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Chapter 5

Steps to a Successful Photoshoot

If you’re set on doing it yourself, there are a few simple steps you can take to maximize your budget and time — and ensure your product photos turn out as expected.

Plan ahead. Start conceptualizing your photo shoot early so you have enough time to prepare. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to work within a specific budget. The more time in advance that you know what you’re doing, the easier it is to track down discounts and cut costs to bring your shoot in under-budget.

Write down the equipment, props, and people you need. By writing down everything you need ahead of time, it will be much easier to stay organized when the day of your shoot arrives. Think of it like a shopping list — even if you own everything you need. The day, or days leading up to a shoot, can be hectic — so the more you document your own thinking the easier it will be to achieve excellent results.

Check your equipment. There is literally nothing worse than having everyone ready to do a photo shoot and having a battery die or a light go out. The night before, make sure everything you’re using is charged and functional — so the day of your shoot is a breeze.

Make a shot list. Shot lists are a great way to stay organized and make sure you get everything you need. At the bare minimum, your list should include:

  • Product Name
  • Shot Type
  • Props Needed
  • Number of shots
  • Number of of lighting setups
  • Angles
  • Any additional notes

Double check your images. Before you pack up for the day or send anyone home, take the SD card out of your camera, put it in your computer, and back it up. Then, make sure the images look the way you’re expecting them to. This is often the last thing you have to do before breaking down on a very long day, but it’s an easy way to stop yourself from wasting money and time in case you forgot anything.

Organize your files. Come up with a naming convention and folder system that works for you. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. As long as you have an easy way to identify what your photos are and which ones you want to use, then you have a good system — just make sure to consider this early on or else you’ll have trouble finding your images. Programs like LightRoom or Capture One are great at helping you sort through images and choose your favorites.

Retouch. Retouching images is almost as important as the shoot itself. Whether it’s removing dust from the background or adjusting the brightness of your image, use Photoshop or a Photoshop-alternative to improve your photos before publishing them to your site.

Next Chapter

Retouching Your Photos

Here are a few basic tips that we found helpful for retouching product photos. The goal is to do just enough to make your photos sell your product within the right amount of time you’re able to spend on the process.

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