Product Photo Props

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Now say that three times – real fast! But seriously, though, there is much to be said for giving some creative time to selecting the props that you use in your product photography. I am fortunate in that I don’t typically need props for my products, other than engaging my pets as models. But what do you do if you really need to “stage” your products to show them at their best?

My first suggestion is to just take a look around you.  You know your product, so look both online and in brick and mortar stores to see how your product type is displayed, and decide which models would serve you best.  Magazines are also a great source of inspiration.

Black-mannequin-DSC02490Great Jewelry Display

For example, do you sell jewelry or clothing?  Would a mannequin like the one above work well for an overall jewelry display?   For individual jewelry pieces, would a beautiful slab of stone, or a piece of tile or wood work as a backdrop for your products?  Look at products sold on Etsy.   Which photos catch your eye and make you want to purchase?  Taking great photos for online selling is essential, but before the product shots you need to gather the props.

Final-White-Fudge-NewRound White Plate, Vase, and Paper Lace Props

My daughter recently asked me to assist with some photography of her food (sweets) that she wants to sell online.  The first thing I did was search for some great props.  What a fun assignment!  I found plates, cups, silverware, and a couple of pretty little dish towels that work beautifully to help show off the fudge and other sweets she wants to sell.  I even used a very small vase and some rosemary twigs from the garden for some of the photo shoots.

Small-Fudge-Honey-400pxWhite Oval Platter and Celtic Honey Jar Props

For one set of photos I used some little vintage children’s blocks with lettering.  Search your home and what you already have on hand, or borrow items from family or friends to use as props.  The photo above has a Celtic design honey jar from Scotland that I have owned for many years.  You can find amazing things at antique shops as photo props; the little bit of nostalgia they provide for photos makes them quite charming!

Final-Food-PropsColorful Food Props

Have fun gathering!

 

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Oh That Face!

 

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Final-Caska

She really has a very expressive face, more so than any cat I’ve ever known.  There is her sweet face (top), and then there is this one.  The one that makes you think twice about getting any closer with your camera, for fear of what might happen.  Still she is a beautiful kitty, and a very girly one too.  She loves the water, and a favorite spot is to sit along the edge of the tub while her human takes a bath!

Instagram-Ten Reasons to #Love

Final-Instagram-ProfileAhh…social media.  An absolute must for business owners, and an addiction for others.  My route to social media use was certainly business oriented, and after using different ones now for several years I definitely have my favorites.  I started with a Facebook business page, which seemed like a fairly easy transition from a personal Facebook page.  Twitter came next, although it is actually more difficult for me to write short tweets sometimes than blog posts.  After a friend suggested I try Pinterest I found myself hooked on this social media, although I think of it more as visual bookmarks and don’t find myself engaging in the social media part as much.  Then came Instagram.  My Instagram.  Why had I not explored it further at an earlier date?  I love photography, so this social media just seemed like a very natural fit for me.  It is definitely now ranked as my favorite social media.

Here are ten great reasons to love Instagram:

1.  It actually works as social media.  Meaning that you really can easily engage with other Instagram users.  The Instagram app allows you to quickly scroll through your feed and “heart” user photos you like and leave comments.  It is easy to make friends from around the world!

2.  As with Facebook, you are able to easily read through all comments so that interaction between users is encouraged.  Just type the @ symbol in front of a friend/users name in the comments section of any feed so they are pointed to a particular photo!

3.  Like Twitter, hashtags are used to quickly identify keywords for a photo, or to identify the photo with a particular group.  I have a hashtag that I assign to photos that I want to appear in my Instagram feed on my website.  Very easy to do!

4.  Like Pinterest, the photos are truly amazing – stunning in their beauty.  And while Pinterest boards typically contain photos from many different users/sources, Instagram allows you to focus more on an individual photographer’s work.

5.  Instagram is a photographer’s mecca.  While you may add photos to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Instagram was really designed by photographers, for photographers.  So if photography is your thing, this is the social media for you!

6.  No writing required, other than the hashtags.  You can write a brief (or longer) description if you want, and some great Instagrammers do, but you certainly don’t have to.  Writing pressure off!

7.  This social media actually encourages you to LEARN a skill – how to be a better photographer.  With photo editing apps like Mextures, folks share their formulas for their photo filters on Instagram, thereby sharing their techniques.  And often they share a list of the photo editing apps they have used.

8.  How did they do it?  Look at different feeds and try to figure out how a particular photo was created.  Then download some new photo editing apps and try to recreate a photo you see.  I guarantee you will become a better photographer just by doing this!   Also sometimes photos are made available for others to submit their edits to.  Great interactions!!

9.  It is the perfect way to visually display your products for a business.  I use my feed for all my photography, but have seen some businesses beautifully display their goods using their Instagram accounts.

10.  Other services, like Printstagram work with your Instagram photos for printing purposes.  Create business cards, magnets, calendars, posters, t-shirts, and prints for yourself or your business.  Can’t do that with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  The folks at Facebook took a look, and purchased Instagram in April 2012!  Smart move.

Snappy H’appy Photo Challenge-Week 12-Mix It Up

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I have certainly missed some weeks of this photo challenge as I have been creating my new Shopify web site, however am delighted to be able to finish the last couple of weeks, and plan on going back and completing the weeks I missed.  The idea for this final post is to “mix it up”, by using at least two out of the 11 different image edit options covered in the last 11 weeks via hosts We Live in a Flat and Fire Bonnet.

Beds-RawOriginal Bed Photo

I went back in time and pulled some of the first product photos I took with my kitties.  All four photos were taken with my DSLR Sony camera.  I decided not to pull them into Photoshop to blend out the white sheet I used as a background, but chose rather to completely edit these with the photo editing apps on my phone.

To start, I edited each of them separately with the photo app Afterlight.  I particularly wanted to use this app because it would easily allow me to “straighten” the photos, as well as apply other more standard editing techniques like brighten, contrast, sharpen, etc.  I then pulled the photo without cats into “Over” to add text, followed by a trip through “PicsArt” to add an artistic effect.  Last but certainly not least I turned to the “Moldiv” app to use the collage effect to pull all four photos together.  This is the finished result.  Hope you like it.  Saying “Here Kitty Kitty” certainly works for my guys!

Here-Kitty-Kitty Final Edited Photo

I want to thank our hosts We Live in a Flat and Fire Bonnet for this super challenge.  Even though I missed some weeks, I feel my editing skills with photo apps have tremendously increased.  And have filled up space on my iPhone and iPad. 🙂

Here is a list of all the photo apps I tried during the past 11 weeks:

Snapseed
Afterlight
Photo Toaster
100 Cameras
PS Express
Toon Camera
Bokeh Lens
Pic Art
LensLight
VSCOcam
Pho.to Lab
TextonPS
easyTITLER
Montager
Phonto
MobileMonet
Waterlogue
Glaze
Moldiv
Split Pic Pro
PicsArt
Mexture
Over
Alien Sky
Fragment
Disco Sketch
DistressedFx

Many of these I tried and did not even touch on during the challenge.  And although I guess this is showing some preference, I think that the one singular app that has me most enthralled me is Mextures, because it lets you create your own filters!  That being said, most of these apps are wonderful and well worth the time to explore.  So try some, and enjoy all that the new digital world has to offer.