Smartphone Product Photography 101

If you are a maker who sells your wares, your photos are the single most important thing when it comes to selling your items online. Online shoppers don't see what your items (mug, bracelet, stamps...) look like and rely on your photos to show them what they are buying.

Beyond selling to customers if your photos are well composed, in focus, with simple backgrounds your product have a much better chance of being featured on a blog or magazine. No one wants to feature dark, blurry photos on their website and neither should you!

Several people have asked me for photo tips so I decided to make an easy tutorial for product photography you can do with your smart phone (but the skill set transfers to DSLRs and point-and-shoot camera). This is how I set up and light all of my photographs; I only use natural light.

You'll Need:
A smartphone
A product to photograph
White fabric (make sure you iron it, or it will look like mine)
Window (north facing is best)
Bounce card (I use white foamcore)
Cardboard box

Setting up your mini studio is quite easy. You want to put your table top as close to your window as possible.  A North facing window is best because the sunlight light stays bright and consistent throughout the day. My window is West facing so I have to take my photos no later than noon or the light coming through the window would be too harsh and create dark shadows on my object. If your window is East facing you will want to take your photos after noon for the same reason. 

Lay your white fabric over the box and tabletop so that it creates a seamless and clean backdrop for your object. 

I made this diagram so you can easily see how to set up your scene. 

Your bounce card is important! It bounces light (approproate name right?) back onto your object and evens out the shadows. Look at the difference in the two photos, the photo on the left was taken without the card and the photo on the right with. You can hardly read "Felicette" on the side of my stamp it's so dark, and you don't want to loose important details like that in your photographs. 

For the purpose of this post I edited my photo using the VSCO Cam app, but you can use any other editing app you like or download your photos and edit them in software on your computer. (that last image is me trying to crop out some of the more wrinkly bits)

Here is my finished image. You want to keep your images clean, simple, and bright! The Cloud & Rain Return Address stamp can be found here

Go forth and photograph my little shutterbugs!

1 comment

Jul 23, 2015

Great information, Lauren. Photographs as the most important thing when you are trying to get into craft shows.

Aunt Patti

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