Thursday, 1 March 2012

How to take a good snap: Product Photography

I recently attended a course on product photography run by Makerhood and photographer Adrian Flower in Brixton. Before launching my website and business I am trying to learn as much as possible about every aspect! It was an insightful morning learning about the do's and don'ts of product photography, types of photography and making the best use of natural light. With more and more online selling platforms available to design makers it is invaluable that your photography promotes the ethos of your work, showing it is of good quality, styled beautifully and above all taken with great care. You don't need to spend a fortune on a professional photographer or equipment, All you need is a digital camera, tripod, natural light and some card and you are on your way to taking some great shots!

Im no expert but here are some points that I felt helpful and that I thought I would share with you all:

Get Inspired!

Search around sights such as Etsy and Not On The High Street for inspiration on good photography, look for clean lines, natural light and clear imagery. For sights such as these it is best to use a clean white background and take photos of your product from many different angles including close ups. Think about showing texture, delicate detail, scale and think about showing how the product can be worn or displayed.

My talented friend and paper manipulator Sarah Matthews demonstrates this really well:

To stand a good chance of getting your products into magazines in the form of a press pack it is important to research what type and style of photographs they usually feature. This could be lifestyle shots where the product is placed in a background that matches the ambience and mood of the product. For example a vintage teapot would be placed on a table with a pretty table cloth and delectably edible cupcakes but just remember not to detract from the object its self and to use props that are in context with the main product. In contrast publications such as newspapers may prefer cut out images where the product is placed on a white background (almost like it is floating!).

Look to magazines such as Mollie Makes for beautiful and inspiring lifestyle shots

I also really like the style of Olive Manna's photography and styling:

Natural Light.

Make the most of natural light and identify where the best light is coming in.

Set up an area like the one in this (really awful) picture using paper or foil to balance the light. Use a tripod to ensure that your pictures stay in focus, even the most steady hand can produce a slightly out of focus image. Tripods can be purchased quite cheaply, I even found a basic one in the pound shop!
Experiment with different colour paper, different surfaces, in-door/outdoor shots and different angles.

Editing Software

Adrian introduced us to a piece of software called Piccasa which is available to download for free from google (download it here)

Use editing software to crop images, add more light, straighten and even experiment with adding some artistic effects such as Lomography or cinemascope to add a bit of ambience to your photos! A few simple clicks can do wonders for your photos especially if you have had to take photos on a cloudy day.

Top Tip: Use a small bit of blue tack to stand items up to enable you to shoot the product face on.

Lovely Links.

MakerHood : An online community for creatives living in the Brixton area.

Adrian Flower: Photographer

Mollie Makes: Magazine

Happy snapping!