Since starting this journey I have learned a LOT and much of that knowledge came from other makers I've met along the way. I wanted to occasionally use this blog to share some of those learnings with other business owners who might be starting out or may be struggling with certain parts of their business.
Up first, I wanted to share some tips and tricks on taking and editing product photos in less than 5 minutes, for less than $5. If you try this out and use it on some of your photos, please share with me by tagging me!
When I first started photographing my products, I invested in a proper light box and used my DSLR and a tripod. Now, maybe it's because I never really knew how to use that camera but I would say the quality of my photos then was worse than what I'm posting now using this quick and dirty technique. Plus, who has time to set all that crap up? Not me - I'm usually scrambling to take pics after hearing my little one start to chirp in his crib.
What you need
- A piece (or more, depending on what you're photographing) of white foam core which you should be able to get from a Dollar Store
- A decent amount of natural light (though I've made due with some pretty crappy light)
- A SmartPhone (this demo will be done on an iPhone 7 Plus)
- Two FREE Apps (Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed)
Taking your initial picture
Before we even get started on the editing, here are a couple tips for taking your initial photo:
- Make sure your product looks it's best - whether that means ironing it, de-linting it etc. I'm guilty of sometimes not doing this but it is SO worth the extra minute or so
- Make sure your WHOLE product is in the photo (unless you're doing a detailed shot and are intentionally doing a close-up. Nothing bugs me more than seeing a product posted where a big chunk of it is cut off
- If you're photographing for Instagram, think SQUARE. I know you can now post non-square images to IG but I still like to make as many of my pics square as possible because they look better in the feed that way (or at least that's my opinion).
- To follow this tutorial, place your item on your white foam core in a room with a fair amount of natural light. If your board has some dirt or dents on it, we can edit those out but try to ensure they're not right up against your product. Take your picture from directly above (bird's eye) and try to leave some space around your product in the photo.
Ok, now that we've gone through those - go take you're picture!
Here's a before and after of where we will start and where we will end and it should hopefully only take 5 minutes or less.
Prepping photo in Adobe Lightroom
I like to start in Adobe Lightroom to make some adjustments to the exposure, temperature and colours of the image so let's go there first.
1. Adjusting exposure
2. Adjusting temperature and colours
The main goal of using Lightroom is to brighten and whiten your photo but do NOT over do it - you just want to brighten slightly and try to remove some of the yellow-ish tones that may be present in your photo. We'll whiten the crap out of it in the next section. You also want to ensure you're not completely altering the colours of your product so keep it subtle.
Finishing up in Snapseed
Now, the image is looking pretty good - right? Well, we still have a few things we need to do. We need to fix the edges where you can still see some of the floor. The super quick way to do this would be to crop those areas out but I'm going to show you how to fix it another way because it can be quite useful during this process.
Using the healing brush
The image is looking pretty good now but we aren't done (I know - this feels like a million steps... because it kind of is... but I promise once you get the hang of this it'll take you a couple minutes tops to do a picture).
Using the expand tool
I used to stop at this part of the process and then I'd post a picture to Instagram and notice that the edges of my picture were darker and I hadn't achieved a fully white background (here's an example - the picture looked great on my phone but I like my white background to be seamless and you can see in this picture clearly where the image ends) here is how I avoid this now (this also works great if you're prepping pics for Instagram Stories).
Now, in this example, the image looks great - there are no dark spots that need to be created. But, if you expand and you can clearly see lines or patches where you expanded your photo, here is how you can easily fix.
If you can't quite get rid of all the dark spots with the dodge and burn brush, you can use the healing tool again to perfect your image. Now you should have a nicely edited image that you can crop into a square for IG or for your website, or you can keep playing with the expanding tool to prep something for an IG Story.
I know it seems like a million steps but...
Once you build up some muscle memory, I swear you can whip through this approach to photo editing really quickly. Don't believe me? I ran through editing this photo end-to-end in 2:46 and here's the proof.
What did you think?
Well, if you made it this far please let me know what you thought of this tutorial. Post comments or questions below or send me an email or message on IG or Facebook! I'd also love to hear your ideas for future #MomBoss101 topics!