The Recipe for Great DIY Product Photography
5 August 2015
Author: Florencia Escudero
Many of our clients approach us as they want to photograph their collection, but can’t afford the fees of a professional - here are a few ideas.
The adage 'A picture is worth a thousand words' accurately defines our era. In a world ruled by imagery, a single picture has enough power to grow or destroy your business. As extreme as this may sound, it is unfortunately true: a company without a distinctive visual style may well fade into the background as opposed to competitors with stronger imagery.
Showcasing your products with attractive, high-quality images can be the winning difference between being a successful brand and not selling at all. That is why we always ask our clients to provide us with compelling, bright, eye-catching pictures so their products will stand out from the rest. Nevertheless, some of the brands that work with us are just starting out in the fashion business, and they 'can’t afford' to pay for stunning product photography. In that case, here are some tips on how to make great product photographs by yourself.
The recipe for DIY product photography is very easy. The ingredients are:
1. A camera. Any camera will do. You can even use your Iphone as long as it has 8mpx or more! One thing that I’ve learnt in the last couple of years working alongside photographers is that the camera plays a very small part in the creative process. If you don’t have an aesthetic eye, then your pictures are not going to be good. End of story. That is why people still hire photographers to take pictures for them. It is not about the camera or the equipment, it is about the way we understand lighting. All in all, taking a photograph is like painting…but instead of a brush and oils, you use a camera and light. The good news is that you don’t need to have money or a divine gift for photography. Most of the time practise makes perfect.
2. A white background. It can be a white sweep, a nice piece of cloth or even a roll of greaseproof paper. You have to be creative here. Remember, it is all about light. The white background will provide a nice surface for contrast, but it will also reflect light to make your product look brighter and sharper. However, some products do not benefit from this white background. For example, white or very simple garments are better shown against textured backgrounds such as pebbles, antique flooring or colourful wallpaper.
3. Light. Find a window and lots of natural light, and place your products facing the windows (with the light right behind the camera). Personally, I never use flash because the light is very harsh. If you have harsh light coming in, then a light diffuser to soften it is a good solution (I simply tape greaseproof paper to a lamp and voilà!). Nevertheless, some of our own customers like Buki Koshoni (who is a renowned photographer as well as a fashion designer) create amazing fashion shots with very intense lightning.
4. Your product. This is the tricky part because it involves creativity. You already have all the ingredients and now you have to find a good way of mixing them together in order to make your product stand out, as it should. When it comes to fashion, you need to think outside the box. Usually, it is better to showcase your products on models, because many people these days lack imagination and they need to see how the clothes look when worn by others. But when you don’t have a model within reach, the secret is to attract with restraint. You can either tell a story or just show your product…often, the simplest shots are the most beautiful.