Nov 3, 2011

Product Photo’s | Do’s and Don't’s

This post is being brought to you by the wonderfully talented Jenn DiGuglielmo. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop.
She’s sharing with us some of the do’s and don’ts of product photography. Hitting some key points that newbies don’t know.

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You work darn hard to create your great “stuff” so don’t you want others to see it the way you do? Of course, otherwise what’s the point! Camera settings are important but we’re going to save that for a later post and focus on the parts outside the camera that you can control; how the product is presented.

These tips are geared towards those who photograph products sans a good background or staging space. Yes, where you take your photos does matter. What’s in a good background? Not clutter that’s for sure! A flattering background can help create visual impact and even enhance the product image. Get ready to look at some impactful photos, and then some other ones (ouch).

Who wants to look at a product with a messy, unpolished or distracting background? Here are some fine examples of how your photos should not look like when you position your stuff in front of the camera...

Headband on a plate? Hard on the eyes!

  Zebra Print Boutique Bow On A Black Skinny Headband. Perfect For Infants and Babies. Buy 3 get 1 free. Great Shipping Prices.  Multicolor Houndstooth iPhone Case for iPhone 3G // 3GS  // 4 // 4S

It is well worth the time to study your subject’s texture, pattern and color. If it is loaded with a busy pattern don’t (can anyone guess?) use a busy background. Use a neutral background like a solid color or calm set up to draw the eye TO THE SUBJECT. If you do have a textured setting make sure it doesn’t dominate the overall picture and offers complimentary color or texture to the subject. (the example below does not). Here are examples of complimentary and uncomplimentary backgrounds.

(dress & blanket and bib (below) by The Ellie Rose)

But that’s not all that’s needed in a photograph, there’s also a product’s style, mood or tone to think about. Like what? Shabby chic, bold, cheerful, or, this image example with its bellowing romantic tone. It works because of the combined patterns of the subject and its stylish setting. What’s that saying about first impressions? When I look at this I’m inclined to think this is a quality product, which is important to me. It appeals to me. When a product has visual impact the viewer will likely take further action like finding more out about the product. Yep, that’s one step closer to a purchase.

Vintage Inspired Jewelry -  Ear post - Ear Studs - Yellow Floral - Tiny Magda Ear Posts

We all need balance and good photographs are no different! There will be times you’ll want to balance a monochrome product with inspiring colors or contrast and/or texture. Of the two monochrome examples below which do you think is more visually appealing? Good answer!

Silver Bird Swing Necklace Dove Necklace in Silver

BUT, there are a ton of product photos out there with simple white or black backgrounds which can and do work very well in certain cases. High energy colors like red, orange, and yellow alone attract the eye - so let them!

Needle Felted Acorns - 6 Red

There are loads of interesting ways to enhance your product setting with character and charm for a sense of whimsy or country. Who doesn’t like weathered wood? C’mon! How about other natural or organic finds like vintage music sheets, a stack of books, stone, etc. Here are great examples of how color, texture and pattern have been combined. Love the juxtaposition between a pretty print in a weathered setting.

* Cottage Pillow Cover, Decorative Pillows, Throw Pillow, Shabby Chic Pillow, Reversible

If you don’t have the resources, imagination or interest to do this kind of thing go ahead and try a simpler “staging” area. It will look uncluttered and you should know by now that a clutter-free photo is a very good thing! So grab some fabric, a table, or a clean space and you will have yourself a mini studio that you can use with little effort.

Positioned on plywood:

crochet kitchen cotton scrub scrubbies AND you can pick the colors 

Go make a statement with your photos – not a mess!!

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Thanks so much Jenn for sharing your knowledge with us! The product photo’s can make you or break you. Most of us have horrible pictures in the beginning, don’t fret. Just keep taking pictures, try different things and eventually you will get your style down.

Be sure to check out her blog and stay tuned for Part II- Composition

# kristanlynn