A friend of mine is starting her own line of jewelry. At this point she’s only showing photos of her work on her phone, but her snapshots got me to thinking: how hard would it be for a novice to make passable almost-pro product shots using only a cell phone and household items?
The answer is: not hard at all!
It just takes a little ingenuity and a little sensitivity as to what light can do for your subject. (Note: all photos were shot with my iPhone 5. There’s an old photojournalism saying: the best camera is the one you have with you. Shoot with whatever you’re most comfortable with. If you’re like most folks, you have a phone in your pocket that you shoot with all the time.)
Here’s a snap of a pair of my wife’s earrings:
Nothing horribly wrong with that!
How can we get closer to show some detail and eliminate the wood grain (we’re trying to showcase the earrings themselves here, not so much the quote-unquote atmosphere…in this case, the Ikea faux pine tabletop. I’ll leave that kind of shoot for another time).
Something like this might be better:
Just a simple shot onto the black cover we have on our desktop, with light supplied by an Ikea high intensity light fixture (and no, this is not a paid product placement!).
Now look at this one:
How’d we get to this one? With a few pens, packing tape, and a sheet of paper:
In the photo world, the piece of paper is called a seamless or a scrim. It’s also called an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. I also used a second sheet of paper to bounce a little light onto the right side.
Oh and see the roll of tape on the left? That’s also the tripod: hand-holding your camera while taking product shots is a one-way ticket to blurryville.
Here are a few more views of it:
Is it sturdy? No!
Is it elegant? No!
Is it expensive? No!
I just wanted to show how easy it is to make your product shots stand out just a little bit. Naturally, when you get your line of jewelry into Saks Fifth Avenue, you can spring for a professional to shoot your items to really make them stand out.