How to Take Product Photos at Home

Ever feel like you need to take your Instagram or blog photos to the next level? I always feel like I need to make my images better, so if you feel that way, you're not alone. When I first created my Instagram account, I primarily used it to connect with friends and family without any pressures of tapping into my creative powers.  I had deleted my Facebook account (gasp!) and wanted to just connect with my people.  Then, Instagram started to become the place to market your business and images started to look even better than before.

I've chatted with a few friends who are stuck on how to shoot their products without using professional grade photography equipment and want to use things around the house because like most people, there's a tight budget to work with.  Well, I'll let you in a little secret - I like to take short cuts and spend my moolah on necessities, like coffee.  So today, I will show you how you can set up a little studio in your home using household items and home décor.

To do this, I will use my friend Kris' products (you can read my review on her hair products here). Things I used:

  • a window with great natural light
  • 2 pieces of foam board
  • chair and table
  • unused staples still together
  • a few home décor pieces
  • paper towel holder
Found this on my coffee table.

Found this on my coffee table.

Since I'm using hair products, and because I have a bunch of tropical beachy things around my house, I decided to go with a spa-like theme.  I simply walked around my house and gathered a few items that I think will reflect that theme.

There are two places in my house that the natural light through the windows are on point - my bedroom and my dining room. By the time I gathered all of my props, the lighting in the dining room was winning, so I set up my "studio" in there.

 Usually, I lay the boards flat on the floor, but the way the lighting was, it was better to set it up on the chair.  It's also easier for me to show you how to set up on the chair opposed to trying to describe it with words, so here we are.

When I first started shooting weddings and portraits, I used to get hung up on my equipment. I wanted to buy all sorts of things to prove to myself that I can shoot better images.  This is a lie. Yes, equipment and tools are important, but it's been said over and over again that the important thing is the photographer's eye and not the camera.  It's not until I had a solid portfolio and a full schedule that convinced me of this.  So, in case it helps, it's not about your equipment but what you do with what you have.

Other than buying home decor, the only items that I bought specifically for our DIY studio, are the boards which was less than $5 for the pair.  That coral usually sits on my bathroom vanity, the air plant (which is fake) is usually on my desk, the turtle you saw above chills on my coffee table and the palms sit in a vase on my kitchen buffet.  When I tell you to look around your house for props, really - look. around. your. house. If you have Littles, you can even get them involved and make a game out of looking for props. It can be fun to see what they come up with.

Here, I'm shooting with my camera, but if all you have is your phone - use your phone.  Camera phones are absolutely equipped for this and you can use a photo editing app on your phone to make adjustments.  I recommend Snapseed - I wrote about it here.

I used these boards and my dining table as  backdrops for these photos.  I spent about 45 minutes gathering items, setting up, taking photos and putting everything away.  For those of you who have a 9-to-5, I know it can be difficult to get photos done before the sun goes down but 45 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday isn't much.  You can get a good set of images and spread them out over the next week for Instagram or Facebook posts or even break it down into 2, maybe 3 blog posts.  Just because you take photos today, doesn't mean you need to post them all today.  Think of it this way, some people meal prep; cook and prep meals for the week.  We take photos and prep posts for the week.

agirlinspired monat 6.jpg

One more thing - if you have items that can roll away, you can find regular items around the house to keep it from rolling away without it being seen in your images.  Here, I used staples. Easy. Peasy.

I propped the white board beside the product to bounce a little light against it.  If you want to reflect the light to soften the shadow on the right of the product, you can use foil.

I propped the white board beside the product to bounce a little light against it.  If you want to reflect the light to soften the shadow on the right of the product, you can use foil.

If you want me to tag along as you do a prop search around your house, I'm on Hangouts or Skype.  Just hit me up!

Happy shooting and share your images with me on Instagram! Would love to see what you do!

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