I usually like to start off my blog posts with a great photo. Today, in order to better make my point, I’m starting off with a bad one:
This was among one of the first listings in my Etsy shop. I’m happy to report that, despite the novice photo quality, this wallet actually sold. (Yay!)
Sure, there are some good things about this photo…hmm, maybe not, but there is a lot that is terrible about this photo.
One of the first things I learned is avoid using the flash, if at all possible. The biggest reason for this is that it creates harsh shadows…not good. The shadows in this photo have a tendency to pull your eye away from the item, which completely defeats the purpose of taking the picture in the first place. Your photos need to highlight your item, make it pop off the page.
Another thing I’ve learned is to choose your backdrop carefully. Your backdrop can detract from your product (as in my first photo), or it can accent your product, like this:
I took this photo outdoors so that I had some great natural lighting (no flash!) and used a pretty metal bench as a backdrop. If you are going to use scenic backgrounds, be careful to make sure the colors and textures enhance your item. While I like this photo (it’s WAY better than that first one!), I feel like it’s a little too busy. It makes a pretty picture, but, once again, it draws the eye away from the wallet.
I’ve also found that it’s helpful to search around and see how other people are shooting their products. I look for photos in the same categories as mine and then see which photos really catch my eye. After doing that, I decided to try this:
I like the stark white background because it leaves you with nothing to look at but the item itself. The trouble I’ve been having is getting the lighting just right…pure white is REALLY hard to photograph…at least with the skills, tools, and environment I have to work with.
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Recently I’ve been working with a background that is slightly off white. This give a little warmth to my background and makes it easier to edit colors. And I’m finding that I like having just a touch of soft shadow in my photos; I feel like it helps to ground my item rather than make it look like it’s floating in space.
Of course, the best answer to having good photography is to hire a professional, but since that isn’t an option for many of us, let me encourage you with this thought:
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
(Did Ben Franklin say this first?)
Anyway, the point is, don’t give up! Keep learning, keep practicing, and you will keep improving. I know I’ve still got a LONG way to go before I’m happy with my photos…or maybe I’ll never get it quite right…but I’ll keep trying. Hmm…that sounds like great advice for life in general, too!