Ok, a customer is searching for that perfect gift and your item is one of the many items their search query found. Now how do you get them to actually click on YOUR listing instead of so and so's who sells something similar? With an awesome photo of course! Now, I may be an artist and have a degree and all that jazz but I am not a professional photographer, I don't even know how to use Photoshop (gasp!). The good news is that you really don't need to either, you don't even need a $600+ fancy pantsy camera. A simple point and shoot digital camera with 7MP or more will do just fine. I am partial to Canon cameras and they're pretty inexpensive, packed with cool features and super trustworthy. I have a Canon PowerShot SX100IS with 8.1MP and it cost me about $200 several years ago, the newest model is of course better and is pretty close to the same price I paid. Enough about that though, first make sure to dust off your camera's manual and brush up on what all those buttons actually do, it's always easier when you're completely comfortable with your equipment.
Now that you and your camera are now friends we can talk about lighting. You can set up a lightbox or use natural lighting. I always prefer natural lighting because it is, well, natural. You can check out this handy DIY tutorial on how to make your own lightbox if you prefer, or buy one. The only downside with natural light is you are at the mercy of mother nature. She doesn't always cooperate. You don't need to be outside, all you need is a sunny window or at least bright, indirect sunlight. I use a little cubby box shelf system in my daughter's room which has a south facing window. I get the best lighting in mid to late afternoon depending on the time of year; a little earlier in winter, later in summer. A little trial and error will tell you what's the best time of day for your particular situation. There shouldn't be any jagged shadows or harsh direct sunlight in your photo. The same goes for shooting outdoors, aim for mid morning or early evening if outdoors so you're shooting in indirect sunlight. Change your position to the sun if shadows are taking over your photo. Your lighting should be bright enough that you don't need to use a flash. Flash is fine for snapshots, bad for product photos!
|A leaf dish that I use as my photo prop. It fits the earthy theme of my items.|
|Example of a BAD photo prop. Too busy and it takes away from the item.|
Now you have photos, what to do with them now? Most cameras and computers come with basic photo editing software of some kind. I personally use Windows Live Photo Gallery to make all my initial alterations. If you have a PC and don't have this great tool, get it, it's free. Again, I'm NOT a professional, if you know how and would prefer to use Photoshop by all means do so! All I ever tweak is brightness and color temperature (this may or may not be an option in some editing software, it changes the warmth, red, or coolness, blue, of a photo, it may be listed as "tint" and let you mess with the red, blue and green in a photo).
|Before Fotofuze. It's acceptable.|
|After Fotofuze! Awesome!|
Etsy's Guide to Photograghy - basically everything you ever needed to know all in one spot!
Photography Lesson's I've Learned - a quick tip resource from Handmadeology
Time Saving Product Photography Tips - Some creative ideas for good shots from Handmadeology
The 5-C's of Photo Styling - Great tips on getting professional looking photos in no time