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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, there will come a time when you have to shoot a product that's larger than the environment that you can control. So far, we've been talking about things you can easily put in photo tent. You can light them but what happens if you've to shoot a large piece of furniture, or a bike, or maybe even a car? Well, shooting larger stuff is and can be kind of tricky if you want to do it practically. Now, start with this shot. This was shot in a really nice studio. I got this out of the Electra Bike catalog. It's lovely, but this type of shot will be really hard to reproduce. Instead, I got on my bike and drove around the neighborhood a little bit and replicated a shot that was more lifestyle, more something that I could be happy with.
So, I found an alley on a like non- sunny day and so there's no direct sunlight. So, the diffused light is ingredient number one. Secondly, I shot it in such a way that I could play out my own style, so I don't have a lot of bikes to shoot but if I did, I found a nice location. Now the details that matter here, I brought with me just one camera body and one lens. The lens I chose was the 50 mm 1.4. Now remember, that's a wide-open lens, so I know that I can get some really nice selective focus.
Well, I know they shoot bikes like this because I was looking through the catalog. Well, secondly, I just started walking around the bike and I started shooting it. Now, with furniture, with cars, all this is going to be the same, I am starting to put the bike in context a little bit. I wasn't so happy with this first shot. Not only not a very becoming shot of the seat but you know, there's not of that great selective focus, so I kept shooting. I came across something like this. I like this much better. Notice how it shows off all of the contrast stitching, puts the emphasis directly on the seat itself. Now I've got my detail shot.
Next, the handlebars. There is some really nice details on the handlebars itself, but this doesn't necessarily do it for me. Instead, I just kept shooting. I opened up the aperture really wide and I've got exactly what I want, much more of a selective focus and now I have the detail and I am putting the eye exactly where I want them to. Next is the handlebars. As I walked around, I was trying to think about really creative way to shooting the handlebars. This bike is really comfortable to ride. So I want to show that. I want to show how bent the handlebars are and this is a really lovely shot.
I can shoot over the seat and in the background, I see some of the fence, some of the urban environment. Well, that's part of my style. All these shots were shot at the same time in a consistent lighting, so they are all going to go together. Next, let's talk a little bit about shooting something bigger like a car. Now shooting a car is sometimes pretty difficult. Here's a couple of shots of the Infiniti G35. Now as we go into this, look at some of the interior shots, look at the details. This was shot in direct sunlight. Look at how this video was used to actually show how light enters the cabin.
What a really nice detail. An important aspect of this particular make and model is the keyless start. Notice how the video shows that really lovely. Now there's all the details that you can imagine. This is a high priced item and if you're selling something like on eBay Motors, they're going to require that you have 20, 25 shots. So, use this to the benefit of actually describing the vehicle on a really lovely way. Notice on the trunk shot, how you can actually go impressive, look at how they did that. With the key in your pocket, you can actually open up the trunk.
All these provide really lovely, little details that matter about the car and one of my favorite shots here is actually the voice over of the owner in the rear view mirror. Such a great use of the medium. You know, sometimes you get a shot back and you're just not happy with it. Like this shot in particular, the backdrop is just totally competing with the car itself. Well, instead of having to re- shoot, that's not very practical. Instead, I took it into Photoshop and I visually traced the object itself. Now I'm not suggesting that you go in and Photoshop your images because that wouldn't be very trustworthy if you are starting to affect the actual product, but you can go in and visually push out a background or make an object pop.
That's perfectly within reason. In this case, I ended up on a couple of different variations and settled on this one, because I felt just by removing those leaves and pushing the backdrop a little bit out, it allowed the product to pop a little bit and this was the most practical thing, and this is really what it's all about. The ability for you to use the tools that you have, whether they are in your bag or in your skills like Photoshop so that you can make your products get better visibility and get higher value for something like this.
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