There are certain product photography problems and mistakes that commonly occur for Etsy sellers as well as the more experienced.The good news is that many of these mistakes are easily corrected with a bit of know how.
- Underexposed – No detail in the shadows. If you see on your LCD screen that an image looks too shadowy and underexposed, you can try opening the aperture to allow more light in. You can also adjust the exposure on a DSLR, selecting the ‘+’ to add more light, usually in ½ stop increments.
- Overexposed – No detail in the highlights. To correct for overexposure, you can try underexposing the image by choosing -0.5 or -1 and seeing if more detail has been retained. Additionally, use spot metering for accurate results – pick a grey mid-toned area in your image as the guideline.
- Poor lighting – Either too flat and dull or too harsh and contrasty. Use flash to fill in the dark shadowy areas of the image and try underexposing the image by one or two stops to see the difference it makes.
- Color balance – Greys and whites should be neutral in color.
- Color cast – Watch for odd colors washing in from a window or a light. In digital imaging we can use the white balance (WB) settings to deal with this problem. Choose “auto” or the proper WB settings for the scenario. For example, an indoor photograph tends to look orange because the incandescent (tungsten) light bulb emits “warm” or orange light. The tungsten setting devised for this scenario will add blue to balance it out.
- Item too small in the image – Make the product a large portion of the image. You can move closer by using a good quality telephoto zoom lens or we can crop the image later with your image editing software.
- Not representative of the product – make sure colors are accurate and scale understandable.
- Pixelated – Watch for blocky edges on what should be smooth edges. Using a low resolution setting means that the image quality will suffer, and you won’t be able to print large photographs without noticing the pixels.Buy additional memory cards and take your photos with higher resolution and avoid low quality files!
- Stretched image – Be careful when resizing and image so it does not change proportions.
- Model with poor expressions – The human face is capable of 40+ expressions so don’t send the wrong message.
- Models with bad poses – They should look natural and comfortable. Guide your models in showing off your craft products.
- Poor staging – Put the product where is intended to be used.
- Distracting backdrop – Make sure the backdrop does not compete with the subject.
- Strange effects or filters – Save effects and filters for things other than product photos.
- Grainy images – This happens while shooting in dark places. The higher the ISO the more noise will appear, and the more you enlarge the image the more you can see noise.To reduce noise, use the largest image quality setting and always use a tripod so that you can choose the lowest ISO setting without causing blur.
- Blurry images – Watch carefully for clean, sharp focus.
- Not leading with your best image – Don’t hide you best image put it up front.
- Dirty products – Dust is everywhere. Clean before a photo shoot and clean again in post.
- Strong hard shadows – Hard shadows distract from the subject.
- Composition – Watch out for odd angles and things being cut by the edges of the frame.
We all make mistakes. But at least you can now avoid the most common ones by using the above tips.
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