My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

To see all of my blog posts to date, click here.

DIY: Product photography

 PROFESSIONALISM THROUGHOUT TIME AND SPACE: Using a sheet of paper at an angle is a great and cheap way to create a backdrop for product photography. If you have items that are larger than the paper, use a white wall or something with a smooth, single color, surface to shoot your images. 

PROFESSIONALISM THROUGHOUT TIME AND SPACE: Using a sheet of paper at an angle is a great and cheap way to create a backdrop for product photography. If you have items that are larger than the paper, use a white wall or something with a smooth, single color, surface to shoot your images. 

Have an item you want to sell online? Want to make yourself look like (and hopefully actually be) a reputable seller of the item you want to sell?

This post can help you do that. Product photography is a fun project that can make whatever you want to showcase look great.

You’ll need:

 I created the final image in Adobe Photoshop using a mask so only the item is visible. The simple white background created by the paper in the original photo made it easier to select the item for the mask. 

I created the final image in Adobe Photoshop using a mask so only the item is visible. The simple white background created by the paper in the original photo made it easier to select the item for the mask. 

  • A camera. A Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, point-and-shoot or just use your cell phone. Any of these will work.
  • A well-lit room with controlled lighting. Daylight lamps are ideal. You’ll need adequate and soft lighting to make the shot look best.
  • A sheet of paper for a backdrop. If your item is too big for the paper, consider a larger white surface that is smooth.
  • An image editing program like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP (which is free to download, by the way).
  • The trick is to set the paper up against a book or wall and have the paper curved in half. The first half is going to be what your product is placed on and the second half is the backdrop for the item.

Make sure you have plenty of light for your shots. If you’re shooting with a DSLR or a point-and-shoot that has manual controls be sure to set your aperture to around f/8 or higher so the item is nice and crisp.

Once you’ve taken your photo, open the image up in an image editor like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to get rid of the parts of the photo that are not white. The paper isn’t pure white, so you may want to increase the brightness of the photo to brighten the paper — or, if you want to be fancy, use the lasso tool to select the area around the item and create a mask.

That’s all there is to it. Be sure to save your image as a .jpg or .png so it’s web-friendly and upload it to wherever you want to show off your item.

If you have a lot of items to sell, consider purchasing a light box from a reputable seller online. They’re built for shots like this and can make the job a lot easier.