Advice on taking product shots for a webshop

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by yourguitarhero, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. yourguitarhero

    yourguitarhero Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    My wife has recently started her own business as a milliner.
    We were talking about her business yesterday and were thinking she needs more 'pro' shots.

    I don't have much experience in taking pictures like that. I take pictures of cats or landscapes mostly.

    Equipment-wise, she has a G3 and I have a GF1. We have the panasonic 20mm & 14-45 and a Samyang fisheye. Accessories-wise we have a few filters, a remote release trigger and a tripod.

    So, what we be some recommendations?
  2. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    There are two things that make product photos stand out - #1 background and #2 lighting. The background needs to be simple and uncluttered. It can be white, it can be black or something in between but it can't be busy or it will detract from your product. The product{s} also need to be well lit! The light needs to be soft and even. It is also best that the light be as white as possible. Also setting your white balance is critical so that the colors are true.

    There are various techniques for doing these two things and many resources on how. I did a google search for "product photography" and found dozens. Even better there are tutorial videos on youtube. It sounds like you might be on a tight budget and that is fine. There are many tricks for doing product shooting for little money.

    The last thing I would say is that you really need a longer lens for products. For sure avoid the fisheye as it distorts way too much. The kit lens could be used as could the 20mm but both are shorter than I would use. If you don't have a lot to spend on lenses get the one of the kit tele lenses, such as the Panasonic 45-150mm.
  3. yourguitarhero

    yourguitarhero Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    OK, had a look around at some links - thanks.

    We're going to spring for a pop up light box cube thing, seems like we can get one for ~£25. I've got a grey card I got from an archive I used to work at she can use to set the white balance.
    My wife has a couple of angle poise lamps with daylight bulbs in them for working on her hats anyway.

    Plus, I just remembered I have a bunch of old M42 lenses and an adaptor she could use. Most of them are pretty soft and not that good, apart from a 135mm one that is OK.
  4. mtipton1064

    mtipton1064 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2013
    This summer I took a class where we used only a sheet of black fabric, a flashlight, a darkened room, a camera, and a tripod. Basically while in the darkened room that you took a 20 to 30 second exposure of the object while painting it with the flashlight. Here are a couple of examples.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  5. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    The 14-45 at 45mm will do fine for product shots. The light tent thing and the lights you have should be fine. Do a custom whit balance for accurate color. Get a tripod. It can be cheap and heavy. Do not get a lightweight you can stick it in your pocket tripod. Immobile is what you're looking for. You don't need a lot of light if you have a good solid tripod.

    One more thing, get a tripod!

  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    An original New Jersey Tiltall can often be had on eBay for $50 +/- IMHO they are the stability equal of a Gitzo 3- series and one of the world's great bargains..

    Plan on doing some post-processing. The "Clarity" slider in Lightroom will do amazing things to improve product shots. Adding an almost undetectable vignette will draw the viewer's eye to the product, too. You can shoot a gray card, then use LR to adjust your white balance and make it a preset.
  7. yourguitarhero

    yourguitarhero Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011
    Thanks for all the advice guys.
    We did the pics today:

    Tried my 14-45mm and the old M42 135mm. The Lumix lens was a bit sharper and the details separated better so used that. Borrowed a tripod from my work, set up some daylight bulbs in a lamp and the room light and used a wee reflector I had and a remote release.

    Just been through processing about 200 photos - lucky I had the day off work.
    Will go back to them tomorrow and see if they still look good then, but I'm happy for now.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    really interesting - and the images are great.

    I can see this working rather well with the E-M1 and livetime....... thanks.
  9. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    It looks like you've got a good handle on it now.

    Keep in mind that this will likely be an ongoing project as new items are added to your webshop. Keep notes about your lighting setup (overview pix showing the camera, subject and lights are a good thing) so you can duplicate it months down the road. You generally want to keep the images as consistent as possible.
  10. yourguitarhero

    yourguitarhero Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 29, 2011