Admittedly when I first started on the blogging scene I didn’t have a clue. I didn’t have a clue about how to write a blog post, let alone take pictures for one! But we all have to start somewhere, and after reading lots of other blogs I soon got the inspiration to give it a try for myself. After a three years of gradual improvement, I can finally say that I am happy with where my blog is at – both written and visual wise. So I thought I would share with you a few of my top tips for product photography, that I have learnt over the past few years. This is only a flash guide, so hopefully it helps you in some way!
Product Photography Equipment
It was only recently that I invested in an Olympus Pen, and I can safely say it was well worth the investment. It is by far the best camera I have had, and what’s more, there are plenty of more affordable lens’ to choose from. Compared the the Nikon D3200 I used to have, the lens’ are so much cheaper.
For most of my product photography shots I like to use the 45mm lens as I find you get that beautiful depth of field with the photos. Although, saying that I wouldn’t say you have to buy the lens to get good images. I found that even with the standard one, on the right settings you can still get some lovely images.
This is only going to be a basic guide of the settings I use on my Olympus Pen, as I’m not really an expert – but it still seems to work for me! After venturing from the auto mode, I finally found that having it on “A” gets me much better images. This allows you to set the aperture manually (the amount of light that can enter the camera).
The settings I tend to use for product photography when using my 45mm lens are usually around f/1.8. This is the lowest it can go to, so it means you can get the optimum amount of focus on the product and blur in the background. For the light I usually keep it on 0.0 but will adjust lower or higher according to the weather that day – although I typically don’t go any lower than 0.0 or any higher than 0.7. It is best to just fiddle with it and see what works best for you. But just remember it is easier to edit a darker photo than it is a photo that is over exposed.
When using the standard Olympus Pen kit lens, the lowest it can go down to is f/3.5. Sometimes I find this isn’t quite low enough for me, but it will still produce some really nice images. I’ve shown an example below of the two different lens.
If you want to get some really pretty blog pictures, then you have to think about the props you are using. I have my little wooden board, which I have covered in marble sticky back plastic. It makes the perfect base for all my images – even if it is a bit of a blogger cliché! It just gives a nice looking texture to the background of my images.
On top of this I have been using this beautiful Vallila Round Tray from Rooi*. I find it gives really good depth to my pictures as I can blur the front ground and leave the products at the back of the image in crisp focus. The tray also has this beautiful black and white floral design to it, which means it doesn’t take away the focus of the images. Trays are perfect for shooting your images on as you can get a real mix of prints. They also make it much easier for transporting all your products around when you are about to arrange a little photo shoot!
One thing I’m want to try more of with this tray is using it for flatlays. I feel like because it is round it would be so nice in the corner of a flatlay, against a marble or white background. My eyes are going all heart-eyed emoji just thinking about the images I could create!
Homeware always makes the best product photography props, so have a browse through Rooi and I guarantee you will find some lovely pieces to help give your photos lovely background compositions. I know I have my eye on a few of their candles – another great thing to use in photos as they add a little bit of warmth and create some really cool shadows in your images.
As well as using this tray I like to use things like fairy lights, flowers, makeup products and plants. You can get some more ideas from my blog photography props post.
I think the composition all depends on what kind of photo you are looking to take. For example, if you are doing a product review you will want just that product to be in focus, rather than everything. You need to consider the amount of ‘clutter’ in the background, as you don’t want to take away the main focus of the product.
For a lot of my photos, I tend to take them from straight in front, from a teeny bit of an angle. I feel like it gives me the best depth of field and also means I can use lots of different props in the background. But just remember that if you get the settings right on your camera, it kind of doesn’t matter what is in the background of your image as it will come up nice and blurred anyway!
Top Tip: One thing to remember is that you can always take the photo from a little bit of a distance so that you have more room for editing once you have it up big on a computer screen. You might find it looks a little bit better cropped in a certain way for example.
I don’t actually own any studio lights, as I always try to find the time to take photos in natural light. I’m lucky because my house has a conservatory, which is my absolute go to place for taking blog photos. Even if it is a little bit of a gloomy day, there are so many good places for editing photos – which I will go on to in a moment!
If you are taking photos in a room with a window, you need to think about the direction of the light. As shown in my examples below, taking the photos away from the light makes for a much better image, rather than taking into the light. Taking it into the light can make the product appear dark and makes the background slightly more of a focus – which you really don’t want.
Unfortunately I don’t have photoshop on my Mac anymore as I had to wipe it… *cry*. But you know, since I got the Olympus Pen I have found that I haven’t actually had to do much in terms of editing my images. I tend to be quite happy with how they come out, so it will only ever be the odd tweak here and there.
At the moment I mainly just use the photo editor on my Mac. It has this amazing eyedropper tool that allows you to adjust the white balance. This means that you can take out all of the yellow tones in your photo and make you marble actually white. It is my favourite tool ever! Other than that, sometimes I will use picmonkey but not too often. I find the Mac editor does the job for me!
I know this was only a little whizz through of something that could actually be about ten pages long, but I really hope it has helped! Like I said before, I am not an expert in any way, shape or form, but I feel happy with my images, so thought I would share a few of my tips.
What’s your top blog photography tip?