nice tight shot from above are the best way to nail this look. Make sure that you have props at the trailing off the edge of the frame and to keep things looking informal and lived in, rather than focusing on neatness; think desserts that have been tucked into and are crumbling or dripping sauce, knitting that’s trailing wool and is half finished, headphones winding over a workspace or pens spilling from a pencil case.

If you fancy getting into the nitty gritty of product photography, the Crafty Fox Community are holding a product photography session in London on 29th October. Pop along and get more hands-on tips from the pros. If you have any of your own tips to share, drop them in the comments box below and share up!

Comments

Hannah
13 Oct 2016 12:27
Great tips, thanks you
John Pelosi
13 Oct 2016 18:29
These days the cameras on smartphones are so good, we rarely use a conventional camera. For us, it is great to be able to visit a customer's new kitchen or bathroom and just snap away at the finished result. Clip on lenses are great to get wider angled shots - especially in small rooms!
Keziah Herbert
17 Oct 2016 12:12
I find smart phones still don't give enough to a photo unless you've got one with a good lens. The MP really don't matter if you don't have a good lens! And lighting obviously
John
18 Oct 2016 09:28
good advice, great blog
liz lewis
18 Oct 2016 13:43
Useful advise - thank you!
kate
27 Oct 2016 08:46
This is fab! So simple yet effective!
Jack
18 Feb 2017 08:17
always interesting to read photography tips, thanks
Bryony Bishop
11 May 2017 08:26
Awesome advice here :)

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