Setting your camera for ecommerce photos
Ever noticed how the colours of your product photos can vary a lot from photo to photo?
You need to be using manual settings on your camera to get consistent colour. Here’s how to get great results every time.
Note: These instructions apply to the excellent Canon EOS M compact camera but are similar for most modern SLRs and good compacts.
On your EOS-M camera, turn the top dial to Centre position (Creative Zone).
- Tap the LCD on top left icon and tap M (for manual settings).
- Tap ISO and make it 400 – this is the sensitivity setting.
- Tap second icon from left and make it 125 (this is shutter speed).
- Tap third icon and make it 8.0 (this is aperture).
- Select the Q symbol to set the type of lighting you have in the room where you are taking photos (at bottom of screen).
That should give you a roughly correct base exposure in daylight or bright indoor light. Next we will fine-tune the settings:
Adjust the brightness of the photo by altering (4) aperture or ISO up or down. If you adjust one, then adjust the other to compensate.
TIP: Don’t make the (3) shutter speed too low as you will get blurring if not using a tripod. 1/125th of a second will be fine for most shots.
That’s it ! – all your photos will now have consistent colour, but if you do close ups you will need to brighten the image a bit as above by changing the (4) aperture and then (2) ISO to compensate for the change you just made: As one goes up, the other has to come down. Practice this in a quiet moment and jot down your settings.
TIP: Make a note of your manual camera settings if you use a consistent ‘set’ and lighting to photograph your ETSY items. Use them each time and you’ll soon be producing consistent-colour photos every time !
Aperture Settings – how they affect your photo
If you set a small aperture such as f8 or f16 then more of the image will be in focus. If you open up the aperture to f4 or wider then the focus will ‘fall-off’ – giving you the cool, modern look as seen in most food shots, craft photos, jewellery pics etc. This works well for smaller items. I use it for the buttons & other features on knitted items for ETSY pics.
Remember to adjust the shutter speed up or down, depending on what your aperture is set to to get back to the correct overall exposure. Jot down your settings for future use.
How to take consistent white background photos:
Build yourself a light tent using a large, rigid cardboard box.
- Cut apertures in the sides and top & use diffuser paper such as baking paper and shine lights through the sides.
- A roll of shiny poster paper can provide an ‘infinite’ background with no seams.
- If your light sources are too yellow, adjust the white balance to Tungsten (lamp symbol) on your camera or afterwards in software.
- LED lamps are cheap and produce clean, white light.
- Batch process all your pics for consistency.
- Even good smartphones will produce great photos using a light tent.
- Ideally you should use a tripod or some kind of support for your camera or phone, especially with slow shutter speeds.
See a couple of YouTube videos below. Try different diffusing materials to suit your products & light sources. White crepe paper works well too and can be replaced if it gets damaged. If you want a more organic look, use props. Plenty of ideas online..
More product shot tips are over at ETSY – click here
EOS M camera manual is online at:
Graphics | photography for ETSY Shop:
Author: James Burke