Product Photography For Beginners!

Product Photography

We understand the cost of hiring a professional photographer for product photography is high (and well deserved as those photos work hard), so until you have a budget to burn, this is a great alternative that can help take your RuckifyStore to the next level!

1) Lighting

The light makes or breaks the photo. Natural light is the best and cheapest alternative to professional lights, just make sure your product is well-positioned so the light isn’t too harsh!

Lighting tips:

  • Take a picture of an item near a window (around 4 – 10 feet away so the light isn’t too strong). You know it’s too strong when you can no longer see all the detail on the asset where the light hits.
  • Shoot **indoors** mid-day when the sun is above your home. Find a room with the softest light and work there.
  • If you are shooting 90 degrees to a window, I recommend using either a reflector or any smooth white surface to bounce light back onto the darker side of your asset. It makes the light stronger on that side and editing will be easier for you. In the images used in this blog, the light is on the far wall to the left of our photographer. 
  • Make sure artificial lights are turned off as they will give your photo a yellow tinge or mixed lighting like the dark product photo at the top of this page.
  • Check that nothing is blocking your light source (including yourself). If your item isn’t getting enough light, it will be dull and grainy.


2) Background/Backdrop

A good photo background can make all the difference, and it doesn’t need to be fancy at all! In fact, the more simple, the better!

Indoor background tips:

  • Find a neutral hard service that will fit your asset comfortably if your camera is in square mode. Make sure the sides are clear of clutter or strong light.
  • Don’t use fabrics as wrinkles are messy and distracting.
  • Don’t have a neutral colored wall? Head over to the Home Depot and get beadboard, drywall sheet, or anything thin, over “4×4” and white for under $30!
  • If you are using your floor, make sure it doesn’t have a shine. If it does put a white carpet or white drywall sheet down against the baseboard.
  • Make sure the surfaces you use are clean, as pesky dirt and dust can appear when you sharpen the image later.

ruckify product photography

3) Composition

I have also included camera angles and how many images to aim for while shooting a single product. Aim for a minimum of three images unless the product is pretty straight forward.

  • 1) straight-on shot of the item (feel free to do this for all relevant angels of the asset).
  • 2) Angle shot or top shot (Get a shot at an angle from above or straight on from above. Consider it the more “artsy shot” that looks great as your main image.
  • 3) Context/Action shot. Ask someone to model with your product, or do it yourself by including something simple as a hand in the picture (make sure your fingernails are clean).
  • 4) You can also just place your product next to something relatable, like a plant. This helps the renter gauge the size visually, and it’s been proven that items sell/rent better when a person is included in the photo (people build a connection with the image when done correctly and not creepy).

Composition tips:

  • For straight-on shots hold your camera straight and not tilted.
  • Put your camera in “square mode”.
  • Turn your phone camera grid on by going into phone settings — camera mode (or google how to do it). This helps you keep the image straight.
  • Leave enough padding around the bottom, top and sides (but not too much — find a balance)
  • Keep your asset far enough away from your backdrop so you don’t get a harsh shadow on the back and you can’t see the details in the wall.
4) Photo Editing

There are many free editing apps you can download to your phone. As long as you can do the following 5 things, you’re golden. Editing your picture can transform a good shot to a professional shot in less than two minutes. We recommend downloading the app “ColorStory” or “a ColorStory” (android) to edit your images. All you need is to upload your image, hit “tools” (middle, bottom button), and then “adjust”. We don’t recommend using filters as that can change the coloring of your item and you want it to be as crisp and realistic as possible. The edit works the best if there are no harsh shadows and you have even light like the before shots above.

Editing tips:

  • If your image is darker, bring up your brightness first (be careful not to overdo it).
  • Follow up “bright” with contrast to bring the dark bits back into your photo.
  • If your image in on the yellowish side, use the “temp” adjustment and slide it left to take our extra yellow from your photo
  • You can do a final adjustment for light by bringing up the “exposure”.
  • Finish your image by adding a bit of sharpness (again, don’t overdo it)

We hope you guys found these tips helpful! If you have any questions or want to share your work feel free to leave them in the comments or send them on over to us via email! Email Paige directly at pcody@ruckify.com. Stay tuned for the next video on editing!

Happy Ruckifying!!

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