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Product Photographs for Etsy

January 1, 2018

If you have a shop on Etsy you will no doubt have read at some point the importance of product photography, after all if the product looks awful, who is going to want to buy it?


I consider myself an amateur photographer, in that it's a hobby, however it consists of close up shots (macro) of Damselflies, Dragonflies, Butterflies and Bees and landscapes. I have found it a steep learning curve trying to achieve a decent photograph of my products but I wanted to share what few things I have learnt so far.


Etsy suggest you don't use flash photography however this is how I started. I set up my camera on it's tripod along with 2 flash guns positioned around the product. I would then take numerous photos each time moving the flash guns to a different location to see what effect it had. Ideally I wanted to have the product beautifully lit with no ugly shadows. 


This method was extremely time consuming as after each shot I would remove the SD card, pop it into my computer and look at the image on the big screen in my software of choice, Adobe Lightroom. If the image was to my liking then I would move on to the next shot, inevitably though it was not acceptable and so the repositioning of the flash guns continued.


When I received a delivery of my tea towels the other day I dreaded the hours ahead of me photographing all 12 of them in 5 or 6 different poses. So this time I decided to heed Etsy's advice and do it without the use of flash (yes I know I should have listened to them in the first place).


I have a lovely bay window in my lounge so I set up my temporary studio in there and fortunately it was an overcast day, so less likely to cause shadows, which is paramount to creating an image as shadow-free as possible. I used a piece of MDF board, which I had painted off-white, with grooves similar to tongue and groove, as a background for my tea towels. I then set up my tripod for the first 'scene', laying the tea towel flat on the MDF. I positioned my tripod over the top looking down onto the tea towel. Without moving my tripod I took 2 other scenes for each of the 12 tea towels.


Then when I had to move the camera and tripod for the next scene (close up) I could quickly go through all 12 tea towels without moving the camera/tripod. I continued in this way for all scenes greatly reducing my time.


However the most time reducing factor is my process was once I was happy that the frame contained all that I needed I just took one shot of each scene and each tea towel, instead of the numerous photos before because I was going to adjust the exposure etc in Lightroom. If you do nothing else, I suggest you get some sort of photograph editing software as it saves you having to get it perfect in camera (as you can see from the before and after photos above). You can also read from my previous blog post that I was also further able to reduce time in processing by copying the pasting any adjustments for the same scenes because I hadn't moved the tripod, I could even copy and paste any cropping I had done.


I hope this post is of help to someone out there, this method has certainly made my life easier and I actually ended up enjoying the process!


My tea towels are available at Etsy



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