How To Take Amazing Product Images: Photography 101 with Professional Photographer Christopher Gentile
Since we can’t all be professional photographers, we’ve corralled the help of one of Toronto’s top commercial photographers, Christopher Gentile.
Having worked in the commercial photography industry for the past 30 years, Christopher’s clients have ranged from rock band Blue Rodeo, to shooting the hot selling wedding planner book, "Rich Bride Poor Bride". After acquiring a breadth of experience, iCraft is fortunate to have Christopher share some inside tips and tricks for basic table top photography. So how do you instill some life into inanimate objects?
Use Proper Lights
Although Christopher could do a stunning job taking photos of your jewelry, he admits that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to get a great shot of your work. You just need to set up a basic table top studio and focus on achieving the right lighting.
“To take the best photos,” he says, “use the light that’s already there”. This means looking for places that have a great source of natural light. It could be a desk or table near a large window or something outdoors if that works for you.
North light is soft and ideal for photography, especially between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. This is how we see colour and it will remain the truest in photo form as well. He notes that you should try to avoid using direct light, as it can be very harsh and your piece will look washed out. If you find the light too stark, you can filter the light through sheers or drapes on the window.
Keep the Household Lights Out!
“Avoid household lamps... try always to use natural light when available”. Christopher warns. He explains that lamps all have different colour temperatures and can alter and distort your image. Also, if you are continually creating pieces of jewelry, for instance, it would be nice for the photos to look uniform. It’s best to work with natural light as some lamp lighting can be unreliable in its consistency for good color.
Experiment with Angles, Lights, and Backgrounds
If you want to have a really great shot, Christopher explains that the best approach is to use backlight or to bounce light back at an object. You can use something as basic as a large piece of white bristol board, or you can buy a simple reflector from a photography shop. They cost around CAD25 and pop the light out. They are easy to use and you can just hold it and move it around the object until you find the best angle.
He also recommends taking as many pictures as you can. In this digital age, there’s no sense in setting everything up for just one shot. Play around with angles and lighting and take many shots throughout the process and you are bound to end up with a solid image of your work.
Hire a Professional
Just like anything, photography can seem intimidating when you don’t know where to start, but with the helpful hints from a pro like Christopher, the process should go smoothly. In addition to his tips for setting up your mini-table top studio, he also noted that if you aren’t having luck finding a good shot of your pieces, or you have a large volume of photos that need to be taken, you can search around for a professional to do the work for you. He says that most photographers will work within your budget and get the job done quickly, but you should always check their resumes and see samples of the photographer’s work to make sure you will end up satisfied with the result.
One last piece of advice: try not to get stressed out about photographing your work!
Hopefully Christopher’s insight will help you to make the process go quickly and maybe you’ll have some fun doing it too.
Photo Courtesy: Christopher Gentile
If you are looking the advice on setting up your store before the Holiday Rush, check out our Sellers' checklist to make sure you don't miss any steps in your holiday e-store preparation.