The Beginner's Guide to Product Photography
Product photography is the best genre in photography these days. It’s in high demand because the numbers of online portals are increasing day by day. Everyone who is selling products online, need a photographer to capture the images of their products. This photography doesn’t require a big studio setup with multiple lights and modifiers. You can start in your room with just two lights and a light tent.
As the technology is growing rapidly, nowadays more and more online sellers are showing their products in 360 degrees so the buyer can see the product from every angle before buying. In this article, we will learn about how to do 360 product photography using Capsule360 and Turntable by MIOPS.
What you need:
You need a camera with a medium lens and a tripod to hold the camera. Other than this you need a light tent. A light tent is a cube made from translucent white fabric. A wire frame holds this cube and because of the wire frame, you can fold it and take it anywhere with you. It creates a soft diffused light and you can click almost shadow-less pictures. With just two lights or even natural light, you can click well-lit pictures. It comes with four different color backdrops.
At last, you need a Capsule360 and Turntable by MIOPS. With the help of this, you can click pictures with even turning angles and it can control your camera too. First, we’ll talk about doing it manually and then we’ll talk about the benefits of Capsule360.
For the manual method, you need something that can work as a turntable. I made once by attaching round shape plywood on an old fan and painted it white. You can make something similar. I found a video about building a DIY turntable here;
Setup is fairly simple. Open the light tent and place it on a table. Put both lights at both sides at 45-degree angle. Most of the product photography of online product is done with a white background so attach a white background at the back.
Now place your camera on the tripod, make sure it’s a little bit higher than the turntable. Put the product at the center of the turntable, focus manually and switch your camera or lens on manual focus mode. Voila, your setup is done.
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Camera settings are also very simple. Switch your camera to aperture priority mode and set a narrow aperture like f/11 or f/16. Aperture depends on the size of the product. If your product is small in size, f/11 is enough but for a bigger product like shoes, you may need f/16 or narrower aperture.
Since our product is not moving so set ISO to 100 and take a picture. Now check the picture and I am pretty sure that it will be underexposed. Why? It’s because our background is white and the camera takes an average of the entire frame so it comes underexposed. We need to click one stop overexposed picture to get proper exposure.
Check the shutter speed of the picture you just clicked and switch your camera to manual mode. We want the exposure of all photos same so it’s better to shoot in manual mode. Set aperture to the same as the previous photo and set the shutter speed to one-stop overexposed. If the shutter speed of that photo is 1/30 seconds, set it to 1/15 seconds.
If you are using spot metering, you will get a perfectly exposed picture and you don’t need to overexpose it.
We also need the colors of all photographs same so we can’t set the white balance to auto. If you are using LED lights, most LED lights have daylight color temperature so set WB to daylight. If you are using tungsten lights, set white balance accordingly.
Make sure you turn off the image stabilizer or vibration reduction feature of your lens. Our camera is on a tripod so we don’t need it.
Now you just need to know the turning angle between each shot. To know this angle, you need to divide 360 by the number of shots and you’ll get it. Let’s say you are shooting 12 photographs of the product, the angle would be 360/12 = 30 degree.
So rotate the turntable to 30 degrees and take a shot until you click all 12 photos.
This method is good when you are taking less number of shots like 12 or 18 but if your client wants 60 or 72 picture of the product for smooth transition what would you do? You need to rotate the turntable to 5 degrees after each shot and it’s not possible with manual mode as you can’t do it with precision.
Here comes the MIOPS Capsule360 with turntable. It can make the product shootings much easier because it automates everything for you. It not only rotates the table precisely but also controls your camera.
All you need to do is to add the number of frames you want to take at one 360 degrees turning of turntable and duration between each frame. You can calculate this duration by adding your exposure time and the time it’s taking to turn the turntable. Let’s say your exposure time is 1/30 seconds and it’s taking one second to rotate the turntable after each shot, you can set two seconds duration between each shot.
You can also control the rotation direction of the turntable to clockwise or counterclockwise.
So let’s say you want to take 30 shots of a product in a 360-degree turn. Just set all the parameters and start it. It’ll take one picture and then rotate the turntable to 12 degrees. It’ll again take a picture and turn it 12 degrees. It’ll keep doing it until all 30 photos are clicked.
Literally, you need to do nothing while the pictures are being taken. You can use that time to read a book or do something else.
So it’s up to you that you want to take pictures in a hard way or you invest a little amount to buy Capsule360 and automate everything. It’ll save you a lot of time and manual labor and you can click more numbers of products in less time.
Related Article: How to Create Stunning 360° Product Images with Capsule360
About the Author
Ramakant Sharda is an author, iOS App publisher, passionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.