Author Topic: Take your own professional-looking photos for less than 200  (Read 1793 times)

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Hey all, I've been into photography for about as long as I've been sewing, and have long dreamed of having a nice area dedicated to taking photos of my products. Well, I'm in the process of moving to a space that would allow me to have this luxury. So, I figured, why not share some of the products I've picked up for this new development, as well as my reviews and feedback.

I've decided to put this in Web Presence instead of Off Topic because I have seen first hand how much more engaging a high quality DSLR photo can be versus an okay quality iPhone photo.

Here's what anyone will need to make something like this:
-A DSLR, I use a Canon T5i, which is one of their commercial (non-professional) line products it's great, has a wide ISO range, 100-12800 IIRC, and easy to use adjustments for F-Stop, Shutter Speed, White balance, etc. You don't have to have this specific one, if you are on a tight budget, T3's can be had for like 150-200 on eBay if you look hard enough. I'm going to use my standard 18-55mm lens for most of my shots. I have a macro lens that I can use for ultra close-ups, but those aren't really my style. A bigger telescoping lens like a 75-300mm isn't really gonna do you any favors here.

-A Tripod. These are essential for getting a stable, consistent shot. I'm using an old spotting scope tripod that I have. It has built in bubble levels that I find useful, but these extra features add extra cost. Here is a cheap one that will still do the trick

- A back drop. These are more important than you might think. A solid white or black back ground draws all the attention to your product or subject of the photo, a crowded back ground serves only to distract. Backdrops are easy to make, and can be bought pretty cheap. The most important this is that you get one that will fit your space and works well for your intended use. If you only want to take pictures of a small pouch, bag, or vest, you probably don't need one any bigger than like 4'x4'. Construction of these is simple, use PVC pipe, 2x4s, whatever you want really. you're basically just making a bar that fabric can be draped over. Be sure that you build it much bigger than the item you intend to photograph so there's plenty of back ground around your subject. One cool thing you can do with your back drop is replace the solid black or white fabric with a patterned material like 500D cordura. It's an expensive way to do it since you'll need 1-3 yards of your fabric, and some of it might get dirty, but, it does add a really cool look to your photos. @rn4_an4kin on instagram does this really well using multicam black as a background for some of his airsoft pics.

If you don't want to commit to having the back drop permanently in your space, a collapsible one can be had for cheap on amazon here:

-LIGHTS lighting is the biggest factor in making a picture look great, or awful. The big goal with this is to provide an environment with controlled lighting. Ther's a bunch of fun things you can do with your lighting like top-lit photos, or other weird lighting setups, but for the most part, your're going to use them in front of you. General rule of thumb, you always want to have at least two light sources from different directions. Set them up at 45 degrees away from your subject, on opposite sides of your camera set up, this helps fill in any shadows and provides better lighting to show detail in your shots.

The other big key to lighting is eliminating all other light sources. That means turn off your overhead lights, close any doors to other rooms that have windows in them, and block any windows in the room you're in. Natural light always has a color tone to it that is very hard to duplicate with studio lights. Mixing light tones have a weird effect on your shot, and it is very hard to correct in post-editing.

These are the lights I will be using, they came highly recommended by a friend who did something similar in their basement.

I have still yet to set everything up, but, I will do some first impression updates, as well as update this post with pictures showing some of the concepts I touched on in this post (lighting, tripod, backdrop, etc.)

Thanks for reading, your input is always appreciated!
Owner, Latigo Customs, LLC
"High Quality Gear, Proudly Made in Richmond, Virginia"


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Re: Take your own professional-looking photos for less than 200
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 01:11:22 PM »
Very useful info! Thanks for sharing.


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Re: Take your own professional-looking photos for less than 200
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2020, 10:13:28 AM »
This is great info. I just recently decided to sell some stuff online and have been trying to wrap my head around how to get good photos.
How did this end up working out for you?
I'd love to see some results.