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How to Take Product Images Like a Pro

How to Take Product Images Like a Pro

Ever wonder how you could take product images like a pro? Well, I'm no pro but have learned a thing or two over the years)) Here are a few tips from my makeshift photo lab.

Lighting Equipment

We use two box lights and a boom light that we purchased a few years ago. There are all kinds of lights that can be used, but you need lights with bulbs made specifically for imaging. I'm no expert on the different types of lighting. We picked out what we felt was an affordable set and have been using it for five or six years now. The lighting setup below is similar to the one we have. My Amazon affiliate link is shown under the image.
The large rectangular lights are called softbox lights. The boom light is also called a "hair light" and you position it over your subject. how to take product images The softbox lights in this image are the same size, they just look different because of the angle. Each lightbox has five bulbs and one bulb in the boom light. You can break down the lights and fit them in a carrying case, but we usually just leave them set up unless we are moving to a different location. Beware! They are easy to trip over and easy to become top-heavy. The boom light has a counterweight and we just filled it up with rock.

Lightbox

For small product images, I also use a white nylon pop up box. I didn't show the popup box for this post, but it's very handy. It folds up flat and easy to store out of the way. It's great for small items. It also can be purchased from Amazon and a link is included under the image.

Craft Table

The craft table was just the ticket for what I was looking for. It is bar height which works great, because if you are like me, when crafting, most of the time I stand. It's like ironing. Not that I iron much anymore, but you just can't do it sitting down! The craft table folds out to make it wider. Two taller bar stools will slip underneath the table too which makes it a great little table for extra seating for meals when needed. The legs fold out to support the tabletop when you fold it out all the way. Otherwise, they can stay tucked inside. My Amazon affiliate link is shown under the table images.

Backdrop

The backdrop for the product images is a makeshift piece that I put together a while back. Sometimes you need it turned up longways for the height. I like to put something white in front of the backdrop too. Mine was made from leftover signs at a gas garden. They are made of vinyl and pure plain white on the back! backdrop, background, product image I know, it sounds strange. It's amazing what you can do with a little imagination and duck tape. You could also make a backdrop out of poster board or dry erase board. I've used white poster board in the past and it really didn't give a very light background, but it works especially once you edit out the background. More on editing later in the post. The piece I used in front of the backdrop was a 24" x 36" dry erase board that I bought from Lowe's. It's just the raw board and not in a frame. The boards come pre-cut at Lowe's and are inexpensive. My board usually stays on an easel for wreath making. It has a Command hook to hold the wreath.
video studio Light Setup for Video
The dry erase board just sits on the easel so it's easy to move. Sometimes, depending on what has to be photographed, I can just pull the easel up close to the table and use it has a backdrop like that.

Cameras

Again, I'm no expert on photography and certainly not cameras. The main point I want to make is to use the macro setting on your camera. You can take great product images with your smartphone too. And, that's about all I have to say about that))

Staging

This post is about taking clean-cut product images only. Showing a product in use is very helpful though. Sometimes you will see us post images taken in the Trendy Tree retail store for instance. This isn't always possible of course so today we are just doing clean-cut images. Today we had to take product images of florals. They won't stand up by themselves so you have to use a prop. If the item is lightweight and not top-heavy you can use a piece of Styrofoam. Taller pieces that are top-heavy will work standing in a clear vase. You can add clear marbles or a bit of Styrofoam in the base to help hold it upright. Sometimes I lean it lightly against the backdrop. Typically I try to put anything directly on the backdrop because of the shadow it creates. You can also place items on a riser to get good product images. We didn't have to photograph any today, but a good example is photographing a roll of ribbon. I will place the ribbon on a tall riser so that the ribbon can unroll and you get a better image. You can make a riser from something as simple as a bowl turned upside down and cover it with a cloth.

Photo Editing

Editing product images can be a boring job for sure! But, it has become a lot easier with some of the newer photo editing programs. My favorites are Canva, PicMonkey, and Photoshop. On any given day, I'm using all three of the programs. So far not one program does everything I need, so I use all three. It would take too long to talk about all three programs, that's a post for another day. So here are some highlights.

Canva

Canva's background remover tool is the bomb! Again, this post is about taking clear but product images. The kind of images that Google is happy with. We're not talking about beautiful scenes for Instagram and Facebook. Just a clear cut image of an otherwise possible boring subject! A roll of mesh, a floral bush, a Christmas ornament. We need to be able to show it to you in the best possible way so you can see the product as it is. As a side note, you might want to review the image requirement from Google. No watermarks, no wording. Just the product....no staging....no showing it with other items unless it's sold as a set etc. Back to Canva's background removal tool. To be fair, PicMonkey also has a background removal tool in its higher-priced program. I'm already paying for Canva, so no need at this point to pay for two so I can't really speak to their background removal tool.

Examples

Here's an example of a product image with the background removed in Canva. One click. You can remove the background with one click. Brighten the image a bit and increase the contrast if it helps. Essentially though, one click and done! Does every product image come out with a clean background like this? Not always, but most of the time. Getting clear product image background all depends on the contrast between the product and the background. Still, the background remover tool is just about the best thing I've seen since sliced bread! And you know, I have an affiliate link for it for sure))) Canva Here's another example of the background removal tool. Hope this tutorial helps you take better product images. If you would like to see more content similar to this or have any questions, please leave us a comment. We love to hear from our readers! Here's a post on our video lighting setup that you might be interested in. Setting Up a Home Video Studio ** I (Jeannie Pence) engage in affiliate marketing whereby I may receive funds through clicks to affiliate programs through this website or receive funds through the sale of goods or services on or through this website. I may also accept advertising and sponsorships from commercial businesses or receive other forms of advertising compensation. This disclosure is intended to comply with the US Federal Trade Commission Rules on marketing and advertising,as well as any other legal requirements which may apply.
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