Category Archives for Lighting

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!

Conquering the Challenge of White on White Photography

Three essential techniques will help you take on the challenge of creating white on white photography – applying the proper amount of back lighting, using a grey card, and increasing exposure.

The way in which you use lighting is the key to your success. In fact, your light source won’t be focused on the subject, it will be lighting the backdrop known as back lighting. Sufficient back lighting is needed to keep the white object from fusing with the white background. This can be achieved by using one light source along with white cards to bounce and reflect more light onto the image.

Place your object on a white surface. Next prop a white board behind the object. You can use up to 4 or 5 white boards to surround the subject. Upon shooting the image, the brightness of the light will be evenly dispersed by the box you created with the white boards. Moving the boards around gives you the ability to create your desired light and regulate the quality of your photos.

A grey card should be used to get an accurate exposure reading. A grey card is a piece of cardboard that is the same tone of grey that your camera meter is calibrated for. It allows you to adjust the white balance yourself. Place the grey card in the area where the subject will be shot, grey side facing the camera. Look through the viewfinder focusing only on the grey card and take the reading off that. Dial in the reading on your camera and you are ready to shoot.

Trying to photograph something white on a white background is viewed by the camera as average brightness. Increasing exposure settings on the camera can help. Since you can’t rely on your camera’s screen to assess exposure and you can’t use auto modes, your camera has an exposure compensation manual mode. You can set your exposure in manual mode by zooming in on the white. Setting it 2 stops brighter than average will make it look white yet not be over exposed. Also, putting your camera on a tripod, positioning it on Av mode, and setting the aperture to f/3.2 will make your image brighter than average without being over exposed.

While creating white on white photographs is known to be very challenging, once mastered the results can be spectacular.