I recently received a great photography tip from Sharon of Morgan Street Soap Company. I have always admired Sharon's beautiful product photographs. When she offered to share her secret I was all ears. Sharon explained to me that the most important tool for her photography, next to the actual camera, is her tripod. Most of her pictures are taken using the following method:
- Create a white backdrop using white foam, poster board, or durable fabric. Sharon prefers to use the thin foam found in the kid's section of craft stores. Prop up the background facing a window or other source of natural light. You'll get the best photographs by taking your pictures during the day. If you need to take photographs at night you may have better luck using a photography light box.
- Arrange your items as you like, allowing plenty of room for the white area to appear in the frame.
- Make sure there is one black object in the original frame of the photograph. This will help you to balance the colors in an editing program later. You can use a black piece of paper, a bottle cap, or anything that you may have on hand. Leave the object somewhere in the frame that will be easily cropped out later.
- Attach your camera to a tripod. There are many inexpensive tripods on the market. I recently purchased a small flexible tripod for only $15.00. This small investment will help your photos look a great deal more professional.
- Set your camera on a short timer and aim the camera for your photograph. Setting a delayed timer prevents you from inadvertently shaking the camera while pressing the button to take the shot.
- If you are using a digital camera, take as many pictures as you like. You can sort through them later for the best shots.
- After you've uploaded (or scanned) your photos onto the computer you can begin editing them. Most photo editing programs such as Photoshop or Paint Shop will allow your image using a feature called "curves". The black object helps to set the color tone for your photo. Then use the "curves" tool to adjust the lightness and contrast. In other programs, such as Picassa, you can perform similar functions by using their "fill light", "color temperature", and "contrast" features.
- After adjusting the photo you can crop it to eliminate the black object and make any other finishing touches that you like.
Here is an example of what my photo looked like using Sharon's tripod and white backdrop method BEFORE I adjusted the curves:
Here is how the photo looked after I adjusted the curves:
Thank you for sharing such a great tip with me, Sharon! I look forward to taking many more beautiful photos using this method.