Monday, December 10, 2012

Product Photography for Genesis Home Decor

Last Monday, I took a quick trip to Phenix City to take some product photos for Genesis Home Decor. She has a selection of home accent items. The short version is this. She had gotten feedback from the folks at Etsy that she needed better photos to sell her products effectively. So she posted an ad on Craigslist, I found said ad, we exchanged a series of emails, and BAM! Here are some of my favorites of the shoot.

I'm quite pleased with what we accomplished. The shoot took a bit longer than I had expected (over two hours before I was breaking down). It was a great learning experience for me. A few things come to mind that I could do better/differently/faster next time. Hey Paul, you need to...
  • Set up multiple backdrops at once so you can take all your pics of a product together. This would have saved some time in shifting gears, and it would have kept me from accidentally forgetting to shoot two items on the black.
  • Set your flashes and don't move them. I had one strobe bouncing off the ceiling a bit away from the camera, and another mounted to the camera that I would change direction on as I saw fit. Having both lights stationary would have cut down on time I spent adjusting settings.
  • Set your settings and don't change them...mostly. This would only be possible if the lights aren't moving and changing. It also doesn't apply to the adjustments necessary for the relative lightness or darkness of a product, or switching between various backgrounds. Consistency in setting also allows for easier processing of the images after the shoot.
  • Request good props to work with. This wasn't a problem; she had gotten a few things out to use in the pictures, and I found the baskets particularly helpful. Plus, putting other Genesis products in the background worked great. I only mention it here so that I think about it in the future.
  • When shooting something reflective, picture frames for instance, put your reflector panels to use and black that reflection out. I had real trouble getting a shot of the picture frames without me and/or other distracting elements visible in the reflection. Thinking about it later, I should have shielded the items with my light control panel so there was a solid black field instead of a noticeable reflection.
  • When in doubt about how to pose an item, ask the customer to do it for you. I was struggling to start with, in spite of the sample pictures she had of other product photos that she liked. So I asked her to arrange some stuff, and "Bob's your uncle!" We were rolling right along.
  • Make a packing checklist. I forgot to take contracts and my shoot-through umbrellas with me. Not having the umbrellas meant I had to rethink my lighting (making all my at home tests fruitless). Not having the contracts cost me the extra self addressed stamped envelope I had to enclose with the photo CD so she could send me back a copy.
  • Dress cool, and drink plenty of water. There's just something about a photo shoot that always makes me hot.

For any product pros out there who might disparage my wrinkled backdrops, I'll get a steamer and use smooth backdrops as soon as I can afford to buy a steamer and am charging enough to make the extra effort worth it.

Well, that's enough on that. On the way, more Holiday Market stuff, more grad season stuff, and some family portraits down the road.

Oh and a shout out to Village Photographers for letting me borrow the equipment that made this shoot and Holiday Market such a success.

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