Photography

Product Photography for Bloggers

product-photography-tips-for-bloggers

product-photography-tips-for-bloggers

Tips for product photography

Photography is probably one of my favorite categories here on Thirteen Thoughts, for two reasons. I really enjoy working on these posts and you guys seem to really like to read them, since it’s the most popular category on my blog.

Today I’ll talk about a few tips for sprucing up your product shots. I’m sharing a few things that have worked for me, but that doesn’t necessarily that they will work for you, so keep that in mind. Everyone has their original style when it comes to product photography and I am absolutely not saying that my way is the right way, but I constantly get questions about my photography, so I’m just giving the people what they want :) .

If you want to learn about Photography and DSLR basics (such as how to work with manual settings and how they can improve your photography) make sure to check out this post.

USE SMALL PROPS

Ever since I’ve started blogging, my “hoarding” went to a whole other level. I love collecting all sorts of trays, trinket and jewelry dishes, pretty candle jars, magazines, fashion books, fabrics, etc. I love using all those things to “style” or “dress up” my product shots. One of my favorite places to shop for all sorts of knick-knacks has got to be Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Michael’s Arts & Crafts stores. You can really find some cute stuff there and it won’t cost you a fortune. “Styling” your photos may be a little more time consuming, but it can be really fun and it can also help your photos stand out.

beauty-blog-photography

beauty-blog-photography

Lorac-Pro-Matte-Palette-Review

lifestyle blogs to follow

no-texture

Plain product.

blogging-photography-tips

“Styled” product; here I used a magazine, a candle, some jewelry and a trinket dish to “dress up” my image. 

TRY DIFFERENT ANGLES

I usually like to take my photos from “above” in “flatlay” style, but I also like to mix it up a bit and try shooting from different angles. That way, I can play around with depth of field and make my images look more interesting.

photography-tips-blogging

different-angle

best face masks for acne prone skin

UTILIZE DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS

Changing up your background from time to time can also add some original style to your photography. Of course, I don’t think that this is something that everyone should do- it’s just something that I think has worked really well for me. When it comes to your blog and your photos, I think the most important thing is to make sure that you like them; whether it’s taking your pictures on plain, or colorful and “texturized” surfaces. You can find more ideas for backgrounds right here.

blog-photos

Another cool way to add some texture to your photos is mixing some fabrics (here I used a rug and colorful shirt :) ). 

beauty and lifestyle blogMarble and a rug used to create texture. 

blog-photographyUsing a colorful magazine page as a background.

Kevin Aucoin contour duoUsing a black-and-white catalog as a background.

KEEP IN MIND THAT WHITE IS DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH

When I first started learning about photography, I was OBSESSED with getting that perfect, shadow-free white background. I can’t tell you how many tutorials I’ve watched, how many articles I’ve read, how many hours I’ve spend editing my pictures and how much money I’ve invested in all sort of equipment, before I finally realized that white is just freaking difficult to work with (especially when you don’t have a well-lit area to work with). When editing your images in order to try make white look as bright as possible, you can sometimes mess up true colors of products you’re shooting and that is far from an ideal scenario- especially when it comes to beauty blogging when you want to show your readers colored products like makeup, etc. I still like incorporating white into my images, since it helps to make them look brighter and softer, but I find that using different colors and/or backgrounds can work even better. Another thing that I’ve discovered during last couple of months, is that material such as cotton, photographs a lot better than white paper or card board; it’s much softer and it bounces off the light really nicely. In these photos I used a plain, white T-shirt as my “background”:

lifestyle blogs

Garnier clean nourishing cleansing oil

Here are examples of white, blue and marble:

whitWhite paper.blue

Colored paper (I used blue here, but I think light pink works much better)
marbleWhite marble.
tips for productivity

White: doesn’t work that well, throws off White Balance and creates different background tones throughout the image. Tips-for-productivityWhite marble– works a lot better, looks more even and minimizes shadows.

USE MANUAL FOCUS

Don’t assume that your camera will always get it right when using Auto Focus. Of course, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to using auto and manual focus, but in certain situations, using manual focus will work a lot better. Using manual focus works great when shooting macro photography or in low-light situations. I noticed that it also comes in handy when taking pictures of really small objects (like eyeliners or mascara wands). Sometimes AF mode can get confused and not know what to focus on- that’s when I always switch to manual focus.

auto v. manual

Top: Auto Focus, bottom: Manual Focus. 

EVEN LIGHT

I don’t know where I’d be without my reflector. There is only one area in my house that is bright enough for taking photos, but even there, my only source of light is huge glass door that leads to my backyard. Since my light source is coming only from one side, I use a reflector and/or big white card board to bounce off the light and make it more even so that the shadows are minimized.

uneven-light

This is taken on white paper, without the reflector.

even-light

White paper with a reflector.

photography-tips-for-bloggers

My products are facing the glass door (my only light source) and my silver reflector is placed on the side to bounce off the light and minimize any shadows.



AVOID CAMERA SHAKE

In order to avoid camera shake, I try to use a tripod and a shutter release cable as often as I can, but sometimes, using a bulky tripod is out of the question. This can be a problem especially when you’re working in a small space. When I hand-held my DSLR while taking pictures, first thing I always make sure to do is to set my shutter speed accordingly to avoid blurry images. One simple rule to follow when doing this is to set your shutter speed to 1 over your focal length. So, for example, when using my 50mm lens, I make sure that my shutter speed is at least 1/50th of a second, when using a 40mm lens, I never go lower than 1/40th of a second and so forth. Second thing I make sure I do when not using a tripod, is to hold my camera as stable as possible (resting my elbows on flat surface, wrapping my neck strap very tightly around my wrist, etc). This article demonstrates a few great techniques for doing this.

unsharp1/40th of a secondhow-to-take-sharp-photos1/100th of a second (notice that the image is more sharp and crisp)

fall-2015-lipsticks

1/160th of a second

This is it for today, hope you found some of these tips useful. Do you have any ideas or tricks that you’d like to share?

 

Product photography tips for bloggers

103 Comments

  • Reply
    Biana Perez
    September 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Can you come and take all my product photos!! Absolutely adore this post – your photos are always amazing! xo, BIana –BlovedBoston

  • Reply
    Dagmara Klich
    September 28, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Your photos are always beautiful! And I love your photos related posts, they’re very helpful! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  • Reply
    Tania Jayne
    September 28, 2015 at 10:19 am

    This was such a helpful post! I love your photographs & am always looking to improve my own. I really want to invest in a reflector, particularly as we’re gong into Autumn & Winter. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  • Reply
    Jodie Vernon
    September 28, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Thank you for this post I’ve learnt so much! Your photos always look amazing so I definitely need to use your tips!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  • Reply
    Ashley Elizabeth
    September 28, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I learned so much from reading this, thank you for sharing!

    http://www.ashleyelizabethbeauty.com

  • Reply
    Macha
    September 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

    That was a great read. I think I unconsciously realised that cotton was better than paper as I switched from a big sheet of paper to a throw ^^

    But I learned a lot of things reading your post and all your pictures are so damn gorgeous that it’s almost annoying ;)

    Thanks a lot !!!

    Feathers and Brushes | Swiss | Beauty & Lifestyle

  • Reply
    Sarah
    September 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    This was super helpful, thanks!

    Sarah
    Sweet Spontaneity

  • Reply
    Danielle Beautyblog
    September 28, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    This was so helpful! My photography skills are embarrassing so I definitely need some tips! I also now want a reflector!

    Danielle’s Beauty Blog

  • Reply
    Chaste and Beautiful
    September 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    A very helpful and interesting post, and yes, white backgrounds are very hard to work with but still they make the pictures look professional.

    Chaste &
    Beautiful

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      September 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks! They definitely do, but you do need to have a perfect set-up, otherwise it will look grayish and off-white.

  • Reply
    Krystal // The Krystal Diaries
    September 28, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    These are great tips and so helpful. I’m not the greatest at taking pictures for my blog but I am trying to get better at it.

  • Reply
    Priyanka Shinde
    September 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    You explained it all Paula! So helpful

    http://www.petalsofbeauty.com/

  • Reply
    Marie
    September 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    great post ! lots of good tips that I am sure I will use in the near future. Thanks for sharing :)

    http://allornothing-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Liz | Lipstick & Confetti
    September 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Your photos are beautiful, thank you for sharing your tricks with us!

    xo, Liz

    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

  • Reply
    Priyanka
    September 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    You explained it all Paula! So helpful :)

  • Reply
    Priyanka
    September 28, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    You explained it all Paula! So helpful :)

    http://www.petalsofbeauty.com/

  • Reply
    Samantha Gong
    September 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Great tips! I always forget to use props – I’m definitely bookmarking this post for later.

    http://mybeautycloud.com/

  • Reply
    Zoe Mountford
    September 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    This post is amazing, so helpful and you photos are beautiful! I wish I could take photos like this thank you for your tips x

    Zoe Mountford x

  • Reply
    Sam
    September 28, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve been working on improving my photography A LOT lately and this is just so super helpful. You’ve put together some great tips :) xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

  • Reply
    Lita
    September 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    this is super helpful, thanks so much! all the photos are incredible! xx Lita

    http://www.myfancynotebook.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Mikéla Davelyn
    September 28, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my goodness! So glad I’m not the only one that thinks white is hard! I mean I can do it, but the lighting has to be perfect and it just takes too much time and effort.

    And yes, props are a must! Great post girly :)

    xo, mikéla / simplydavelyn.com

  • Reply
    racheldinh
    September 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Great tips, love your flat lays. These photos are beautiful.

    http://www.racheldinh.com

  • Reply
    steff @ brighterdarling.com
    September 29, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Shining some light on the popular white background conundrum was so helpful! I think I need to play with some other backgrounds to appreciate my camera more, haha. Also, I didn’t know about the shutter speed/lens relationship. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Nereyda Gonzalez
    September 29, 2015 at 2:05 am

    You should know that I am bookmarking the hell out of this post :)

    I love your pictures, I think you have some of the prettiest pictures out there so I’m taking note of your tips.

    I don’t have a fancy camera… yet but I love the tips for the different angles and props and stuff. Thanks for sharing Paula!

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

  • Reply
    BubblyColor
    September 29, 2015 at 2:57 am

    I love your photography!

    http://www.bubblycolor.com/

  • Reply
    Chelsey A. Thornton
    September 29, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Awesome awesome post! Will deff be utilizing these to up my gam.

    http://www.chelseythornton.com

  • Reply
    Rachel
    September 29, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Definitely learnt some tips from this! Mostly that I need a reflector ASAP.

    Rachel | http://www.currentlyrachel.com

  • Reply
    Lauren B
    September 29, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Great tips, I’ve just bought a DSLR so these tips are very useful! I love your photos <3

    http://laurenslittleblogs.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Reply
    Sara Fleming
    September 29, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Great tips, I’ll definitely take them on board!

    Sara – She Who Is Short

  • Reply
    The Sunday Mode
    September 29, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Wow really in depth tips, I’m definitely bookmarking this post to read again in future!

    http://www.thesundaymode@blogspot.com.au

  • Reply
    Manique
    September 29, 2015 at 9:26 am

    I love this post! It was really helpful, thanks.
    XX Manique

    http://www.poshmodeave.com/

  • Reply
    Bek
    September 29, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Amazing tips, thank you! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! xx

    bekshaxo

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Great post!!!

    Thank you.

    I need to save up for a DSLR

  • Reply
    Jasmine Talks Beauty
    September 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Your photos always look lovely so I’ll be giving these a go for sure :) I really want to start mixing up my angles more as I feel like my photos are starting to get samey and boring! xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty | High-End Palette Giveaway

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      September 30, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Aww thanks Jasmine, your photos are so stunning, but I know what you mean, I feel the same way about my pictures sometimes too, that’s why I like to mix it up a bit sometimes :)

  • Reply
    annie lee
    September 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    that reflector tip is amazing – i should totally get myself one! thanks for sharing these love!

    theleeday.com

  • Reply
    Shay Bella
    September 29, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    These tips just might save my life. Haha. Thanks for the post, Paula!!! You’re Queen of Product Photography.

    http://www.rosycheeks.org

  • Reply
    Sadie
    September 30, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Great tips! I’ve just recently started to do more product posts and it’s something I want to try doing more regularly too so this is really helpful. I love how you style your photos and I love the marble background :) xx

    eat-sleep-breathe-fashion.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    Damla Tüzün
    September 30, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing your tips x

    http://www.damlatuzun.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Little Miss Katy
    September 30, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Ohmygosh this is so helpful!!! I love the tip about setting the shutter speed above the lens measurement, and I think I’m going to have to invest in a reflector. I’ve started using different scarves and blankets as backgrounds recently and I’m loving the effect.

    Fab post basically! :)

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply
    Jodie Caughey
    September 30, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Love this Paula. So helpful and I will be re-reading this several times to get my photography spot on. Your photography is beautiful. I need a marble sheet ASAP! #goals
    xo, Jodie

    http://www.jodiecaughey.com

  • Reply
    Kat
    September 30, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I have read all of your photography posts, they are so incredibly helpful! I got the idea of shooting on an Ikea table top from you too, that’s how I take all my photos now (:
    One thing I’ve noticed sometimes is the white balance is a bit off and I’ve spent ages having to correct it in Photoshop. I’m curious to know do you set a custom white balance? x

    Kat | Peachy Pink Gloss

  • Reply
    Rachel
    October 1, 2015 at 12:55 am

    These are such great tips! Yes! getting a shadow free white background is so difficult!! Cant wait to incorporate these tips into my pictures!

    Rachel x
    thehappybits.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Hollie
    October 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for the tips! I’m always looking for ways to improve my photos so I’ll definitely be using some of these ideas, especially using the small props.

    Hollie | hollieshighlights.blogspot.co.uk

  • Reply
    jenna cantillion
    October 1, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Seriously your tips are always so amazing! One of my favourite blogs to read.

    Jenna | Beauty And The Style

  • Reply
    SavBanav
    October 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Wow!! Your tips are so great and your photography is absolutely stunning! This was so helpful. I just recently discovered Thirteen Thoughts and it’s now one of my very favorite blogs- I’m so glad I found it!!

    Savannah
    savbanav.wordpress.com

  • Reply
    Tanvi Mutneja
    November 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Great blog! I came across your blog while searching ideas for mine…your photography, posts everything is so beautifully managed…Loved it! Inspired..:)

  • Reply
    Brita Long
    January 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    These tips are so helpful! My husband takes my photos, but I should look into some props and backgrounds to assist him.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    February 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you so much for your insightful posts. I just got a DSLR camera and my boyfriend and I have been trying to figure it out. I started a blog for fun but we’ve both had such trouble learning how to use the camera. I plan on shooting some make-up this weekend so thank you so much for this!

    xx
    http://www.somethingjessica.com

  • Reply
    Abi Bailey
    February 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Paula, such a fab post! Lots of inspiring ideas and your photography is incredible. I was just wondering where you get all your little trinket dishes from? They’re lovely. Thank you!

    Abibailey.co.uk

    • Reply
      Paula @ thirteenthoughts.com
      February 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks Abi! I get them from few places, the white and pink one is from Victoria’s Secret, the clear ones are from Zara Home, the spade and the blue one is from Lulu & Georgia. I get them from all over the place, really haha ;)

      • Reply
        Abi Bailey
        February 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        Haha excellent, I’ll have to keep an eye out! Thanks for the reply :)

  • Reply
    Brie Watson
    August 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I come back to this post every time I feel overwhelmed with product photos for my blog and it never fails to give me the inspiration I need to take great photos! Thank you for writing this.

  • Reply
    Abel V. Riojas
    December 6, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    i love how clean all the images are. #respect

  • Reply
    annie
    April 7, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    That’s a great article to read. Thirteen thoughts is always been so helpful to me. I loved your ideas, and some are really nice. The pictures are great indeed. Thanks for writing and helping.

  • Reply
    Zubida
    September 3, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Liked your all the tips and techniques that are really useful. Yes, I agree with that, working with white background takes a little more effort. I will be pleased if you tell all details about how to take white background photography without shadow and how to make it brighter.

  • Reply
    Marco Joe Fazio
    September 26, 2019 at 5:02 am

    Thanks for sharing great tips. I agree with your background changing point. I really enjoyed your blog. And the pictures are perfect & stylish.

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