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sara $badge

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Posted On: Feb 5, 2010 at 10:07am MST

Photographing Your Product Made Easy!

When it comes to selling your product online, the photographs of your item are invaluable. They show your buyer what your item is, of course, but they also communicate your vision, your craftsmanship, and your aesthetic. Modern digital cameras make it easy to take great pictures by just paying attention to a few simple things.


Here are the simple basics of good product photography:

Lighting

Focus

Environment

Color (White Balance)


Lighting

Lighting is vital to good photography. While lighting can be a very complicated aspect of photography, with the right setup you can take great pictures easily and consistently. You should be able to take good pictures using the automatic exposure mode on your digital camera but it is good to spend a little time to get familiar with the other exposure modes available to you.


When taking pictures, you want lots of light, but not harsh direct light. Dark shadows caused by direct light will ruin your photos. The key to great pictures is to have plenty of diffused light.


You may have noticed the cloth boxes or umbrellas that cover the lights at professional photography studios. The cloth diffuses the bright light and softens the shadows caused by uncovered lights. Some shadowing is good to define objects but dark shadows are distracting. For product photography you can use a light tent to solve this problem. A light tent is a cloth box where your product goes inside and the lights go outside the box. You should use at least two lights, one on each side or three lights, two sides and one on top of the light tent. These can be purchased as a kit, tent and lights online.


You can take your pictures outside but it is much easier to control your light if you set up a light tent. Outdoor photography is more difficult because of the shadows cause by sunlight. We suggest that you take your photos indoors with plenty of light. The lights that come with light tents are usually high output fluorescent lights that are great for product photography.


OVER EXPOSURE



UNDER EXPOSURE

Focus

Most modern automatic cameras include a 'Macro' mode - the icon usually looks a bit like the silhouette of a tulip. This mode adjusts the camera to allow for photos of small objects close to the camera. Your camera will not focus when you are close to an object unless you use this setting. When you are taking pictures of objects that are small, such as jewelry, or for close-ups to show the texture or detail of an object be sure that your macro focus is turned on.


When photographing small objects always zoom out all the way and move your camera close to your product. A tripod is strongly suggested, although a table or other steady surface for support will do in a pinch.


Many cameras also have an auto-focus feature that will 'lock' the focus on the main item in the picture when you hold the shutter button down half way. Check your camera manual for more details and to see if you camera offers this feature. This will allow you to make sure that your camera is focused on your items not the background. Set you camera to take at least a 1 megabyte picture. Even though this is a much higher resolution than needed for the web, it will capture more detail and allow you to crop without losing quality.

GOOD FOCUS


BAD FOCUS

Environment

Simple background props can help add depth, texture, and interest when 'staging' your items. Be careful when selecting items as props. It is generally better to keep your picture light and bright rather than dark. Use mostly light colors and objects that will compliment your product and not distract from your main object.

White Balance

Different types of light will cause the colors in your pictures to look wrong. Your camera may have preset lighting selections that you can set in order to get true colors or you may be able to white balance your camera. This is an important feature to be familiar with and easy to use. Usually you will place a white piece of paper in the area that you will be shooting your pictures and press the white balance button. Be sure to refer to your owner’s manual to learn how to utilize the white balance feature. If your lighting changes be sure to white balance your camera again to maintain true colors.

COLOR BALANCED

COLOR UNBALANCED

Editing and Saving

Once you have taken your picture, use photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop to crop, size (500 X 500 for ArtFire), and make any corrections necessary to improve your picture. Save your photo using the “save for the web” option to reduce the file size and optimize your picture before uploading.


Good pictures will increase your sales. We suggest that you post several pictures of each item. As a Pro member of ArtFire you can post up to 10 pictures of each product to show more detail. A good picture can mean a better overall presentation which will get you better prices, more sales, and more traffic to your studio and your items. Great pictures can be easy if you keep these simple tips in mind.



This post was edited by sara On: Sep 22, 2010 at 11:59am MST  


PKsKnitsNMore $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 1:30am MST

This is great information. Thanks for posting, especially for us newbies.

ResetarGlassArt $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 6:16am MST

Hi Sara - thanks for the reminder. I was just trying to find the recommended artfire size for photos this morning so the timing of this post was perfect. What happens if photos very greatly from the 500 x 500 recommended size? I haven't been adhering to this so am wondering if this is causing any issues - e.g. do pages take longer to view if my photos are large or will the quality be poor if they are smaller? Thanks so much.

Kellie Resetar

KittyBallistic $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 6:43am MST

Great post with lots of information - thanks for sharing!

popnicute $badge

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Fire Mentor Artisan  
Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 6:51am MST

ResetarGlassArt said:

Hi Sara - thanks for the reminder. I was just trying to find the recommended artfire size for photos this morning so the timing of this post was perfect. What happens if photos very greatly from the 500 x 500 recommended size? I haven't been adhering to this so am wondering if this is causing any issues - e.g. do pages take longer to view if my photos are large or will the quality be poor if they are smaller? Thanks so much.

Kellie Resetar

on Feb 7, 2010 at 6:16am MST




usually i notice that auto resizing done by websites caused the photo to be a little bit blur-er. i think it would be best if you can resize your photo in exact size before uploading. but it was my personal experience. i could be wrong.

file greater than 500x500 will take longer time to get uploaded in the gallery but after auto optimization done by AF, i'd think it would get loaded in normal time in your listing page.
-Kay
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EmilyClaireCreations $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 8:30am MST

I am just a little confused, and I'm not all that savvy with the photo editing stuff, but wouldn't cropping a photo 500x500 make the picture square, wouldn't that distort the image, being that photos are normally at a 3x5 ratio?

Swank $badge

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Fire Mentor Artisan  
Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 11:01am MST


This post was edited by Swank On: Mar 18, 2012 at 12:53pm MST  

Butterfly-Crafts $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 12:24pm MST

Emily Claire - when i take my photos and open them in my editing software they are rectangular and at huge pixels, so I crop down either the height or width to 500px and make it central over my image then crop the other way a bit at a time until it gets to 500px and again central over my image. I dont have any distorted pictures
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EmilyClaireCreations $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 1:22pm MST

Thanks Butterfly, I think I was thinking of resizing instead of cropping.

I will have to look into it, this is why I might be having thumbnail issues, like we talked about earlier.

EmilyClaireCreations $badge

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Posted On: Feb 7, 2010 at 3:32pm MST

Okay, I think I have it figured it out. I did some fooling around with and I can crop a photo in a 1:1 ratio and resize to 500x500pixels.

Unfortunately I can't do it with my current editing software, but Photoscape will let me do it! So hooray for me LOL!

Thanks Butterfly! (((HUGS)))


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