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In Product Photography for E-Commerce, designer Dane Howard shows how to take professional-looking photographs that showcase products and build buyers' trust. Using a practical approach, Dane covers objects from collectible coins to real estate, and the lessons can be applied to just about anything that can be sold online. When it comes time to capture images in the studio, Dane discusses how to select a camera and other equipment on any budget. He shares his favorite tips and tricks for getting the most out of camera angles, backgrounds, and scene lighting. He reviews image editing basics, such as cropping and retouching photographs, and explains how to take a presentation beyond a 360-degree view with the integration of rich media.
You know, shooting a coin can take you on a little bit of a journey across settings, backdrops and even lighting directions itself, but the good news you don't have to travel very far. Well, I shot this little guy a few moments ago and it's copper-colored. There's a couple of unique things about it. So let me just tell you a little bit about the journey I took to adjust some settings to get the shots I wanted. First of all, I put it on the light box. Second, I grabbed one of my diffusers. This allows me to set up a nice environment around the coin. Third, I grabbed my camera and I'll put in Macro mode.
Second, I'm shooting in manual. This thing allows me to adjust the shutter speed accordingly, as I'm shooting. I'm going to set that right on top of there. Next, I grab the lighting and this allows me to go in and adjust the type of location. Now, every coin is different, every coin has a little bit of relief on it. This allows that relief to play off the rim of the light here and I can shoot as I go, adjusting for shutter speed and everything in real time. Now I repeated that across different backgrounds and I did that about over about seven minutes, which was great, and it didn't take me very much time at all and each time I adjusted the camera and the lighting settings as I went.
Well let's take a look at some of the shots now. All right, now you can fire off a lot of shots really, really quickly in just a couple minutes. Let's talk about some of the ones along our journey to get to the one we liked. Now, this first one is on a flat piece of paper. You can tell that it's got the shadow up at the top. Where's the light source coming from? From the bottom. You can tell from the rim light on the bottom here. Well next, let's move the light a little bit to the left. Well, one of the things I start to noticing was that the detail is mostly on the front of the face and also as I'm adjusting for the different shutter speeds, I'm getting some color shifting, but one of the things that's really important is making sure that it matches the color of what I'm seeing.
This doesn't do it for me. Well, this is starting to achieve the lighting, which is great. You can see here that the lighting from the front is lit like a portrait, which is really wonderful. So, I'm starting to think to myself, "Light the coin like I would light the portrait." Now, but the colors are not quite there, so let's take a look at the black ones. Now this one's way off base. Doesn't even look like the same coin, does it? We go from here to here. It's all over the place. I think I remember the light accidentally hit up above, when shinning down. You can see what glare does to the coin.
This is not a gold coin, this is, like, way off base here. Again, the lighting from the back, a little bit too dark. Now, by adjusting just a few other things, you can see that I've fixed on some lighting on the right. I've got some nice detail in the hair and all of the pieces are starting to come together. Now I have a little bit of clean up work to do around the black. So, just remember to clean off all of your surfaces really, really well and this is something that you can start to hone in on, but not bad for about seven minutes worth of the work here. So, keep these things in mind.
Now remember, when you do the coins, the collector is going to really, really get you on two things. Is it accurately depicting the actual coin? Is the information all in place? and are you depicting the relief really, really well? Keep those things in mind and you should be just right.
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