A few years ago, I changed my focus in photography to be focused on commercial and product based images. I began talking to small businesses and shops (because I was definitely not qualified to photograph for larger companies at that time) and one of the things that I kept realizing over and over again was that..
Small businesses that are continually getting new inventory in had one of two reasons for not hiring me.
- They couldn't afford to pay a photographer at all since they were a smaller shop and had people in house taking "decent enough" photos of their clothes.
- They had new inventory coming in a couple times a week and it would be too much trouble to have to get a photographer in that often to photograph products.
And I believe that this is still the trouble for most smaller boutiques today. So below are a few tips on how to use someone in house to photograph your clothes that are good enough quality to use on your website. Because your customers still want to see your photos and not just stock photos.
1. For e-commerce photos a white backdrop always looks good. If you have a white wall in your shop or home that you can photograph someone modeling your clothes on that is the best option. But if you don't, you can purchase backdrop stands and white roll paper that will give you a white seamless backdrop to make your e-commerce photos clean. For the images below we used a much smaller white roll paper which wasn't ideal, and would definitely recommend going larger if you have the space.
2. Use an iPhone if you aren't skilled with a DSLR. Some of you are good enough with a DSLR that you can take good quality photos with that on a plain white backdrop and they will turn out awesome. But others of you may have a fancy camera and have absolutely no idea how to use it. If this is the case, in my honest opinion, put away your camera and just use your phone. Phones have such great cameras built in and they are SO much easier to use. (Check out this article for a few tips and tricks on taking better photos with your iphone.) As you can see below, we didn't have any special lighting, or camera setups to take these pictures. We just used the fluorescent light from the room and brought up the exposure on the iphone camera to take these. A couple additional tip besides how we edited these, is to zoom just a little bit in camera instead of walking closer will make the composition a little bit more true to life and have your model take a couple steps away from the backdrop to remove extra shadows.
3. Use an app like lightroom mobile to edit your images to be consistent. Consistency is key! Make sure the color and lighting is the same in all of your images. If you are shooting e-commerce photos for your website I like a bright true-color edit so that when customers are visiting your website they know exactly what they are getting and aren't overwhelmed. However, if you are shooting styled photos for instagram or other content play around with backgrounds and lighting. Just keep in mind you want the color of the clothes you are trying to sell to be true to real life. Below are some of the settings we used to edit the top image. All we worked on was the crop, basic lighting edits, and changed the color a bit to bring down the warm tones.
So spend a day playing around with the lighting you have (outside in overcast lighting or shade is going to be best, but if you are setting up a backdrop and stand be careful if it's windy). It may take a little while to really get what you like, but once you get it it will save you so much time! And when you do, send us your images! We love to see what you guys are doing!
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I'm Bethany Anderson, creator of The Stile Blog. At Stile + Co. we create realistic, super durable, lay flat backdrops to help you create better flat lay photos. If you want to see more inspiration head on over and follow us on instagram!