Product photography will be the death of me

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

Primrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,226
I am about this close to paying a professional because I just cant seem to get decent shots of my soaps :( I have tried the proper DSLR camera. I've tried my smartphone. I've made a DIY home light box. I've tried props and without. I've read hundreds of blogs, tips and tricks, watched you tube clips etc. I still dont really understand at all how to edit them.

These were taken outside in afternoon/early morning light with my smartphone and are believe it or not the best that I've come up with but still look crappy.

50 shades 1.jpg 50 shades 2.jpg 50 shades 3.jpg 50 shades 4.jpg Bergamot 1.jpg Bergamot 2.jpg Christmas cake.jpg Christmas Cedar.jpg Christmas soaps.jpg Eucalyptus 1.jpg

Eucalyptus 2.jpg First Snow 2.jpg First Snow.jpg Frankincense and Myrrh.jpg RLB 1.jpg RLB 2.jpg

If anyone has any tips ... I'd be super grateful
 
Last edited by a moderator:

msunnerstood

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
2,113
Location
Farmland
I think a little more centered and maybe. I like the one with the four bars in it. Maybe play with a filter for it. Most phone cameras have a little editing capability
 

lenarenee

Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2014
Messages
3,430
Reaction score
2,990
They're pleasant pics, but the soap isn't really the highlight, is it? It's like the soap bar itself needs more light - a mini spot light? There must be someone with photo experience that can help.
 

Primrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,226
I did intentionally take them with a bit of space so I could crop them - I don't understand any of the rest of the photo editing stuff. I struggle to even figure out how to place the soap for the photo
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
3,418
Reaction score
4,305
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
One of the things my son (the graphic designer and artist) told me is to look at the lines in your photo. Where do the lines lead the eye? In most of your pics, I'm drawn to your background more than I am at your soaps, which are lovely, by the way.

Find soap pictures you like. What do they have in common?

(I cropped this one to focus on the soap and played with the levels in order to brighten it up a bit.)
2.jpg
 

dibbles

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2015
Messages
5,852
Reaction score
5,614
Location
Minnesota
Try a completely neutral background so the soap is what is highlighted. You can use a couple of pieces of scrapbook paper, poster board, or drape a piece of fabric under and behind the soaps (this is what I did in the picture with a little cheap muslin). You could try moving the soaps down on the wood so there is no other background visible (only the wood under and around it). Check the Soap Challenge Club past winners for ideas to creatively arrange your soaps - there are a lot of ideas there. Click on one of the tutorials and scroll down to find a link to the entries. https://soapchallengeclub.com/shop/
MiniDropSwirl4.jpg
 

Misschief

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
Messages
3,418
Reaction score
4,305
Location
Kelowna, BC, Canada
I would also say don't be afraid to get closer to your soap. Don't worry about taking pics so you can crop them; focus on the soap. You're taking a portrait, not a snapshot. Personally, I prefer to use cropping to even out a picture. As well, I would suggest that you take your pics at a higher resolution. I noticed that when I opened it (in a simple, free program that works pretty well... paint.net) and homed in on it, it was quite pixellated. It was only 96 dpi. I would suggest a minimum of 200 dpi. Any cropping you do will be a little more forgiving.

You could try moving the soaps down on the wood so there is no other background visible (only the wood under and around it).
View attachment 33521
Good suggestions in your post, dibbles.

I don't want appear as if I'm bragging or putting myself out there as a great photographer; I'm not. I just want to use one of my pics as an example of what dibbles wrote in her post. This soap was taken on the back stairs of our house, leading up to the suite upstairs. The stairs are plain wood with a sheet of plywood below them to keep most of the dust and rain off of whatever we have stored under the stairs. I love the woodgrain and try to use it to advantage. It's pretty much a uniform colour and, so, your eye is drawn to what's highlighted... the soap. In this case, I chose the bells because of the snowflake pattern and the reference to Christmas ornaments. This is my Christmas soap. It isn't a perfect picture but you get the idea.

20180919_153927_HDR.jpg
With this picture, we wanted to highlight the glycerin soap embed. How better to do that than have light coming in from behind it. That fence is only a 4 foot panel. I was about 12" away (or so... just far enough back that the tray they were on filled the photo frame) from the soap at soap level. Again, I know there were things I could improve on but... you get the idea.

Shatter.JPG
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Relle

Administrator & Bunny Fanatic
Staff member
Admin
SPONSOR
Joined
Sep 23, 2010
Messages
11,222
Reaction score
3,715
I would suggest as others have said, centre them, take closer shots and get a piece of white cardboard from the paper shop, bend it and put the soap on that, no background just the soap. Taking closer shots stops the need for cropping and editing.
 

KiwiMoose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
2,595
Reaction score
4,568
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
If you take photos that are too far away, and then crop them too much you will end up with pixelated photos - especially if using a phone. I think a dslr camera will be a better tool for working with your photos. If you like Primrose you can email me one or two of your photos in full resolution and I will have a play with them and send them back to you. Email is better than me just taking them off here, because the resolution is stripped when uploading them to the forum. PM me.
 

Primrose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
775
Reaction score
1,226
All the photos I took to start with were using a white bit of cardboard and a DSLR (set to point and shoot) and they looked terrible :(

Oh I just realized the resolution might be because I uploaded these to Facebook, then saved to a desktop, then uploaded them here
 

CaraBou

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
3,048
Reaction score
3,228
Location
Montana
Great tips here. Photography is a whole 'nother art to learn. Hey, at least you know how to make nice soaps!
 

KiwiMoose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
2,595
Reaction score
4,568
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
You don’t necessarily need a white background, black works well with colours if you want them to pop.
Another trick to try with your phone is to touch two fingers to the screen and spread them out to enlarge the soap in the frame. This will give you a wider aperture so that the plants in the background are blurry and not clear focus, thus making your soap in focus and the main feature. Make sure you tap on the soap to set the light meter. Practice tapping on a dark part of the soap, or a shadow, then tap another time on a light part, and see what the camera does to both as it adjusts the light.
Don’t shoot in bright daylight, everything looks overexposed. Go for early morning or evening in lower light ( still daytime, but just not full sun).
Have a look at my pics I just posted in the gallery and you’ll see what I mean about the blurry background.
Feel free to PM me if you want more tips.
 

KiwiMoose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
2,595
Reaction score
4,568
Location
Hamilton, New Zealand
They are definitely getting better - I've tweaked them a bit:20181204_163628.jpeg20181204_163654.jpeg

Make sure you click on the soap itself to focus, and not on the wood in front of it.
 

SaltedFig

Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
2,225
Reaction score
2,149
Location
Australia
Hey Primrose,

You know that sort of afternoon light, where you go outside and it seems like even the leaves are shining and everything is somehow enhanced? That sort of light occurs early in the morning, not long after dawn, and in the afternoon. It's especially obvious on a cloudy day just after a thunderstorm, when the light peeks through, the air is clear and everything is ... more alive somehow.

If you can take photo's at that time of day, yours soaps will look just that bit more vivid. Try and get the light coming from just over your shoulder, or from one side or the other, so that you are looking through the lens at a soap that is naturally highlighted.

Use a pinpoint focus, and set it to somewhere about a 1/3 of the way down the bar of soap. Try focusing on different colours around the one spot, to see which gives you the best overall colour for the soap.

Use portrait (as someone has said) ... it's like you are taking a "face" photo of the soap - a lot of camera's will not make the background as vivid. In your pictures, it's like the setting is for a barbeque in the backyard, where you want everything to get a little bit of the focus ... you don't want your soap pictures to have that much detail - it's got to be all about the soap. It doesn't matter that the purple flowers in the background are just colour with the idea of you being in the garden ... that's as much background focus as you need.

Even outside, get a couple of spotlights on your soap to chase away shadows, but watch you don't wash out the photo (where everything just looks blurry whiteness).

Figure out what you do different when you photograph your kids ... your photos of those are good (the last one with the 3 babies looks like a really good "snapshot", but the colours are vivid like you want for your soaping photos - even the hay looks fresh and interesting.).

In the photo's you already have, go through them and circle where you can see the focus ... you'll be surprised with what you end up with. This task will help you get your eye in. What you are aiming to be able to do is choose the part of the soap that you want to be sharp and clear ... to choose the focal point of your picture.
Practice taking the same photo over and again a few times, changing only where you try and make the focus ... see what differences you can make with just that change (take 10 to 15 photo's of the one soap, moving only the camera focus, repeat this from 3 to 5 different angles ... pay the most attention to where the light is coming from, to work out the difference in the effect on your soap ... in the 100 or so photo's you end up with, you will get about 2 that stand out. Find out what it is that you have done that made them stand out).
Get up close and personal to your soap ... leave only just enough room to get the whole soap in ... and check out different angles again.

Always watch your background. Sometimes a tiny detail can throw a person out of a perfectly good story ... that's what you are doing, you are selling a story, in pictures.

Try using a camera stand. Most camera's have software to counter shake, but this adds a slight blur (softness) to your photo - you'll notice the change in sharpness if you use a stand.
 
2

Latest posts

Top