point-and-shoot product photography 101
what a productive sunday i had. not only did i get rolling on my chair reupholstery project, but i got a bunch of new product shots done for my shop despite the extremely overcast day on sunday.
to that end, i've had a few emails with questions about my photo-taking process, so i'll answer them here today for you all to see.
now, i don't consider myself anything close to a pro photographer but i do know that some types of overcast days can be pretty good for picture taking, cause it eliminates harsh shadows in the picture that are caused by the bright bright sunshine. sometimes, though, it's a bit too much and it casts a bluish tone in the shots which really affects the colour of the photo.
what i do to remedy this is to arrange my photo setup as close as possible to a window and get the product to face the light source (i find that backlighting is a pain in the butt to digitally correct and is super easy to avoid witha little forethought). all of these pictures were taken just with natural sunlight; no inside lights whatsoever. they cast a orangey-yellow hue - even if your primary source is natural light - so i just avoid them whenever possible.
(for the record: i've tried using full-spectrum bulbs before, but i found that instead of the yellow hue that the tungsten bulb gives, pics taken with this type of lighting often need to be colour-corrected for the overabundance of magenta. i try my best to avoid touch-ups from the get-go, so i'd highly recommend using natural light, especially for beginners. it means less "post-production" work.)
with these paintings in particular, i was having some troubles with glare from the glass in the picture frames, so i took the glass out. from there on in, i experimented with a few props to add some visual interest - i try to have varying heights, textures and colours in the shot, and generally try to avoid straight-on shots since i find that they look somewhat flat. angles are where it's at - and besides, people can see the simple 'head on' shot with the scans that i use as alternate images in my shop.
something else that i always do when taking product photos is take a slew of pictures with different setups, props and angles. really, i do this for a variety of reasons, but mostly because what works in my minds eye doesn't always translate the same way on the camera lens; little details jump out at you more when you're seeing the enlarged photo on your computer screen rather than your viewfinder. for this particular photoshoot, i took about 15-20 pictures. i've no clue if this is bordering obsessive and just plain weird or not, but it's what works for me.
(plus when you're taking pictures with a dinky lil point-and-shoot with no flash in overcast lighting and no tripod, sometimes your pics end up blurry. you've gotta plan for this.)
anyhow, once i've got a few pics that i like, i'll touch them up a bit with photoshop adjusting a mix of the levels, colour balance, curves or saturation. once i've got their colours looking as close as possible to real life, i post 'em up in the shop.
ps - another weekend highlight: i got my triple the teal necklace featured on etsy's front page, and wouldn't even have known it if it weren't for sweet miss holly of winklepots letting me know. (did you know there was a front page flickr group?! thanks to holly's inside scoop, i was able to experience the moment in retrospect, which was awesome.)