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Better Small Product Photography

2013 April 3
by Katie

Hey you.

Hey you treasures from the antique store and homemade crochet bowties and monogrammed decorative pillow. 

Hey you wedding signs and feather headbands and vintage necklaces.

Hey you hand crafted goodies that make the sweet tooth on eye candy ache…I know you want to be sold on etsy or featured on your favorite blog or displayed proudly as an art print but it’s not gonna happen without your owner-with-the-great-taste knowing how to take your closeup.  And so I recommend you wiggle your little hipster booty over there and whisper in your owners ear to grab their camera to take your photo pronto.  Here’s one easy way to achieve that all white background that will show off your humps and bumps like a Baywatch reunion at a trampoline park. 

Those three chicks are showing off their goods :)   And showing off that all seamless white background.  Here’s how it’s done for cheep.  bwahaha.   

First you are gonna need two all white poster boards and your super-fine product. 

I like to set mine up so that one is slightly curved and the other sits in front (just in case my product needs more light reflection).  I also make sure to set up so that the light source is behind me on both sides.

Then you want to consider your angle.  Sometimes it is best to take a photo straight down…

Or you may want to have it have a slanted angle.  Either way, I recommend taking numerous pictures on both planes.

Also, take vertical and horizontal photos.  It’s best to show several different options especially on etsy because folks want to see all different looks.


You may also want to consider taking photos of your product in it’s packaging. 

Here’s another trick…layer foam board on the poster board and it slides really easily…so if you set something up and need a little twist or bump this way or that, you can just move the entire board instead of resetting everything.

Here’s how I edited these photos…

first take a photo with a notch over 0+ exposure.  The poster boards should still be slightly gray in the straight outta the camera original photo.  Select a new levels adjustment layer (circled in red below).

Since there is so much white in the photo, the histogram will appear a little cray-cray.  So you want to take the far right slider (red arrow) and move it to the beginning of the histogram curve (green arrow).

If you move it farther over, it will become overexposed and you can lose some detail so be careful to eyeball it correctly. 

Boom…flatten and you are done. 

Here are some other tips for small product photography….









You may also want to consider having a prop only in the photo if it shows off your product better…like if you sell headbands and have a plain mannequin head modeling it.  Of course, there are a great many ways to show off your product…this is just a quick and easy and cheap (two posterboards are $1 at the Dollar Store) way to do it.  I like this technique when I want to make an insurance list…I just take photos of my valuables on posterboard and throw them into a file folder for future reference.  That must have been my past job in the insurance industry nagging me :)   Wanna share your favorite ways to show off your littles?

All Aboard

2013 April 2
by Katie

Behind our couch in the living room lives a monster.  A green eyed sharp toothed growling aggressive monster.  It haunts me at night.  Oh heck, it haunts me during the day too.  It’s been known to devour small children and consume organizer’s souls.  

It’s our children’s playtable.  beware.  it can see you and is hungry. 

So Jeremy and I decided that we wanted to take every single toy off it and turn it into a train table.  Will got a Melissa & Doug train set
to celebrate Weston’s arrival and setting it up was numero uno on our to-do list.  The problem was that I am a commitment-phobe.  I know that there will come a time when Will will no longer play trains every single day.  The day will come and I will weep quarts of tears.  And I don’t want to scrap this playtable just because we commited to a train setup.  Gotta think of the future siblings afterall :)  

Instead the plan was to cut a tabletop piece the exact same time as the existing top.   Jeremy just used some 1/2″ plywood.  He clamped them together and marked the sides.

Then using the table saw, he cut it to size.  

After that, we sanded it down and applied two coats of PolyShades stain & polyurethane in one to the top.

Then Jer and I set up the train tracks.  Since there are a ton of configurations, we chose the one that used the depot, both bridges and had an inner and outer track.  Jer took piece by piece apart and applied the wood glue.  It took a lot of patience but it is super sturdy for when Will tests it with ‘crashing train wrecks’. 

On one end of the train table, we wanted to be able to lift up the board.  The existing top had a couple holes drilled in it for that very purpose.  We decided that a handle would probably be the better fit in this situation.  One end of the board had a little bit more room left for this very specific purpose. 

I found a cheapo handle in my stash (I always pick through the clearance bin at Home Depot and Lowes for goodies).

Here’s our trick for attaching handles perfectly….take a piece of Frog Tape and stretch it out over both holes. 

Then use a sharp object like a pencil (well, some pencils aren’t sharp but that’s neither here nor there) and puncture the holes. 

Then remove the tape from the handle and place it on the board. 

Then you predrill through the tape and into the board.   


The screws should be perfectly placed. 

The handle was the last finishing touch.  All we had to do was place the new top on the old one. 

Will is obsessed. 

And I am happy too.  The new table looks so much better as compared to the old monster.  The future plan is to keep all the toys in this room in the white storage ottomans (see the one behind Will below).  Hopefully it will help keep future mess at bay. 

So there you have it…a little train table update.  There are a ton of different ways to skin the train table cat.  I love these versions too:

p.s.  This is a sponsored post brought to you by FrogTape.  All opinions and jokes about Will’s toys eating you alive are mine.  Except that’s no joke.