Let me start by saying that I do not know it all, but I know photography. With over 15 years of experience photographing many different subjects, I am happiest when photographing food and products. I teach food photography as well as do workshops for beginner photographers.
I am a Pexels.com image contributor and worked with these clients over the years:
- Woodlands Dairy
- Addo 4 x 4 Adventures
- Nelson Mandela Bay Housing Conference
- Mills Culinary Academy
- Blue Media Edit.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
I know, who needs to plan, it just kills my spontaneous creative side?!
Just do it. Even if it’s on the same day, plan. Make a list if you must, but get your products together, find backdrops, backgrounds, places to photograph. Plan the time of day, block it off on your schedule. This tip is going to help you not only be ready to photograph, but it will build a habit into your process that one day will pay off when you work with big brands.
Camera or Phone?
It really doesn’t matter if you use your phone in the beginning, to practice and get started. Smart phones these days are very well equipped to take beautiful photos that are a decent size, and you shouldn’t stress about forking out thousands for a proper camera just yet.
If you are a little further down the line in terms of followers and brand recognition, then, yes, fork out the money and buy a decent camera, mirrorless is great new technology these day, compact and easy to carry around. I use my phone, mostly, for Instagram stuff, and my SLR for my professional work and any paid brand work that I do.
What time of day should I photograph in?
Shoot in the DAYTIME, in winter it will mean between 08h30 – 15h00 in summer you can shoot from 06h30 – 18h00. Find a room that has a window, preferably a big window, not in direct sunlight, a room that has a lot of light in is bright and light. This is where you want to shoot. In front of a window.
Please, don’t use flash. Ever.
It kills the light, makes it flat and makes your product look horrible. If you MUST shoot at night with your phone, then try and bring a lamp right next to where you’re shooting or two lamps even, but please don’t use flash. Nothing says “I have no clue” to a brand like using a cell phone flash to photograph their product at night.
There are some wonderful products out there that don’t cost a fortune for bloggers to use as backdrops.
- Coloured cardboard
- Sample Floor tiles
- Flat lay boards (if you have some money to spend)
Some surfaces I wouldn’t recommend.
- Your rental home kitchen counter (yuck)
- A gross dirty bathroom floor – clean it first
- Anything that reflects – you’ll see yourself in it and that just looks bad.
Always check your background, keep it clean, uncluttered and neutral to certain degree. The rule applies to selfie taking too.
In your car is private, but you’re wearing a seat belt and there’s usually a road sign or a garage door or pedestrians in the background. This type of shot goes onto stories, not your feed. The only types of photos that should be going onto your Instagram/FB feed or your blog site are good ones.
Things to watch out for
Make sure when you’re photographing just the product on it’s own you’ve turned off the “selfie filter” on your phone – the vaseline filter 😉
To take a photo that doesn’t need cropping, take a look at what else in the photo with your product and your layout, is your finger in the way? Is there something brightly coloured in the background that needs to be moved?
If you are using your hands in the photo, please, please, make sure your nails are clean, your nail polish isn’t chipped or hire a hand model. The half chipped nail polish is not very attractive, especially when a brand has asked you to promote their product.
Bloggers, it’s about good impressions.