In this casual post I want to share with you my process in taking product photos, and in this specific occasion, it's for food.Read More
5 Tips For Shooting Jewelry On Your Camera Phone
Today's post is geared for the makers and sellers out there that sell jewelry (or other small objects) and the only camera you have is a camera phone. I have strolled through many etsy stores looking at the photos and I see a common theme of poorly lit, dark and extremely yellow images. If you are guilty of this, it is doing you more harm than good, my friend. Today I want to give you 5 tips that will help you improve those camera phone photos to make selling your items brighter and more appealing. Let's get started:
Back it up!
Get a simple background that will best show off your jewelry. In the video, you can see that I'm using a plain white poster board that can be purchased in nearly any store. Even chain grocery stores has an isle for school supplies. You can find something like this for very cheap. You don't have to go all out either! See if you can find something similar in your house.
Remember: Your background doesn't have to be white. It all depends on what kind of items you make.
Vogue it out!
Use different angles to get your best shot! Walk around the item to try and find the best light and angle that best captures your product. Try vertical, or horizontal, or top down, off to the right or left, at eye level. Don't be afraid to move around and snap like crazy to get something that looks good. Most importantly, don’t forget to get in close to show details or scale.
Let there be (natural) light!
Use natural light and try to stay away from artificial light whenever possible. Most artificial lights tend to have a warm or yellow hue to it, which will make your images not look true to what your product looks like in person! The key here is to get a well lit picture that shows off your jewelry in the best light. Pun intended!
Do some reflection!
If you're into that sort of thing, use a reflective surface. In the video I'm just using the glass that comes with a picture frame.
Pro tip: When shooting on glass be wary of the reflections. It is very easy to capture your own reflection. You want to aim for the best angle to get a cool reflection of your product, not necessarily of yourself. It may sound silly to warn you, but it’s easy to do and makes for an awkward photo.
Edit, edit, edit!
Ok, you've followed all 4 steps so far and you've chosen the best ones. The last step is to edit it to make sure it looks like it will once it arrives! What you don't want to do is upload the photo as is, there is most likely always room for improvement. In the video I am using a free software that you can find online (nothing to download!) called Pixlr. Check it out, it's pretty cool.
Ok! So there you have it. I hope those 5 tips will help you when shooting your jewelry. Let me know below what you like to do when shooting on your camera phone!
5 Tips For Photographing Frozen Foods
*Or other time sensitive items
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite types of clients. They are a small business, local, and make delicious desserts! So many wins. They make handmade Mexican popsicles, called Paletas, from scratch using natural and fresh ingredients. They also have a seasonal menu that can change but they keep a core group of Paletas year-round. During my visit to their downtown Chandler, AZ location, I shot 4 of their year-round Paletas. You can see some of my favorites of the ones I took below and you can visit their site by clicking here.
Today I want to give you some tips on photographing frozen foods and a simple styling technique!
1) MOVE QUICKLY
Depending on the environment that you're in, whether you are using artificial lights or natural, you'll have to move as quickly as possible to snap the product in it's best and preferred frozen state. With this idea in mind, it's also a really good idea to have a basic plan in place before shooting. Think about your setting, where you are going to place things and what items you want to have nearby. Keep the product(s) frozen until you need them, and when it comes time for it, move quickly!
2) KEEP THEM IN THEIR ELEMENT (ON ICE)
Ice can serve several purposes during a frozen food shoot. Because I was shooting popsicles, placing them on ice brings the psychological appeal of "cooling down". There is no doubt that these desserts do really well in the summer. The visuals of a tasty frozen popsicle sitting on top of ice really drives the idea home that this will cool you off and be the perfect treat on a hot summer day.
Ice also adds an element of non distracting texture! Because it's clear and transparent, it won't be competing with the main product you are trying to shoot, but simply adds a lifestyle element to the product.
Not only will it add texture, but the bonus is that your product will keep intact a bit longer than it would without being surrounded by ice! It will allow you to shoot a bit longer and play around with different props and elements.
3) INCORPORATE INGREDIENTS
Less is always best when it comes to adding props. Try to incorporate a few ingredients of the product that you are shooting. Props should add to a photo not distract from it, so start with a few ingredients, take a few shots to see how it looks, then either add or subtract depending on how the photo looks.
This photo below shows a lot of strawberries. I decided in this case to go with a circle of the fruit because it creates such a great contrast against the dessert itself, and the main ingredient is strawberries for this strawberries and cream Paleta!
4) KEEP IT NATURAL
Try and use natural light if you are able to. Many artificial lights can produce a lot of heat, so it's a good idea to stay away from anything that will speed up the melting process. Sometimes showing the product melting can create a beautiful photo, but you'll want the product to stay in it's preferred state for as long as possible! So if you're able, try and shoot without staged lights and just in natural light.
5) HAVE A BACK UP
In case things start to melt faster than expected, it is a good idea to have a back up of the product for "safety" purposes. In film, when shooting a scene, there may be times when it may have gone perfectly, but there's always that director that will call, "One more for safety!" to shoot it again just in case anything were to happen to the footage. It's a good idea to have a back up of the product or a prop, just in case. One more for safety!
I hope these tips on photographing frozen foods will help you in your next shoot! Comment below and let me know what you have planned!
Are your product photos making you money?
You are a maker and the seller and you know the importance of good photography to get your product seen by people who love and appreciate your work. Even if the photos that you have aren't where you want them to be you still know the value of the good photo, that will entice and draw in a potential customer. A good image can stop you in your tracks, cause you to crave cheese cake or make you hungry for something sweet or savory, or even cause you to cry. Photos can be powerful, when used correctly.
Whether you are make paper goods, jewelry, kits, toys, crochet, or even knit, the amount of time that it takes to learn the craft of what it is that you do then produce the craft takes a lot of practice and time. You put a lot of pride and hard work into these things that you create and so it's important that the photographs truly represent and capture the hard work and the beauty of your items. You want a potential customer to see your photo and want to learn more about what it is that you make. You don’t want, the customer to glance over or cringe at your photo. I can’t tell you how many times I scroll through Etsy, or a similar online marketplace and wonder if the product is any good because the photo just isn't selling it!
Take Away: Make sure the photo is of good quality so a potential customer knows the good quality they will get! A bad quality photo can mean the product itself isn't of good quality.
A good image represents quality and even trustworthiness. Yes even trustworthiness. Think about it. If you see a blurry, dark, pixelated image on a website like target.com or even Macy's will you take that company seriously anymore? There is a certain standard they have so why not have a similar one for your products? If the item looks like they didn't want to take the time to highlight and show off how wonderful this product is I'm going to think that's the product isn't that great to begin with.
Don’t let somebody pass over at your product because you didn't take the time to take a good high-quality picture.
There's a lot to think about when it comes to photographing products and if you can work with a product photographer (or learn to take great pics), they can help get your items seen in the best light. It's important for you to know as well the elements that helps sell a product. You have spent the time working on them, you know the product best. Because ultimately, the photo will end up telling a story of some sort. Make sure that it is a good story. And by continuing to have good quality photos (along with good products) it will further cement that trust factor being: I got exactly what I paid for.
Take Away: Make sure the photo represents the product. You want to build trustworthiness in the way the images appear and have that match the product you sell.
Each shot should be intentional. If you want to see a quick example of what I mean, look at this picture of red velvet cookies. The goal is to highlight the red velvet cookie and have it be very simple. A black matte plate, coupled with "velvet" is a classic high value concept. The focus on the rich bright colors of the cookies and pair that with a black plate, and the added highlight of the white powdered sugar, really brings it together. It’s simple and eye catching because the colors are so contrasting. Make sure that the photos you take aren't just thrown together just because, but that they are intentional.
Take Away: What is the focus of your product? Is there anything you can add, or even take away, so that your photos are intentional?
Your turn! Are your product photos making you money or turning away potential customers?
Submit for your photo for a free edit and see if it's the best it can be!
Tired of taking your own photos and ready have them taken by a photographer?
Tips On How To Compose Your Product Photos
To make them interesting to your potential buyers
Don’t get stuck with the notion that “center frame is the best lane”. I just made up that, by the way. But it's a common myth. Don’t get caught walking down that path! Dead center photographs can be really boring sometimes! So today, we’re going to chat about your product photos online and how a little off center can be a good thing.
To begin, let’s just go over what composition is exactly. Composition is actually defined as the action of putting things together. This comes into play a lot when you have products with props in the frame and you want to compose the set to make sure that the product is the highlight of the image. We’ll talk about props in another post, but today we are using composition to refer to the way the product is positioned in the frame.
For most product photos, a landscape image will be your best format rather than vertical images. That’s just the way most online shops are set up. Specifically, if you’re on Etsy, you’ll want to make sure that your image is horizontal. If it’s vertical, crop it in the main thumbnail picture to be horizontal. When the image is clicked on (which is the goal, right?) then the full vertical image will display as normal.
When looking at a landscape product photo you can use the rule of thirds when focusing on composing your product. Let's look at a few examples below of different products and the set up:
Digital Products: Stock Photography
This image is focusing more on the arrows and the white space than the ampersand light. If your product is a stock photo showing the example of lot of white space to add text to it, this set up would be really nice. Get as much light as you can in the area of focus and get the other elements to assist but not take away focus!
Food Styled - Editorial
If your item is food based, why not play around with the styling a bit. This shot is composed to have a just off-the-center-to-the-right focus on that sliced cut of bread. It's where you want the viewer's eye to focus.
This photo has a very similar composition to the one above. It's a simple photo with just the seeds in focus in the bottom right side of the center focal point. If you look closely, you'll see that the bottom right is actually the most in focus!
You may see a bit of food in this series, I can't help it! It's fun to shoot. You can also see a trend in my photos. I tend to focus on the bottom right, or center-right quadrants. There's just something about the human eye wanting to focus on that area that brings a bit of something extra to a photo. I'm not sure if there is a science to it, or if it's because I'm right handed/I favor the right side. What do you think?
Imagine if this is a notecard or a thank you card. It has plenty of space on the left side for adding text to personalize it. The products are composed on the very far right, which would stick out in a sea of images that are strictly center focused.
How large something is in the frame is a great way to compose a picture. This photo, like many of my other ones have a just off-the-center focus. The main draw is the sheer size of how much it takes up on the right side! It also helps that the green sticks out among the grays, whites and neutrals in the shot.
To The Left
I know what you're thinking, and yes, sometimes I do shoot on the left :) It's rare though. While the focus is in the center, the object itself is taking up the majority of the left side of the frame. Its still has a great effect of drawing you in and getting up close and personal with those taste buds.
This time the focus is on the top right instead of the bottom right. The white highlight of the jar is a strong focal point and the text written on the label is clear to see. The lid propped up on the side "closes" off the photo. Sure, you could go with a dead center jar, but where is the fun in that?!
Alright, your turn, let me know what your product photos look like in your online shop! Also comment below and let me know which one is your favorite!