5 Quick Tips for DIY Product Photography
Posted on 02 July 2015 by Brian Fox
Getting noticed is hard—just ask Shia Lebeouf. So for those of us who would like to stand out but can’t seem to schedule the time for a mental breakdown, we have to rely on appealing visual aids. Today I’ll be sharing some DIY photography tricks I’ve acquired over the years to help make your images pop!
Step 1: Shoot everything in RAW
Most compact cameras and all DSLR cameras have a setting for this file format. While they may take up a lot more memory space than JPEG images, RAW files allow for the highest quality. You can drastically improve brightness levels in your images by shooting in RAW as opposed to JPEG as well. If a JPEG has about 256 levels of brightness, RAW clocks in between 4,000 and 16,000 depending on the camera. Shooting in RAW collects all of the data from your camera’s sensor whereas JPEGs compress it, meaning you’ll save yourself so much editing work and/or actually make corrections to pictures you’d end up probably just deleting otherwise.
All cameras are different so check your instruction manual. You’ll know you’re in RAW if your files look like this when you transfer them to your computer or tablet.
Step 2: Get the right lighting
If you’d like to make product photography your thing, you’ll want to invest in some good spot lamps. Your camera’s built in flash is an option but a lot of times you’ll end up with some nasty glare. So learn when and when not to use it. They sell attachments called flash diffusers that dampen that glare.
Or you could just make one out of a recycled plastic jug like this guy at Digital Camera World.
Step 3: Edit the levels
Either in a program like Adobe Lightroom or your device’s default RAW editor, mess around with the levels of brightness/contrast, black/white, highlight/shadow, etc. until you are happy and your image looks perfect, but also life-like.
Left: Adobe Lightroom CC, Right: Default program
Step 4: Spot correction
Once you have everything lined up and scaled how you like it, it’s time to get rid of any imperfections that might have ended up in the shot. Your tools for doing this are either the Spot Healing Brush (shortcut: CTRL + J) or the Clone Stamp (shortcut: CTRL + S). See how I use the Clone Stamp to get rid of this tiny pink string in the lower left hand corner here:
Step 5: Final touches
Lastly, to bring out extra detail, I use Photoshop's smart sharpen filter.
And then we have the finished product!
This completes our crash course in DIY product photography. It's been working for us so far but there are dozens of methods out there so if you have any input, leave us a comment below. Check in with us on Facebook and Twitter for more how-tos and videos (not to mention discounts and give-aways!)