Thanks for tuning in for part two of my series for LuLaRoe consultants on how to take better product photos. I’m writing to LuLaRoe consultants because I’m just waiting on my call to become one, but these principles can be applied to any product photography.
Now that you’ve chosen your camera it’s time to use it to its full potential. Whether you are on a phone or an interchangeable lens there are things you can do to make sure you are getting the best image possible. In the final lesson of the series you will learn how to use editing software to perfect your images, but it’s always best to get it as close to perfect as you can in camera first.
Adjusting White Balance
Light has different colors, and that can change the colors in your photos. As a consultant it is important to make sure that the colors in your photos are as accurate as possible. Customers hate it when they think they are getting a nice burgundy shirt and end up with bright pink or are looking for coral and get orange. If you want repeat customers to your shop you have to make sure they get what they see! In next week’s post we’ll talk about how to control your lighting, but for today we’re going to talk about changing the lighting in your camera.
If you use a cell phone or tablet you are most likely going to need to download a photo app that has more controls, because the standard built-in app does not allow you control over white balance. Obviously I can’t address every single camera and how to set the white balance, so you will have to read up on the settings for your particular camera. In most phone apps you simply navigate to the white balance menu and slide a single slider left or right to make your photo warmer or cooler. With a point and shoot or interchangeable lens camera you can choose different light scenarios such as sunny, tungsten, shade, etc. If you have a REALLY nice camera then you can even custom set a white balance. You can watch the video below if you are interested in learning how to do this.
Exposure affects how light or dark your image is. Once again it is important that your photos are not too light or too dark so that your colors are represented accurately. Just like with white balance on a phone or tablet you will just have a simple slider to lower or raise the brightness.
Exposure on a point and shoot or interchangeable lens camera can get a bit more complicated. Exposure is a balance between your aperture (how big of a hole the light comes through), shutter speed (how long the hole stays open), and ISO (how many little digital helpers are collecting light). When you set your camera on manual you are controlling all three of these factors. All of the options available is WAY too much for me to cover here. If you are really interested in learning to shoot on full manual I would highly recommend the book Understanding Exposure.
For those who do not want to shoot in full manual or have a camera without that option I would suggest just using auto mode, portrait mode or aperture priority mode. With the first two the camera takes care of everything for you. With the third you set the aperture and the camera does the rest. If you choose aperture priority I would recommend an aperture of around 4.
One of my personal pet peeves is when I am scrolling through a consultant’s photos and an image is blurry. It is hard to tell what a pattern is when the image is out of focus. Usually this happens because your camera is focusing on something in your background. This is easily remedied by simply choosing your focus point. On a phone or tablet usually all you have to do is tap on the screen where you want the image focused, your product. With a point and shoot or interchangeable lens you will want to choose a single point focus mode then place that point directly on your product.
Also be sure that you are holding your camera steady. If you set your focal point then move around you can cause the image to go out of focus. Any motion in the camera while shooting can also cause blur. For product photography it is best to use a tripod to ensure that your camera is nice and steady. You can get a tripod that goes from 15-50″ and has a universal smartphone mount for only $14 on Amazon. If you are using an interchangeable lens camera you will want something a bit more sturdy such as this K&F tripod for ~$60.