Are you decorating beautiful cakes, knitting gorgeous garments, or sewing striking quilts- but feeling like your photos aren't doing them justice? Don't worry, with just a few simple tips I'm sure you'll be showing off your crafts with compelling images in no time. Since photography is a passion of mine, I wanted to share some of the principles I've learned over the years, with you.
Place the object in front of a clean, solid-color background.
The whole point here is to show off what you’ve created! Don’t allow a busy background to detract from all of your hard work.
I often use a neutral wall or a sheet behind my products, to ensure that there is nothing to distract from the finished piece. I usually place this at least a foot or two behind the product to allow for visual separation. Try not to use any distracting colors like hot pink or neon green.
Make sure to stretch the sheet/fabric/paper, whatever you come up with, tight across the background or the shadows will show. Also, make sure to take the time to iron your sheet. Wrinkles will enhance shadows and become distracting.
I also use a larger aperture when shooting products so that the object is in focus but the background is blurry. This is only for those with SLR cameras, (cameras with removable lenses). I typically use an aperture of f8 or f56 for cakes.
For those of you without SLRs, try moving the subject farther away from the background and switching to the portrait or macro setting (the face or the flower).
Think about the light and shadows.
If you are shooting inside, keep in mind that the general lights in your house will probably not be enough to fully light your project. Use natural light from windows, or get creative. I sometimes use simple clamp lamps that you can buy from the hardware store for about $10. Sometimes I even use my boyfriend’s work lights from the garage.
Try not to use the flash from your camera as this will wash out the project and throw the background into darkness.
Take lots of pictures.
One of the best tips I can give is just to take lots of pictures. Stand at slightly different angles for each picture. Get down to the level of the object, look down on it, take one from the side; zoom in, zoom out! You never know what a slight change in perspective will do. I can often be seen crawling on the floor, laying down, standing on chairs, etc, to get a different angle. Don’t be afraid to try out new ways of shooting!
Also, when posting pictures, choose a few different ones- maybe one that shows the whole object and then a couple of detail shots. Think about what you want to see when you are surfing around and try to shoot for that.
Let it Breath!
One of the most common mistakes amateur photographers make is cropping in too close on their subject. Make sure to leave a bit of breathing room all the way around the subject within your frame when taking a full shot. If every picture you have crops off part of the piece you are photographing, no one can see the whole picture.
So snap away and upload your gorgeous photos of your crafts to the Projects section! And to learn more about product photography check out Craftsy online class Shoot It A Product Photography Primer with knitter and photographer Caro Sheridan. She'll explain it all - from planning before the shoot to editing afterwards, and all the details in between.
A Review of Craftsy's Product Photography Class