Photography for the Website

October 11, 2007

Having good photos of products is essential, since much of the information customers need is conveyed in this manner. Sometimes our wholesalers will provide product photos, but this is still rare. (It seems that more wholesalers are providing this service as the importance of Internet retailing increases.) I now take our product photos using a Canon PowerShot Pro 1 eight mega pixel digital camera. In addition to its good optics, this camera has a large digital viewer that can fold out and swiveled into almost any position—a helpful feature when using a tripod. The camera also has macro and super macro modes that are essential in taking photos of very small objects such as earrings.

I usually work with the camera mounted on a BOGEN 3021BPRO tripod with a Manfrotto 3275/410 Compact Geared Head with Quick Release. Using a tripod helps in setting up shots and improves the quality of the resulting images. I have learned that it is very important to use a light box for most products so that you have good diffused lighting (provided by two daylight balanced photographic floodlights mounted on stands). I use an EZ Cube studio lighting system which I purchased online at http://www.tabletopstudio.com/.

Altogether all the above equipment cost almost two thousand dollars. But the investment has been well worth it. The first year of taking photos for the LadyBug Shop website I used a Canon PowerShop S30 three mega pixel camera with no tripod or light box. It took me much longer to take product photos and the results were not as good as I now get with better equipment.

I download the images from my camera onto a computer and store them there. I use the free Google photo management software—Picasa—for this purpose. Most of the photos need to be edited in some way—either by being cropped or by making adjustments in brightness and contrast. I purchased one of the most popular digital photo-editing software packages—Microsoft PhotoShop—to do this editing, but I have found that I can usually do everything I need to do using a much simpler software such as the photo editor provided in Microsoft Office.

Our shopping cart software—Store Logic—allows us to upload and insert photos into our catalog via an Internet connection to the computer where the photos are stored. In some cases it is necessary to provide several views of the product, or show different variations or colors of the same product. Store Logic provides this capability.

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