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Lights, Camera, Click!

My step-by-step process of Product Photography this month!

Anna Christina doing product photography at Music Audio Stories image
1) Buy a new Canon camera

Although Nikon cameras are known to be better for beginners due to the fact that their settings and terminology are easier to understand, I went with the Canon. Not only is it a great camera for photography but the video capacity is awesome too. My Canon camera has a mic input and flip screen which is so important for a YouTuber like me. Plus, people I work with use Canon so in the long run, it will be easier to match up film/photo footage later on.

I can't even tell you the number of times I have turned the camera on and been puzzled as to why there was no picture on the screen, to then realise, I'd left the lens cap on lol!!! It's a good job it comes with a strap too as I have almost dropped the camera several times! Although this camera is pretty straightforward, for a novice like me, it's a little overwhelming. Hello, YouTube tutorials...

Music Audio Stories photography setup image
2) Set up studio

I decided to use my Fovitec Soft Boxes. Lighting is a huge topic especially when it comes to product photography, so before I even attempted to take any photos, I did quite a lot of lighting research. I'm a bit of a studio tech person so I find this kind of thing interesting anyway. It doesn't matter if you have all the correct camera settings and angles right, if the lighting is wrong, the photo won't be good. It's as simple as that. I also decided to go with a white backdrop as I felt products photographed on white would be the most versatile in terms of posting them on Etsy and our website.

3) Shoot One

No better way to learn than on the job! I set up my products on the floor and began to photograph them. However, about halfway through, I realised two problems.

One, because the display was on the floor, I found that the light was not hitting the products in the right way. This was especially noted on my picture book where I wanted to capture the high gloss finish of the cover. The light was hitting everything from the bottom and not the sides. Plus I was fighting with all sorts of shines and shadows in all the wrong places! ????

Two, crawling around on the floor for any length of time is agony for the knees and back and not something I would recommend. How did I ever build Lego cities on the floor! It also meant that I couldn't use my tripod for my front-faced shots which was a bit of a pain. However, I did manage to get some rather nice overhead pictures so at least I still had a productive outcome.

4) Review Photos

Even though I figured the photos from my first test shoot were probably not good enough, I decided to transfer them onto my laptop for further viewing. I was so focused on the lighting that I wasn't paying close enough attention to the structure of the photo and so quite a few pictures from this series were not straight or out of alignment. Sooooooo many things to be considered in a single photo! However, I have to say, I was quite pleased with my first set of photos and the progress I was making. I was ready to set up another shoot.

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5) Shoot Two

This time I set up my display on a table which meant I could position my Soft Boxes exactly where I wanted them to be, use my tripod and sit on a stool! Ahhhhhh, this is how 'they' do it...

6) Victory

At last, I am getting the hang of using the Canon camera, taking some decent photos and rather enjoying myself. My mission was to not only take good clear photos but to create lovely scenes and experiment with different angles and layouts. Get creative and have fun. That is so important when you are trying to do something that is challenging. At the end of the day, you've got to be having fun.

My conclusion

Yes, it's important to learn as much as possible about product photography if you are going to do it yourself but at the end of the day, nothing beats experience. It can be difficult to follow what you may have learned online as everyone's set-up, lights, space etc is different. Make a start, even if you're not ready to and just do it. I haven't learned everything about the Canon camera but it has been a fun experience being thrown in, somewhat at the deep end!

I hope you have enjoyed my report on this month's activities. Next month, I switch my attention back to Storytime and I have something special for your little ones coming up...

Watch this space!

???? Anna Christina


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