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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.
Dane Howard: Next, let's talk about inside of the house itself, living spaces. I have asked Mary to walk with us and talk to us about what she's seeing. Mary Pope-Handy: Okay. So I am looking at the living room and it's early in the morning. So, the lighting is not too strong in this room right now. So, it could be improved if the lighting were a little bit brighter. The room shows a little dark, because the colors are muted and there is only one window, one small window in the direction of the sun. As I look at the room, there is not very much I would change for actually photographing it. There are a couple of little distractions that I would remove.
I see a white coaster, which against the dark brown background kind of jumps out. So, I would hide that. I see a few cords for computers or electronic devices near the couch and on the desk. The mouse, I would probably remove those, and aside from fluffing the pillows, that's probably all I would do for this room. Mary gives us some great tips here. You can see already I have some actionable items to start to attack here. She's starting to see some things that may distract. Now when you stage any particular room, you can see that the lighting is very important.
Now in some cases, I can remember thinking, "Should the flash be on or should the flash be off?" Now again, you want to think about the natural light of what this room really is telling us right here, and if I move one step to the right, what I see as well. Now as you start to have the juxtaposition of these different types of images, think about what's going on right here with the light and I see a lot of great detail, compared to this one where it seems pretty dark. So, I really like the advice that she's giving us. Now let's think about this particular shot.
Look at how natural light is used. I'm standing right on the step, and I am looking through the foyer into the living room. This is a really nice shot that helps give an understanding of how this particular opening of this site is looking, and what is happening here in this home. If I take just three or four steps forward, I get a shot like this. What a great, inviting way to think about the living room. Now let's go over into the dining room itself and look back the other way. Look at how beautiful the light coming in to this living room begins to play out.
This is starting to be a really nice shot that we can work with. Now that we are standing in the dining room, let's talk a little bit about dining room shots themselves. I have asked Mary to walk us through some of the things she thinks about when photographing dining rooms. Mary Pope-Handy: Dining rooms are often kind of a clutter magnet, because people tend to take all of their nicest finery and put it in the hutch if there is one. So one of the first dangers about photographing a dining room I'd want to alert you to is if the hutch is going to show, make sure it's not overstuffed.
That's probably the one most normal problem that I see in dining room photography. The other thing is if your home is for sale and you want to take a picture of the dining room, you want to make sure it's just as uncluttered as can be, so the focus is really the space around the table. You want to show that there is room to entertain and have your family and friends in without feeling like they are going to bump into an awful lot of extra stuff. So if you're selling your home, make sure there's plenty of walk-around room so that the people looking at the home can really picture themselves there.
Now, when you take pictures of the dining room, another thing to worry about is extra clutter on surfaces other than the table. So my suggestion, generally, would be if you do have a low hutch, get it down to one or two items and if you have any other furniture in the room and in this case, there is a piano, I'd probably suggest for moving everything except one item, just so that you don't end up with people saying, "Oh, what's that on "that piece of furniture," because viewers of pictures are very, very easily distracted.
Lighting, of course, is extremely important. Always allow yourself the opportunity to come back at various times of the day rather than say it has to be done this one time, under these lighting circumstances. So if you can allow yourself, the permission to come back at various times with different kind of lighting conditions, that's a good idea. Dane Howard: Mary has got some great tips in photographing dining rooms. Now let's look at this last shot here and how all this is starting to come together. As we pull back from that original shot, you can see that we're looking from the dining room into the living room. The natural light is playing to our advantage, and we start to see all these things coming together.
I have some nice room between the chair and the back. I've removed a lot of the clutter and the light seems to be pouring in really beautifully. This is the type of shot that Mary was actually speaking about. Now, keep this in mind when shooting interiors on some of the most sought-after images themselves, the ones that really bring you in to sell your home.
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