Craft Venture: Photo makeover, part II

Im Brenda from Phydelle and Phydeaux Designs, with another Craft Venture post about product photography!  We started our series last week, talking about how to create your own branded photography style.

When I first started my own Etsy shop, I didn’t know how to use my point and shoot digital camera, other than to … point and shoot.  I definitely didn’t know how to edit photos, despite owning Photoshop.  It took me a good six months before my photos stopped making me cringe!  My photos have further evolved (and will continue to do so!).  I’ve graduated to a DSLR camera, but some of my very best product photos were taken with my much loved point and shoot.

You really don’t need fancy or expensive equipment or software to take really great photos!  If you have great natural light and a digital camera, you have all the tools you really need.  Photo editing software is a plus, but there are many good – and free – software programs to choose from.

You also don’t have to be a professional photographer or take photography courses.  The internet has nearly limitless resources for you to learn how to use your camera to take great product photos.  You can complete any number of online tutorials to improve or learn how to use your camera, use light, edit photos, etc.

If you don’t have great natural light, you can buy or make a lightbox for small item photography and you can buy lighting equipment for large items.  If you want to buy equipment, just search Google  or ebay for terms such as “lighting equipment,” “lighting kit” or “studio lighting equipment.”  I have absolutely terrible natural light in my house, so I invested in lighting equipment early on.  You can pay thousands of dollars or less than a hundred for a lighting kit (if you’re not a professional photographer, look for equipment on the low end of that spectrum).  If can also make your own lightbox, following online tutorials.

As for cameras, do your research, read reviews, and find the best quality you can afford at a level you will actually use.  You probably don’t need tons of bells and whistles.  If your camera allows you to zoom, use a macro lens, and gives you some manual control in addition to auto adjustment, you should be good!  I’ve seen absolutely phenomenal photos taken with iphones and really bad photos taken with very expensive, high end DSLR cameras.  My number one piece of advice is to read the reviews and remain objective – don’t let yourself get swept away with cool or sexy features you’re not likely to use.

There are infinite resources to help you learn to use your camera, lighting equipment, photo editing software, and (most important) take good photos!  Next week, we’ll talk more specifically about best practices and what to avoid.

What about you?  What kind of camera do you use?  Do you use natural or artificial light (or both)?  What advice do you have to share about camera and lighting equipment?

Image credit:  Mint, 8×8 print, by Lola’s Room; Pictures of you, original illustration, by Michele Maule

6 comments | Click here to reply

i use natural light, even though there isn’t much offered here. sometimes i go outside but in the winter i do my best to stay indoors. setting up right next to the window seems to work. i use a canon rebel xs with a 50mm lens. it’s an amazing lens & camera. i’ve been having much better results since i got it.

can’t wait for more on this series.

erin / atlantic treefox

Thanks, Erin! Your photographs are beautiful! I have the same camera and LOVE it. Thank you for your comment – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series!

Brenda

Brenda

Super informative and well written article–thanks, Brenda!
Celeste (Crickets)

Celeste (Crickets)

good article. good photography is so important for selling online. I feel like i have a long way to go, but I did make the light box that you have a link to, a few months ago, and it worked really well, until the cat decided to sleep in it! easy to make though.
i use a nikon dslr and i just got a lovely 50mm lens which is great for depth of field.

Carole Smith

Thank you, Celeste and Carole! I’m glad to hear the lightbox worked out so well for (and your cat)!

Brenda

Brenda

[…] Designs, with another Craft Venture post about product photography!  Last week, we talked about photography equipment.  This week, let’s talk about things to avoid with your product […]

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