So You Were Sent Some Products
Mail day! (Really every day in the blogging community) One, two, even three times a day, a courier arrives at the door trading you a package for your signature. Door closes, package ripped open: more products. More products to try, photograph, and post about. Cosmetics, hair products, snacks, teas, grooming essentials, kitchen gadgets - all mailed to bloggers all the time to post. Some make the cut and their pretty posed photo makes it to the pages of the blog! Some never see the light of day and end up in the guest bath or given to your best friend because - well how much Clinique does a blogger really need? (And we can talk about that later - discerning what makes it to the blog and what doesn't). But let's talk about photographing these beauties.
Some easy tips whether you're using your phone, mirrorless camera, or DSLR:
1. Find a spot with good lighting
Usually by a window or well-lit spot in your home, this makes capturing clear images so much easier. When you find a place or two that work well for you, stick to those spots, and style them according to what you're photographing. Usually the bed, side table, and maybe a windowsill, balcony, or patio are great go-to's.
2. Shoot with a low f-stop (but not too low)
This applies to people shooting with a mirrorless camera or a DLSR. The f-stop is how blurred the background is, and affects how much light is let it. A lot of people are looking to achieve a really blurry background, so they set the f-stop as low as it can go. For some lenses that's an f-stop of 3.5, others as low as 1.2. That blurry, creamy background is beautiful, but you want to make sure that enough of the product is clear and in focus. Try shooting with an f-stop around 2.0-3.0. If you still want a really blurry background, put the products far away from the background, so there is more room for the background to be blurred.
3. Set a scene
It doesn't have to be fancy, but gather some items in your home that make you happy and relate to the product. They can be the same color scheme, or just relate to each other in some way. This puts the product in context, and gives you a way to represent yourself and your own brand.
4. iPhones are really great for flat lays
Save yourself the headache of adjusting the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed for getting all the products perfectly lit and in focus for the flat lay you envision. iPhones are really great for capturing products and it's much easier to see when you're getting a straight, clear image on your phone.
Product photos should be a fun chance to capture something you love and want to share. It doesn't have to be literal - this isn't an e-commerce shoot. What's important is to capture how it applies to you, and by finding good lighting, getting a clear photo, and staging it properly, you can have fun with the rest.
Happy shooting and happy mail day!