Photography

My Product Photo Taking and Styling Process + Tips

 My Product Photo Taking and Styling Process + Tips | ietishana.com

My Product Photo Taking and Styling Process + Tips

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.

If you don't follow me on Instagram, umm...you should be! I post probably once or twice a week - not too often, but it's more behind the scenes type things that don't necessarily have a set place on this site. For awhile, I've been speaking of a project that I've been undergoing. In Episode #3 of my 10 Minute Tea Talk series where we chat about backwards planning, I also talk a teeny bit about this project.

Well...

Earlier in August, a passion project of mine that I started back in 2014 tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Times up! Let's get this thing moving!", and I then set out on a 3.5 week process of putting together the remaining bits of this bakery business I had been wanting to do years ago. There were a lot of little things to take care of (and let's be honest, I'm still working on bits and bops here and there, because: launch before you are ready), but my favorite, and possibly most important part, was the photography.

Sure, getting the recipes just right was important too, but it doesn't matter how good they taste if people can't see how good they look to want to buy them! Remember that! Your photos are what gets people's eyes on your product, then it's your job to keep them there and then make a sale.

This process that I go through can be applied to many of your own products, it's not just for food. 


Ok, so let's begin. I started out with just one pie. Nothing added or sprinkled or propped. Just starting with a clean slate. I like to do it this way then build as I go on.

A Clean Slate

 Mini apple pie just plain | ietishana.com

I think every picture can have it's purpose, but this one was just a bit too plain for me. What this can be good for is using a lot of text around it. Perhaps I can share with you an example of that another time! Please remind me ;)

 

A Dash Here, A Sprinkle There

 Mini gourmet pies | ietishana.com

It's now time to add a bit of dimension into this otherwise boring picture from before. I simply incorporated some ingredients into the frame. Let's be real, baking is a messy business, so why not show the process. I have bits of the crumble topping and cinnamon strewn about, in what I aimed to be a somewhat balanced shot. What's a baking shot without a rolling pin?! That is tucked away in the upper left hand corner to frame the shot.

For you: Try to incorporate the different elements that make up your product to add more interest, to what can be a plain photo.

 

Angles and Dimension

 Mini apple pie food photography for little guy bakery pies | ietishana.com

As hot as flat lays are, I love a good angled shot. It was time to incorporate just a bit more dimension and tools used. You can recognize that familiar rolling pin, but what helps scaffold this photo are the silver mason jar rings the pie is carefully propped in. The pie isn't sitting flush in the lid but rather angled and hanging out from it. This photo tells us a couple of things. The rough size the pies are as well as focus in on a specific thing by literally elevating it.

For you: Play around with the angles. Can you incorporate any tools that you use to make your product?

 

Repeat, Build and Composition

As we confirmed earlier, baking is a messy business. I didn't care to be too sanitized and OCD about this. I really ended up liking the layers and textures it added to the pictures to build upon the ingredients and tools used.

 Blueberry mini pie for little guy bakery | ietishana

Whether that was tools like this spatula, or the cut outs for the pie crust leaves...

 Pie crust cut outs for little guy bakery | ietishana.com

to adding toppings and changing the composition to create more interest...

 Caramel and sea salt mini apple pie for little guy bakery | ietishana.com

Or sprinkled powered sugar and a shot of a strawberry dipped in milk chocolate, for ideas on what you can do with these when you get them home.

 Strawberry pie with a chocolate covered strawberry | ietishana.com

For you: How can you add a bit more to your photos to tell a story, give ideas, or entice a potential customer?

 

Scale and Embrace the Chaos 

 A mini strawberry pie from Little Guy Bakery | ietishana.com

I added in a fork for scale, because for things like this it's important to know how big the item is, so incorporating more elements to help with this is key. But this also demonstrates the flakey crust and the perfect bite sized portions. Show it in action!

 Mini blueberry pie on a fork for Little Guy Bakery | ietishana.com

A different angle, oh and a little glimpse of my hand because #human #handmade. Showing a bit of yourself or the maker is always a nice add.

 Holding a mini apple pie from Little Guy Baker | ietishana.com

And a whole hand shot for even more scale. Show the scale people!

 

When You've Added Enough - Take Away

 Classic mini apple pie from Little Guy Bakery | ietishana.com

I like to end my shoots by winding down. Winding down a bit of everything as my energy begins to wind down. After shot 312 (or some crazy number), when my energy dwindles, I like to simplify again. It's like in yoga when you have the cool down period. The chaos has minimized at this point, the essence - or mess - is still there, but the focus doesn't change.

For you: Keep photographing as you near what you may feel is the end of your shoot. Capture those lifestylesque moments.

 

I hope it helped you to see my process of taking and simple styling my product photos, and that my "For you" tips are actionable for you to consider on your next shoot.

Which shot or part is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. And, from your favorite how will you add this process in with your current one? 

BONUS: If you live in Arizona, you can order these pies! Yeah! Pretty cool, huh? Check out the site here


5 Tips For Shooting Jewelry On Your Camera Phone

 5 Tips For Shooting Jewelry On Your Camera Phone | ietishana.com

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:

TIP #1

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.

TIP #2

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.

TIP #3

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! 

TIP #4

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.

TIP #5

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 PixlrCheck 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!

 

If you prefer to watch videos, be sure to check this one out!


If you hate editing your photos, delegate those tasks, my friend. Check out my photography editing services by clicking the button below!


5 Tips On Photographing Frozen Foods

 5 Tips on photographing frozen foods | @ietishana

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!

Paletas-chocolate-group.jpg

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!


If you'd like to work together on your next photoshoot get in touch! 

3 Ways Your Product Photos Make You Money

 3 ways your product photos make you money

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.

Quality

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.

Trustworthy

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.


Intentional

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 for Your Online Shop

 How to compose your product photos for your online shop | @ietishana

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! 

bananabread-comp.jpg

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. 

Small Objects

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!

Dessert

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?

Printed Products

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.

Size

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.

Top Right 

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!

The White Background Myth For Product Photos and 8 Alternatives

 The White Background Myth for Product Photos and 8 Alternatives for your online shop | @ietishana

The White Background Myth For Product Photos and 8 Alternatives

There is a myth going around on the internet that says your product photos for your online shops have to be on white backgrounds. Where did this idea come from? Sure, if you're on regular ol amazon, that is one thing, but unless it's stated anywhere, you are free to choose whatever fits your brand the best!

 

White backgrounds, while it can be fitting for most, it is also the safe route to go. And how about those white backgrounds that are SO white that the picture is blinding or the item looks like it's floating! You know what I'm talking about. Going a bit crazy in the FotoFuze app can leave your photos looking a bit ghostly.

Today I want to show you 8 alternative backgrounds that are easy to find and can add character to your product without taking away from the item itself. These backgrounds, and others like it, can be found around your home. Feel free to get creative with it. I will be using the same main product in each photo. Ok, let's begin! 

But first, let's start off with a blank canvas, the White Background: 

I like white backgrounds with a bit of grey in them, but this is my personal choice. I like it that way because the item feels a bit more grounded and natural and not so set up and commercial. I like the idea of looking at a photo and thinking, "I can see that on my counter top!". 

Each photo, depending on the background, will depict a certain mood. So as we begin going through these 6 alternative backgrounds, think about the kind of mood a background like this can bring to your product.

1) Matte Black Background

This black background is actually a plate! It really brings drama to an image like this, especially when the product is a shiny studded necklace. With a shallow depth of field, the photo focuses on the accents of the necklace.

Mood: Rich and velvety. 

2) Marbled Background

I'm a big fan on vinyl pieces like this one shown above. You will see a couple more throughout this set, and this one in particular is one of my favorites. It has hints of greys and has a nice Instagram type look.

Mood: Classy and clean.

3) Chalkboard Background

This chalkboard background was a bit of a DIY project that took less than 5 minutes to create. Using just 2 supplies, a black foam core board and chalk, it has made many wonderful backdrops. While the necklace has a little prop in the background, a white mug, it barely shows and the necklace is definitely the centerpiece. The chalk on the background really shows through as some texture which brings a bit more into the frame. 

Mood: Dark and fun.

4) Wood Background

If you couldn't tell by now, I love moody shots. This one is on a faux wood background that doubles as my desk (which was another DIY project). I use this a lot for many pictures because I love the look it gives. The cup is back again, playing a minor role in this picture.

Mood: Ambient and natural.

5) Warm Rust Vinyl Background

This is another one of my vinyl backgrounds that has a wonderful texture to it. You can see bits of it in this shot. I really like how it contrasts so well with the necklace and brings it a bit of earthy tones into the picture. I could see a few fun props like sticks/pieces of wood and greenery to bring the woodsy feeling up a notch!

Mood: Warm and woodsy

6) Muslin Cotton Background

This prop can be found anywhere and it's the look of natural cotton we are going after. I love the simpleness of it, the tone and the woven fibers you can see. The fact that it is also not perfectly flat is something I enjoy about this one too. What pieces of fabric would you incorporate into your backdrops!?

Mood: Cozy and neutral.

7) Gold Tray Background

A golden tray! How simple is that and yet it still adds a bit of glam! Although gold and silver is a debatable combo and are just as shiny, I think the necklace wins this battle.

Mood: Golden glam.

8) Stone Vinyl Background

And last, but certainly not least, we round out this set with another vinyl favorite. This etched stone background in such varying colors of grey add a bit more dimension and personality to this image.

Mood: Natural and stoic.

 

I hope this has convinced you that white doesn't have to be your only choice for product photos! Let me know what you think! Do you use any other background for your images other than white? How is that working for you and your brand?!