Archive Monthly Archives: August 2017

Building Your Own DIY eCommerce Photography Studio For Cheap: Part 1

Achieving that highly sought after, prized photo studio look is the goal for pretty much any ecommerce. As you’re well aware, great product photography equals more sales, so constructing a studio is one of the most important things any ecommerce can do — especially if they’re starting out!

Where most make a mistake, though, is thinking that getting a polished studio look for their products is a complex endeavor that requires spending lots and lots of money.

That’s just flat out WRONG.

We at BBG know how surprisingly cheap building your own DIY photography studio can be. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to grab to get started. Then, we’ll follow this article up with how to put it all together. And lastly, we’ll end this series with tips on how to best take advantage of your brand-spanking new studio.

Without further adieu, let’s go!

What to buy

While the photography industry would love for you to think you need to buy the highest-end equipment to achieve the professional results you want, the truth is much simpler:

It’s possible to spend a fraction of the cost and yield similar results.

Like every hobby or profession, there’s an expensive to go about things and there’s the bootstrapped way. And while we at BBG absolutely understand the benefits professional equipment offer, going the DIY route will cost way less money and will only require a bit of ingenuity to make it all work.

But first, you’ll need a few things:

Camera

With the quality of point-and-shoots and smartphones these days, you can most likely get by with a camera you may already own.

That said, review whatever you already have lying around and determine if it produces the kind of quality you’d be satisfied with seeing on your ecommerce site.

If you decide to purchase something a little snazzier, go for an entry-level DSLR with manual exposure and aperture settings. While The WireCutter recommends the Nikon D3400 ($497) as the single best entry-level DSLR on the market right due to its higher capacity for professional work, something like a Canon Powershot SX530 (~$200-279) would work just as well if you’re just starting out — especially this high-value bundle that’s available!

SD Card

No matter which camera you go with, you’ll need more storage for all the beautiful photos you’ll be taking. For more bang for your buck, the $40 64GB Samsung Pro Plus is your best bet.

Tripod

For product photography, it’s absolutely imperative you get a tripod to reduce unseemly blurring. And while you can easily grab a very budget-friendly tripod for less than $20, try the $87 Slik Sprint Pro II Tripod if you’re looking for a better mix of quality and price that lasts much longer.

White Paper

A roll of white paper is necessary for a seamless background for your products, creating a sweep to reduce the amount of post-production work while giving the light you cast onto your products a better surface to bounce off. Something like Adorama’s Seamless Background Paper ($22) will do that trick!

Table

You’ll need a table to allow the white paper to fall over and display your product. Here, a folding table is your best bet for something lightweight and portable. Check places like your local hardware store or sites like eBay or Craigslist for cheap folding tables that will do that job. Or, you can spring for the $42 Cosco 42” Black Resin Top Folding Table instead!

Tape/Clamps

Using duct tape and/or clamps will be essential in securing what would otherwise be wayward white paper. The former is super easy to use, while clamps require no cleanup. Either works! Try your local hardware store for these two products or quickly search Amazon for a variety of choice!

A Large Window

No, we don’t mean buying a large window, but rather using the largest window in your home as a source of natural lighting. While it will need to be larger than the products you’re shooting, setting everything up in a workspace near the window it will eliminate the need of buying expensive lighting equipment — a pretty sizable investment in and of itself.

Keep in mind that a larger window will mean a more even, softer light, while a smaller window will equal less, more directional light. Make sure you think of this before buying everything above!

Next Up: How to put it all together

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that you know exactly what to grab, the next article will focus on exactly how to put it all together for the best effect!

After we’re done, you’ll have some consistently high-quality photos — the type we at BBG love to work on!

Start your free trial with Background Be Gone today!

A Handy Guide to Apparel Photography

By now, online shopping is as normal as going to the grocery store and can be done anywhere at anytime. As an ecommerce owner, though, that doesn’t mean you can rest easy and expect money to roll in!

On the contrary, 78% of online shoppers cite not being able to feel and touch products as the most undesirable aspect of the process. This poses a special challenge when it comes to clothing, making its presentation not only important, but vital to your success.

So since that’s the case, just how do you guarantee beautiful apparel photography for your ecommerce site? Follow our short guide and find out!

 

Prepare The Clothing

In a perfect world, clothing would arrive to your studio perfectly constructed and pressed. But, that isn’t the case, now is it? This means taking the steps necessary beforehand to examine each piece of clothing and remove unsightly tags, steam out unseemly wrinkles, and repair any damage it may have sustained during transit. If you wait until post-production to all this, the quality of your image will suffer drastically. Let’s try to avoid that!

 

The Importance of a Proper Studio Set-Up

Contrary to popular belief, a proper studio need not be extremely expensive. That said, if you can shell out a few more bucks for extra equipment, you’ll be a lot more versatile because of it. Regardless of what you do, here are the most important aspects to a decent studio setup:

  • Background Let the colors of your garments dazzle the eyes with a light background using white or grey paper readily available at any photography shop. Either tape this to a wall or floor for a low-cost installation or combine it with a c-stand for more maneuverability. Make sure your area is clean and you’re already well on your way!
  • Camera While this is obviously one of the key parts of your entire endeavour, it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank. Invest in a DSLR with basic manual settings, something like a Nikon D3300, or even use a smartphone! They are, after all, increasingly more powerful with every year that passes. What is necessary, though, is a tripod: it’ll eliminate shakes and allow yourself the freedom to do something else if need be.
  • Lighting Go for natural lighting if you can. Usually, that’s all you’ll need! If you don’t have access to large enough windows, invest in a lighting kit like this one for the kind of consistent lighting necessary for proper ecommerce apparel shots.

 

Garment Styling

While models are the preferred method in bringing your apparel to life, they’re also pretty expensive. It may be an unfortunate challenge, but nothing impossible to overcome. Instead, style your clothing on mannequins, a cheaper yet still very versatile option. We at BBG can even get rid of the mannequin for you in post-production if you’re concerned the mannequin might be too distracting!

 

Set Your Camera Accordingly!

There’s no use in shooting if all your camera settings are off. It’s absolutely imperative you know how to manipulate ISO, aperture, and white balance for the most professional looking photos every time!

  • ISO is defined as the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the number, the less sensitive a camera is to light and the finer the grain. So, use your tripod in combination with an ISO of 100-200 for the clearest apparel photographs.
  • Aperture controls the image sensor’s degree of exposure to light. The larger this number, the more aspects of the image will be in focus. As such, set it to larger than f/11 to allow everything be in full focus.
  • White Balance Every light source has different levels of warmth, creating different shades of color that blanket a scene. Because of this, adjusting your camera’s white balance for the specific type of light you have will prevent your apparel shots from being too blue, orange, or any other color for that matter!

 

It’s Not Over Until The Fat Lady Shoots

Now, it’s time to shoot. Don’t get too excited, though, but rather exercise patience and plan out your shots. The more, the better. Try different angles: in front, behind, at various angles, up close and person with details — you really can’t go wrong. The more images you come away with, the more options you have at better presenting the product in question, resulting in higher chances of actually selling it!

 

Post-Production Fun!

Beautifying all the dozens, if not hundreds, of photos in post-production can usually a slog that no one really wants to do. While it’s unavoidable, it can be tedious to devote so much attention and time to the process.

A Simple Ecommerce Photography Guide to Making Your Footwear Shine

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

From men’s athletic sneakers and sophisticated monk-strapped dress shoes to women’s flats, slip-ons, and high heels, stylish shoes have never been more in demand. As such, chances are pretty high your e-commerce deals with this lucrative product.

While it’s a fact that footwear can be a fruitful venture, it’s hard to see success if your presentation isn’t up to par, though.

Why?

Well, footwear is different from clothing since there isn’t (usually) a model to show it off. So, the key to better footwear sales is consistent imagery across your site. Master the art of taking footwear photography from different angles while keeping them proportional, and you’ll no doubt see increased interest — interest that will translate into more sales!

While it can be tricky achieving these results reliably, it doesn’t have to be. Below is a simple, easy-to-follow, step-by-step photography guide to getting consistent shots every time, courtesy of your friends at BBG!

Setup is essential

To set up, you’ll need two pieces of foamcore (preferably square/rectangular, with one bigger than the other) and pins.

The larger piece of foamcore will serve as a base. Use pins to keep it in place after you center it.

The second, smaller piece will be put on top of the larger. For now, we’ll have the smaller piece centered as well.

In addition, the camera you’re using should be on a tripod — but that probably goes without saying!

How the magic happens

Our basic setup is now ready: a set, stationary piece of large foamcore with a smaller, mobile piece on top.

Next, place your shoe on top and in the center of the smaller one and place two pins on each of its corners to ensure it stays still. Like this, you can take crisp profile images for each piece of footwear you have without worrying if anything is ever off.

After you’re done, determine your next angle and move the smaller piece of foamcore accordingly. When you’re satisfied, place pins on each of its corners to set it in place. Then, place the shoe on top and snap away!

Wash, rinse, and repeat for each angle and each shoe you need to take a picture of.  

Gotta get the lighting right

None of the above matters if your lighting is off, though. So let’s make sure every single photo is well-lit by following two simple steps:

  1. Place a light above and slightly in front of the shoe you have set up.
  2. To soften the harsh light, set up two bounce boards (boards designed to bounce light, hence their name) on both sides of the shoe.

The final result will redirect the light back to the shoe, create more contrast, and soften the harsher light. In short, guaranteeing awesome shots every time. When you’re done, send them on over to us to really get them to pop!