Finally, here’s Part 2! You can find Part 1 here if you haven’t read it yet. Part 1 was about small item photography on a budget. Part 2 is on large item photography on a budget.
So with the same sheet of MDF I bought and had cut up for the small set-up, I had 2 large pieces left, and used the largest one for my outside set-up. I had bought a roll of wallpaper for this one, a textured cream with silvery-grey brocade style roses on it.
I used 3 widths of wallpaper to cover it. Again, in hindsight, I’d like it wider. However, wider = heavier so sometimes you have to compromise as I store this upstairs and have to haul it down again to use. On the other hand, I do have a husband… 😉
I have 2 metal chairs I set up the MDF on, usually on towels in case the chairs are damp. Then I place my mannequin, which was about £30 on ebay a few years ago, quite close to it (the wider you make your background, the farther away you can place the mannequin).
Then I place whatever it is I want to photograph on the mannequin, set up my camera on the tripod, and set up the shot. I don’t rush, get the placement right the mannequin, the height of the tripod, and how far away it is from the mannequin and take a couple of shots. I then check them, adjust and take again. I use the zoom on the camera to get closer to the mannqeuin and use the timer as well. I reposition and shoot, usually once, as I know the set-up is working for me. Each item can take maybe 10 minutes or less once I’m set up as I don’t have to fiddle with moving things around.
Settings on the camera – as I mentioned, I use the timer. I also usually don’t use ‘Auto’. My camera has a ‘Manual’ and a ‘P’ function and I use those, adjusting the exposure and white balance (just figured out how to do that!). I usually have the focus set to “auto”. I mostly use a DLSR camera, A Canon D700 but I have used an iPad and an old point & shoot as well.
Then if I need to, I crop and brighten up and that’s usually all I do.
Now, WHEN to take photos is essential – not in bright sun, not on dark cloudy days. Early-ish in the morning, or later on in the afternoon if you have the right place work well, in indirect light. We have 2 outbuildings about 8 feet from the back door, so I use that little nook to take my photos in between 8-10AM depending on when the sun is out. Light cloudy days are great – you can take product shots at almost any time of the day. I’m in the UK and we don’t get as much sun as other places in the world, and if I can manage to get product shots that are decent, so can you!