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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.
Now obviously, you're going to need a digital camera for e-commerce photography, and chances are, you already have one. But maybe you're thinking about upgrading or maybe you aren't sure what features are important for product photography. Let's focus on those features now. There are two basic kinds of cameras, point-and-shoot and digital SLR. Point-and-shoot cameras are less expensive and they are great for a lot of e-commerce photography. There are a lot of differences between point-and-shoot cameras and digital SLRs, but the biggest difference is the lens.
A point-and-shoot camera has one lens and you can't change it. With a digital SLR, you can buy separate lenses like a telephoto lens or a macro lens or taking distant shots, all of these things are really important for closeups in getting close to your product photography. One thing you don't really have to pay much attention to is megapixels, how much resolution your camera has. Your photos are going to end up on the web where the resolution is really low. So, any current camera on the market today will have plenty of resolution for you.
So, what features should you pay attention to? Well, you're going to be photographing small things. A macro is really important. It lets you get nice and close up to what you're shooting. We'll do this little bit later on, but we'll ask you to take some closeups of some coins and some other small objects. Most point-and-shoot cameras have a built-in macro feature. To turn it on, you just press the button that has the flower icon on it. Now the interface will give you some visual feedback and it'll show that icon on the screen itself.
This lets you know that you're shooting macro. Now if you're shooting big things like cars or furniture, a zoom lens can be a big help. By zooming in or out, you can frame your shot without actually having to move around a lot. All point-and-shoot cameras have a zoom capability and you can buy them for a digital SLR too. Now, here's a tip. Most point-and-shoot cameras have two kinds of zoom: optical and digital. Generally, you want to avoid digital zooming. It doesn't give you very sharp results. For the sharpest image, always use optical zooming.
Now, if you're buying a new camera, look at the optical zoom ratio. That indicates wide and how close the zoom lets you get. Now, for example, a 6:1 ratio gives you more range between wide angle and telephoto than a 3:1 ratio. No matter what kind of camera you buy, you might want to attach a tripod so that it's really easy to have a nice steady and consistent framing from shot to shot. Just about every camera has a tripod socket on the bottom, but make sure. I'll show you some examples of some cool tripods later on in this course.
So, those are some basic things to look for and compare when you're picking a camera. Here are few tips that will help you get a better quality no matter what kind of camera you have and no matter what kind of products you're photographing. Tip number one, turn off your camera's flash. The lighting from a built-in flash is harsh looking and you can't control things like shadows and reflections, besides, I'm going to show you much better ways to get great lighting in your product photography. On most point-and-shoot cameras, you can turn off the flash by pressing a button that has a lightning bolt on it.
You'll know that it's off, because there's usually a slash through the lightning bolt itself. Tip number two, learn how to adjust your camera's white balance. This is setting that lets you adjust the colors in your cameras to make sure the photos are accurate. That's really important when you're photographing products that you want to sell online. Now depending on the lighting you use, you might not have to change your white balance. But if your colors look wrong, it's probably because your white balance setting doesn't quite match the lighting you're using. So, check your camera's manual and read up on adjusting the white balance.
It isn't hard to do and it can make a big difference. Finally, tip number three. You should learn how to adjust your camera's ISO setting. This controls the camera's light sensitivity and that gives you a lot of control over your exposures. With a high ISO setting, like 800 or 1000, you can take shots in really dim light, but there's a trade-off. The photos may look a bit grainy or noisy. On the other hand, with a low ISO setting like a 100 or 200, you get maximum sharpness from your camera.
These low settings are ones to use when you've got a nice, bright light, sunshine, or diffused light and of course, you're using a tripod. Okay, so how do you adjust the ISO? Well, it depends on the camera. Higher-end cameras give you a dial that allows you to make it really convenient. On other cameras, you might have to go into a menu and make the adjustment manually. Either way, it isn't hard and adjusting the ISO is a great way to match the brightness of the light compared to the work you have.
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