2020 has been an unexpected year for everyone but most small businesses have been exceptionally brutalized. Incomes have shrunk significantly and so have marketing budgets. With the festive season here, and potential for sales to pick up. We are sharing tips for small businesses to photograph their products for advertising over the festive season. These should be decent enough pictures you can use for social media or your website. Also, this is to keep you going till you can be able to work with a professional product photographer.

(All images have been shot with the Samsung A30s and edited on Lightroom mobile. We will definitely up our mobile photography game 😉 )

Kenyan Originals Product Photography

Shot on the Samsung A30s, natural light

Let’s Talk Cameras Gear

What kind of camera do you have? Is it a phone or a point and shoot camera or do you have a DSLR and know how to work it? The important thing is to use what you have. If you are using a phone, have you checked whether it has manual features? This means you can adjust the ISO, the aperture, shutter speed or white balance.

ISO – This refers to the camera’s sensitivity to light

Aperture – This the opening in a camera/lens that lets light in and the image that has been captured. You can adjust to make it smaller and therefore make the image sharper or bigger and hence increase bokeh meaning the image becomes more blurred more so in the background.

Shutter speed –refers to how fast or slow the camera shutter opens to let light in to the digital sensor. The slower the shutter speed, the more blurred an image can be and the more the light that get in to the camera. The faster the shutter speed, the less the light that gets into the camera but the sharper the image. It’s a balance between how much light you want in and how sharp you need the image to be.

Please note with some phones, you can’t adjust these settings but the camera is still very usable.
The most important thing regardless of camera is how is the light interacting with your subject? What is the angle of the camera in relation to the subject? Is your subject in focus, this is especially important for product photography. Here are a few basic tutorials to get you on the right track.

KO Cans flatlay with a pedestalLighting

This is one of the key components in photography. Without light, how can you illuminate your subject? Light is used to paint the subject and highlight key parts of the composition. Composition simply refers to your set up and all the elements that you have brought together to tell your photography story.
Most small business owners don’t own artificial lights like flashes & strobes. So the best thing is to use the freely available light and that is natural light. You should look for a location to set up where there’s a big window or door and light that can come in properly. You may also use a sheers (curtain) that will soften the light falling on the subject.

The other thing about light is the direction from which it is hitting your subject. Are you backlighting (lighting from the back) i.e. placing your subject in front of the light. Side lighting (lighting from the side) i.e placing your subject next to the light etc. You will have to experiment by changing where you place your subject in relation to the light.

If the light hitting the subject is not adequate, you can introduce bounce cards to bounce more light into the darker areas. You can use white paper or cards to bounce light. Put it on the opposite side just make sure some light is hitting it so it can “bounce” back.

KO product shoot

You may also like: Lessons we have learnt from beverage photography

Composition

The most important thing to consider when setting up for a product shoot is that the product should be clearly seen even if you choose to include props. The product is the subject and therefore the hero in the whole shoot. Use all other elements be it props, lighting even the angle of the camera to accentuate the product. These elements shouldn’t compete with the product.

KO Cans -styled product photographyStyling

It may be best to style images that you will especially use for social media, such images may be useful for websites too. Styling will depend on your product, the story you want to convey and the qualities of the product. Remember styling is meant to bring out the best elements of the product and various elements should not overpower the product.

KO Cans flatlayEdit

If you have shot with your phone, you can use Snapseed or Lightroom to crop and edit the image. These apps are available on Google play store and should be available to iphone users as well. You can make adjustments on lighting of the image, color etc. If you are using a point and shoot or a DSLR and you want to edit your image but you don’t have the Adobe Photoshop, or Affinity, you can use any of these software shared by WiX!

Remember to save your images in the right formats and dimensions for the platforms you intend to use. For Facebook and Instagram, you can use the following dimensions: 1080*1080px (Square) or 1080*1350px (portrait) or 1080*608px (landscape). For websites, investigate further for your lay out.

KO Can product photography

Good photography takes a lot of work. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then you are about to. This article is meant to help you get decent enough images for you to market your business during the festive season. When you are able to, hire a professional product photographer who will take that headache from you so you can concentrate on other aspects of the business. If you need professional photography, contact us on 0726808182/0700543510 or email on hello@shotbyalama.co.ke

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