It’s a scorcher today, but I am used to it. The only way I can get lovely photos with that soft glowing light is to be outside. So this is how my day goes, I wake up, make breakfast, feed my dogs, then cover myself in mosquito repellant. Yep. Doesn’t sound glamorous and it isn’t. I smell like bug spray and then I melt after only 15 minutes of being outside… which means sweat and bug spray are rolling down my back and legs and arms. UGH! So I come inside every 15 minutes to recover then back outside again for some more photos.
Why am I telling you this? I want to show you my set up, because it’s SO cheap and easy. You don’t need much! You don’t need to go out and spend money on a light box or a backdrop or anything. If you want to do product photography or styled stock photography all you need is a backyard, porch, or large window that lets in plenty of light. I don’t have a large window in my house, so I go outside on the back porch.
I bought a roll of paper from Michael’s that was under $5. I already had white foam board which I placed under the paper to make the area of the paper where I set the props more stable. I used tape to secure it to a picnic table that is on the back porch. If you live in a small apartment and have a balcony you could just use a chair or the wall and tape your roll of paper to it.
What You Need to Create Styled Stock Photos
- Roll of Paper
- Foam Board (if the surface the paper is on isn’t smooth or flat)
- Bench, Chair, Wall, or Table
- Sunny Window or Shade Outside
So now that you have what you need set up your area for taking photos. You can look at my set up to get ideas, it’s nothing special. I have a tray I use to take props outside but I am thinking about getting a couple storages on wheels so I can leave the props outside. It would make it easier for styling photos. (The tray also doubles as a background for some of my photos.)
Tips for Styling Your Photos
- Make sure to use your space wisely, take your time to set up the photo
- Take photos from all angles till you find a good one you like
- Take time to check the photo for any errors (dust on the paper backdrop, white space that looks out of place, alignment of props)
- Take time to set the photo up, don’t rush yourself
- Add more props, if the photo doesn’t seem to come alive you might be missing something (for example an extra lemon or a vase with flowers, a spoon or fork)
- Style objects in an odd number (like 3 or 7 instead of 2 or 4, an odd number is more pleasing to the eye)
- Choose a color theme before you get started
- Leave white space so you can add styled text later in your software program (like Photoshop or Illustrator)
- You don’t need a ton of props! Look around your house and use things you already have!
Camera Tips for Taking Styled Photos
- Hold the camera very steady or use a tripod for sharper photos
- Raise ISO just a little bit so that you can increase the shutter speed (the faster the shutter speed the less chance of a blurry or slightly unsharp photo)
- Depending on the type of styled photos you are going for, you quite possibly want everything in focus, so use an aperture of around 8-11
- Take your photos in RAW so that you can correct the white balance and edit your photo with no damage to the image.
This hobby is creative and fun, but can also improve your business or blog! Remember with practice you will continue to improve! Do not get discouraged! You will succeed if you just get out and try. Don’t give up, even if it’s 100 degrees outside! 🙂