Product Photography in our kitchen We have been spending our Sunday mornings hosting Instagram and Facebook LIVE from our studio. On May 24, 2020, we took everyone behind the scenes to watch how we create our photos for our Etsy shop. LINK HERE–> Correction: we use compact flourescents, not LEDs as mentioned in that video. Resources: Overall plus camera settingsI love this bang on post about product photography from Shopify. It covers lighting if you don’t have lights, using reflectors, images to capture, and camera settings like ISO, F-stop, and white balance. I reset my white balance before every session which greatly reduces my time needed in post-processing in Photoshop. I do need to crop and resize photos for Etsy after each session and I do not want to do any other editing because it takes TIME and that’s not something we have enough of, so I try to get the photos right the first time. Resources for Light Boxes:The Camera Store – In this time where small local businesses are suffering, I really encourage you to look at your local brick and mortar camera shops for light boxes. In Calgary, we have the Camera Store, and they have many models. The one closest to the one we demoed is the 60cm x 60cm. They also have a 100cmx100cm and 150cm x 150cm for larger projects Amazon – if you can’t find anything local, this is a good option. Or… make your own lightbox with instructions from a post we wrote quite some time ago: We hope you enjoyed the video! If you have any questions, drop us a line at cara at chasingfirestudio dot com or through Instagram.com/chasingfirestudio
Our dining area didn’t have any art on the wall for seven years. We are artists, the children and grandchildren of artists, yet those walls stayed bare. We couldn’t decide on just one piece, or a few grouped together, to place on the only remaining wall space that we had, so that wall remained empty. In this, our eighth year in our home, Jay found a solution. He installed a rail shelf as our own gallery space, and we can now rotate our art pieces that have spent too much time stored away. This photo of art on our rail is an acrylic original by Marylin Carter of Carlyle, Saskatchewan. It is the first artwork that I carried with me on my journey through cities, roles, and homes. It will now, with me, greet the brown landscape of early Alberta spring.
The vast majority of items that I create are sold online, and for that to be a successful venture, my photos have to be eye catching, colour-true, and show every angle for the remote customer. It is incredibly challenging to attempt to capture every angle in 5 photos to give that potential customer enough information so that they’ll be compelled to press the “Add to Cart” button. Each listing has a description however, the photos that display in searches are what will bring a person into the listing, into my shop, and into my “Sold” listing. I started taking product photos (the fancy term for “pictures of my buttons”) while crouching in the garden. When winter hit, and this is Alberta Canada where -20C (-4 F) is the standard, garden photos were difficult because my hands kept freezing. I started procrastinating about photographing my items, my shop started to empty because I wasn’t adding new items and… it was time to research another photography solution. My home is surprisingly lacking in natural light, something I’d never noticed until I had my camera out in an attempt to take these photos inside. As I balanced myself on the only window sill that had the right light, buttons falling everywhere as the precarious setup I was attempting fell over, I decided there had to be another solution. To be honest, I swore quite a bit while crawling about searching for the strewn buttons that had fallen off the box that had been balanced on the back of my couch. THEN I sat back and knew I had to find another way. There was: a light box. These boxes reflect light within, reduce glare, and make for a repeatable set of conditions for taking photos of smaller items. Since researching light boxes, or light tents, I’ve learned about light temperatures, background staging, reflection, and consistency. If someone shows up in the Etsy shop and all of my photos appear slightly different, I’d imagine confidence drops that the photos aren’t really an accurate reflection of the item up for sale. With that in mind, my goal was to 1) make every photo consistent, 2) make every photo true to the item, 3) reduce or eliminate the time I am spending in Photoshop to modify the photos so that they fit goals #1 & #2. With a very limited knowledge of my manual settings on my camera, I set out to learn about using a light box, and how to use my camera to get the best results. My lightbox isn’t anything stellar or spectacular. I used these instructions to build my own DIY lightbox, which recommend a cardboard box, a couple of meters of white cloth, an exacto knife, tape, glue stick, and a large sheet of white bristle board. I’m crafty (I make tiny buttons out of clay!) and it was an easy and inexpensive build. I then added three inexpensive floodlights with 6500K bulbs. The entire setup was so easy to create that I kick myself for not doing it sooner. I set the box up, lights on, used the white bristol board to set the white balance on my camera, and VOILA! Beautiful, true photos of my tiny little buttons that require NO EDITING. No editing means I take photos and upload them without having to spend extra time (aka labour) to edit each photo for colour/brightness. With this, my profit margin moves up a smidge and I don’t have to increase prices. Ode to my lightbox, a saving grace for me.