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“This story was originally published by Propublica”.

We recently did all the photography for a client’s new e-commerce site. Armed with only our trusty DSLR and the light of a near by window we strategized how to to get these items photographed in a consistent way that represented the products in their best light. Here are a few tips that we picked up on how to cheaply and effectively shoot your own products. 1. Shoot near a source of natural light. Natural light is always the best light for photos. Set up your backdrop near a large bright window or take your shoot outside. Just make sure that your light is even and there are no hard shadows on the products by not shooting in direct sunlight. 2. A matte board is a great inexpensive white infinity backdrop. If you do a bit of research on product, or any other commercial photography you may see a few recommendations for an infinity backdrop. The white infinity backdrop provides a simple background with no corners or edges providing the most consistent background with the viewers full attention on your product. We used a slightly bent matte board that you can pick up from any art supply store for around $10. We used painters tape to hold it in place against the wall. 3. A tripod is NOT optional. Tripods don’t have to be expensive; we purchased ours for about $25 from Amazon. This creates a fail-proof steady shot which will help you get your image in focus every time.  Additionally, it’ll keep your composition consistent which will look more professional on a page full of products. 4. Prep your products the day before. You will have plenty to do the day of your photo shoot and you will be racing against the clock for natural light. Clean and organize everything you are going to shoot. Group items of similar size and category, making for an easy upload to your computer later. If larger or odd shaped items will require a change in set up save those for last to lessen the number of setups you have to do. 5. Allow adequate spacing around the object. When you take your shots allow more negative space around the object then you think you need. You may decide to crop your images to a dimension that fits your site better, that negative space is going to give you the flexibility to do it!

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