It can be a challenge as a new or experienced artist to take photos of your own work. As a tool for our lovely network of creators, we wanted to share our simple guide for shooting outstanding product photos with your phone! These are tips we've learned over time, and we think you might be able to benefit from them as well. All you need is a phone with a camera, a background, and a little patience and creativity.
Pick a spot that has natural lighting but not direct sun light. Natural lighting helps the color look the most accurate. A shaded outdoor patio is a great place to set up for your photoshoot!
Avoid: Fluorescent, over head, and direct sunlight. Any light that skews in the extreme can cause unwanted shadows, make the work look flat, causes glare and alters the color, which can be hard to correct.
Select a simple, clean, light or dark background. This will help your artwork stand out and look its best. We used a large white piece of drawing paper on a clipboard for our shoot. If your artwork is light, a dark background may help it pop instead!
Avoid: Cluttered and patterned backgrounds. These distract from the work and pull focus. If you do have a patterned background, use a Tilt Shift tool on the Instagram photo editor, or shoot in Portrait Mode to soften the background and make your work stand out (example with the fern photo below).
Shooting straight downwards at your piece in a flat-lay is a great way to showcase your work. Our set-up was on low table so we could shoot directly downwards at a comfortable height. You should have at least one photo of your piece that represents it in this way. Try other angles too that you can share and add to the product listings.
Now the fun begins! Try shooting your piece against the simple background first, then add elements that compliment your creation and the colors you've used in it. Simple tends to get a stronger reaction from your audience, because they can focus on your work and not other elements in the photo. Take multiple photos before changing your setup - if you only take one, you risk having to do it all again later!
The experimental phase is where you should try any ideas you have and break the rules. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't, but it will give you an idea of what your own aesthetic is and what looks best with your work. You'll always have the photos you shot before to work with, and experimenting after having those photos can be a added bonus.
Look through your photos to see which ones stand out the most, and edit those! If your photos are shot in soft, natural light, they won’t require much editing, but a few tweaks like added brightness can help them shine! Since most platforms favor square photos, make sure your artwork is centered in the frame and leave yourself a little room to crop on the long sides of your shot.
Best Filters to use on Instagram:
- Brightness: Often photos are too dark when taken. Our eyes are naturally drawn to brightly lit photos. It's important to keep this in mind when editing. Brightening a photo so the colors and details look accurate can make a world of difference.
- Brighten Highlights: If you shot on a white background, try brightening the highlights. This will target the background and make your piece stand out against it.
- Contrast: To add depth and richness to a photo try playing with the contrast filter.
- Saturation: This is a great tool to enhance the color of your photos. It should be used sparingly to not make the photo look too edited.
Before and after comparison of the edited photo and original. We used the Instagram edits listed above, increasing brightness, brightening highlights, dialing up contrast for clarity, and increasing saturation for vibrancy.
The last step is simple...
Share your work! You've shot multiple photos, edited the ones that stand out and now it's time to share! Hooray!
A few more things to try:
Portrait Mode: If your phone camera has Portrait Mode, try using it when shooting your artwork! This setting will blur the background like a traditional camera lens would.
Find your style: Have fun and play around - don’t be afraid to try things that don’t end up working, and discover what fits your unique artwork!
Humanize the photo: We naturally respond more to photos that have a human element, and this is easy to utilize in your product photography! Try taking photos of your hands holding your artwork, or enlist a friend to help you get the shot! This will humanize the photo as well as your artwork.
We hope this has been a helpful guide. Have fun with your shoots, and tag us in your photos @mothandmyth! We can't wait to see what you'll create!
Thank you to Breana Murphy (IG @slightlycrude) for lending us the beautiful resin piece for this tutorial!