According to Punxsutawney Phil, Spring is near. This means it’s almost time for everyone’s favorite event, ‘Spring Cleaning’.
One might ask how does photography have anything to do with Spring Cleaning? With the likes of Ebay and Craig’s List to sell our unwanted items, having tabletop photography skills may in fact become your best friend.Here are a few tips on how to create images of your old unwanted items so you can make them look awesome for your Ebay and Craig’s List posts (ads) using tabletop photography techniques.
Let’s start with the essentials for tabletop photography. A good digital camera, preferably a DSLR, but a compact point and shoot will be fine as long as it has a macro capabilities. Lenses are very important, and having a great Macro Lens will be imperative for getting close images of tiny keepsakes like rings, earrings, coins, stamps, etc… You will also need a portable light table shooting kit such as Promaster’s SystemPRO Portable Shooting Kit, SystemPro LiteTent or SystemPro Lite House, Black and white foam core to be used as reflectors and most importantly a good tripod.
- KNOW YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS: Most digital camera owners place the camera in Program Mode and let the camera’s computer do everything for them. To create great images you need to learn what all the settings on your camera do. Imagine you can control what’s in focus. Selective focusing by adjusting your aperture to a wider setting, which gives you shallow depth of field. This comes in handy when shooting things like food, which looks most attractive when only a portion is in focus. Learn to white-balance your shots also, either while shooting or on the computer
- EXPOSURE: When photographing products you are selling you want to show as much detail as possible in the objects. This means you will need to shoot with smaller apertures.
- STABILITY: If you’re serious about creating the best possible images, you should consider investing in a tripod. Most tabletop photography assignment require a smaller aperture setting.; you will be using lengthy exposures and will require the aid of a good tripod. You should also consider either a cable release or a wireless shutter release to minimize movement.
- COMPOSITION: Remember you are trying to flatter your subject so it sells, so its good to shoot multiple angles. Sometimes the difference between high angle versus a lower angle can make all the difference in your image. Think about what your keepsake looks like and how you think it will be most appealing to it’s future owner. Check out LarmonU for an upcoming class or for private mentoring sessions if you are interested in learning about composition theory or more about any photographic related subject.
- TECHNIQUES: Sometimes we need to add or subtract light from and image. One of the most useful and inexpensive thing you can get is a Promaster 5 in 1 Reflector Disc. This is extremely helpful with working with larger objects filling in darker areas of the image. Ask a family member or friend to hold it or put your camera on a tripod and go hands-free. With small items in a tabletop situation you can also use small pieces of black or white foam core to add or subtract light to enhance your image.
- SHOW DETAILS: No matter what you’re photographing, whether it’s a piano or a old ring or coin, get as close as possible to show detail. From a distance things look ordinary. But zoom in, and all of a sudden it’s a masterpiece.