This past Monday marked the third sold out class in the Maker Sessions series. Simple Product Photography focused on simple camera settings, styling, and creating a unique brand through photography.
Milwaukee based photographer Micheal Goelzer led the group through the very basics of manual photography. His advice for beginners was stop shooting in automatic. The very best way to learn how to best utilize the camera is to always shoot in manual and learn through trial and error. Some basic knowledge on how to get the photograph you desire lie in the F-stop or aperture setting.
The F-stop refers to how wide the opening of the lens will be therefore how much light will be let in. The lower the F-stop number the more light will be let in. These settings will determine the depth and crispness of the photograph. With a lower F-stop setting the photo will have a shallow depth of field. This setting will allow for the main subject should be enhanced by throwing other elements out of focus. Mike’s preferred method of shooting is outside, in natural light, on a overcast day. These conditions are the most ideal to create beautiful photographs that will be the easiest to work with.
Then he walked the class through editing a photograph in an editing program such as Lightroom and spoke about using the histogram to quickly see if your image was balanced. He then took us through editing a photograph to keep as much detail as possible, step by step.
The second speaker, Stephanie Chojnacki, then went on to discuss styling as a means to sell your product and build your brand. Stephanie, who has both experience in the corporate world as well as building her own business, shared her wealth of knowledge on why it is important to style your product.
Styling will help your customer decide how to use your product, what makes your product appealing, and ultimately why they should purchase your product. Some examples of specific styles are rustic, natural, clean, simple, vintage, or modern. She encouraged everyone to gather props that help support your style. These props show your taste and help to develop your aesthetic. If you have a more natural style gather items from nature that you can use to support your story such as driftwood or stone. If your look is modern collect items with clean lines. Setting your product up with these props will help to show your narrative. Use these items in photographing your product. This too will be trial and error.
Simple advice from Stephanie, “ If you are unsure if it (your styling) is too much, it probably is.”
In the process of taking your stylized photos create a shot list. First a studio shot. This is a simple photo of your product on a white background. Next the macro shot. This close up photo should show off the fine detail. Then a photo that shows the scale of your item. In the case of jewelry or clothing, how the item fits the body. And finally the lifestyle photo. This photograph shows off item in a stylized setting. This is a way to allow your customer to see the product in an ideal setting and gives the buyer an idea of how the product could fit into their own lifestyle.
Some quick tips from Stephanie. Be consistent. Your style may evolve but remain true to your core aesthetic. Natural light is always best. Less is more.
For information and inspiration check out our speakers!