Product Photography | A Day In The Studio

As the product development continues with the Blue Cupboard line, the time came to delve into taking product photos for the online shop.  Product Photography AND working with a real human model was a process completely new to me.  It was a day of preparation, experimenting, and loads of fun.

The day started out absolutely beautiful - blue sky, sunshine, and big fluffy clouds.  The natural light in the studio requires a close watch as the sun moves through the sky and based on past experience, 1pm was the decided time to begin.  This was factoring in setting up the camera, adjusting the focus and exposure, pulling props from the shelves, and just getting comfortable.

I was so delighted and fortunate to have found the perfect model for the Blue Cupboard photo shoot as this lady knows vintage, antiques, and daily activities of household life.  She loves her blue jeans, has an incredible sense of humor, and the patience of a saint.  

She has also been my "Business Advisor", sounding board, and biggest cheerleader since first coming up with the business idea. This woman I speak of is My Handsome Man's Mom, Donna, and I couldn't have been happier she agreed to step into this model role.

Prior to her arriving, I straightened and swept the studio, and began planning the scenes for the shoot, and gathered various items from the line that I wanted to focus on.  I had several ideas in mind for the look I was going after and constantly reminded myself that the "products" needed to be the star of the show.

 I mentioned in a previous post that almost 100% of my photography has been in the still-life world where props are the most important aspects of the story telling.  

Product photography was a whole new world.... 

I began with some practice shots to get a feel for what working with a model would be like and letting Donna get comfortable.  I looked for angles, product highlights, and found what I liked and didn't like about the images.  This was probably the most pivotal time in the session as it would drive what would transpire next. 

One of the first shots out of the gate.....

This image above was too "posed" for my taste and needed more cropping, etc.   We decided to just go with the flow and let common and simple actions take precedence.  We grabbed some everyday objects and I just let my model do her thing.  I quickly noticed the best images were captured when she was not looking and just "putzing" around the scene.  Just being herself in a natural relaxed manner and using the products as she does at home.  

After taking many images I was thrilled with, we made sure to include the different fabrics and colors of each item into the mix.  

The Blue Cupboard line is the "workhorse" for everyday.  These are the linens that get into the down and dirty.  No fear of stains and yet always look perfect in any decor.  With that in mind, we incorporated "task-like" shots such as drying a bowl or preparing to gather ingredients.  It was a constant song in my head to "keep it simple and show off the products".

I have shared a minuscule sample of how the product photography process started in the studio and where we ended up.  As the Blue Cupboard opening dates gets closer, I am going to be very excited to share the product images in all their glory.

After finishing up in the studio, Donna suggested we take advantage of a beautifully flowering apple tree in my neighbors yard.  I have taken some fun Fall still life images in the past when this tree is full of apples and knew my neighbor wouldn't mind if we took advantage of the perfect blossoms.

Using the laundry theme, we made a makeshift clothesline gently tied to the branches and once again found wonderful product photo opportunities from nature herself.  Nothing forced or posed....  

It was a day filled to the brim with productivity, learning, and most of all fun.  We cheered at victories and discussed critiques.  I couldn't have asked for a better model and product photography session.

To recap, here is a list of the "ah-ha" moments into my first product/model photo shoot adventure:

  1. Start with a vision and know that it will evolve and change as the photos are taken
  2. Find humor and learn from those shots and look absolutely crazy or confusing
  3. Focus on your product and be sure to add small "human" elements such as demonstrating usage
  4. Remember to photograph all fabrics, colors, and styles of each item in the shots you love to give your potential customer a good idea of these traits
  5. Keep props to a minimum to best show off the creation - let the viewer imagine themselves with the product in their environment
  6. Laugh...Have Fun....and Laugh Some More........

The perfect ending to a perfect day was sitting at the computer with Donna and I unloading the memory card to my computer.  We oohed and aahed....we admired and grimaced, we laughed and critiqued.  It was perfect.  Simply perfect.

I would love to hear your experiences with product photography and working with a model.  What worked and didn't work for you?  What was your biggest take-away?  What Ah-Ha moments can you share?  Tell me about your laughs and learning....

Wishing you a beautiful day

JoanMarie