Saturday, March 15, 2008

Product photography on the fly

When I'm shooting products for people inside a studio environment it's a relatively simple process. Most want their stuff shot on white or black plexiglass, or we work together beforehand to come up with a nice indoor setting that fits their product. Figuring out arrangements, colors and style is more complex than actually getting the lighting right.

Sometimes though, it's fun not to have a plan or finished idea and do some product photography "on the fly" and just see how things turn out. Recently, I did some product shots for Woodspritecottage who sells handmade bags on Etsy.

Since many of the bags have a country theme I wanted a rustic or cottage look to the backgrounds so we thought to head to the antiques market nearby. The one problem is most store owners don't want any photos shot inside their shop so we either had to sneak a couple shots or find something outdoors.

One setting I couldn't pass up as we walked through one of the stores was a chair by a window, and it seemed perfect for one of the bags:

For an Etsy shot, a lot of people would say this is dark and the entire product can't be seen clearly. We had plenty of time to take more shots of this bag later outside where there was plenty of light and opportunity to show the entire bag, but this shot was just meant for mood and beauty.

The wicker chair, yellowed walls and window light to me set the perfect country mood for this bag and so far, this photo has received more views on her Etsy shop than any other by far.

White backgrounds are great and often are the best choice for some products, but think about what you're trying to sell and think if there is a way to show off the beauty of your product in a natural setting too, besides just plain white or black. You might have an opportunity to not only show off your products features but also help to set a mood for the buyer.

For a lot of the other bags, we ran into a challenge in terms of location and had to take what we could get. We found two nice spots that gave us some decent light and gave us some backgrounds that would fit the products nicely. One was a country style porch with some wicker furniture, and the others were the outside walls of buildings with fading green and blue paint that gave the impression of age. Here are some pics:

The challenge of finding the right type of background, the right colors, enough space, etc made this a really fun shoot, especially since nothing was planned.
If you do your own product photography, get out there and experiment with different locations and backgrounds, and if you're at a loss for ideas, grab your camera, your products and take a drive. You might get some nice ideas that will really show off what you have to sell.
These bags and others can be found here:


Laura said...

Thanks Rob for the wonderful photos of my products. I just wanted to tell you too that after I posted the new photos of the floral bag, it sold the same day!

Grizzly Mountain Arts said...

Thanks for the lovely compliment about our blog! I love your photography and am going to add your blog to my Google Reader so I can finally learn how to use my camera! Jo :)

Field Notes said...

Good advice! I shoot and reshoot my things all of the time. And you are right, setting a mood is important - and fun! I love experimenting with different backgrounds.

RainbowMom said...

Wonderful photos. I love the rustic bag on the wicker chair.. It's on my list today to reshoot some of my photos as well. Great blog.

brandianndesigns said...

i love the bag on the chair - i have been posting photography how-to's on my blog and i just finished a post about bags in general. it's great to read someone else's take on it.

David White said...

Thank you for the wonderful tips about photography. I have always been interested in photography and find it very fun. My mother says I'm very creative and I would be a good photographer, but I still need help and tips, so thank you.

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