Anyone else get frustrated with product photography?
October 11, 2016
I’m a one-woman show. I do it all, and that includes product photography, which at the moment is the bane of my existence. It’s never been my favorite thing, to be honest, but right now I am super, super frustrated with it.
Everything I’ve read about product photography highlights the same things: have even lighting. No shadows. A neutral backdrop that doesn’t distract from the product. The images should be fairly uniform in style and lighting throughout the shop. Try to avoid reflections in jewelry, and if you can showcase it in “in use,” so much the better.
Lighting is the thing I struggle with most — trying to find the balance between the bright images I want, and washing out the colors in the jewelry is tough. I’ve gone through several sets of LED lights, all with different color temperatures, and I always end up having to modify the white-balance in post. This is true whether I’m using my high-end DSLR, properly white-balanced and metered, or my iPhone.
Tonight I decided it’s my janky setup. I have one of those folding softboxes that you can affix a backdrop to, plus a roll of LEDs sewn across the top of the box and down the sides. It’s unstable at best, which makes delicately placing jewelry almost impossible.
The LEDs are on a dimmer, which is nice when I want to limit the reflections on the silver jewelry, but otherwise, eh. I use an old external hard drive’s power source, which tonight I spent 20 minutes looking for before going running to my partner for one of his. It is a hot mess. (Literally; the power source is too much for the dimmer switch, and it gets warm.)
There’s a single reason that my lighting setup is so makeshift: money. I decided I was going to DIY the thing instead of shelling out for a proper setup something like three years ago, and I’ve hamstrung myself with the stupid thing since. I’ve probably spent a grand total of $30 on this, excluding backdrops. Even so, I’m finding myself hesitating to spend even another $40 on another setup — but I’m going to have to get over that, real quick.