This Instructable is to tell everyone a few of the tips I have learned over the years to take professional looking pictures. I use these pictures mostly for Ebay or anything that I want to look nice. These tips are both easy to do and very cheap.
Now, keep in mind a good quality camera is the first step in taking good pictures. But these tips should help make the pictures taken with cheaper cameras look much better too.
By the way, this is a picture for a future Ebay auction of mine. It is the special color variant statue of the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. I chose to feature these pictures because the statue if kind of hard to take pictures of. It is kind of shiny and has many details that need to be shown to make a good auction photo.
Step 1: Tip 1 - the Background
There is a very easy and cheap solution to a great looking matte white backdrop. Can you tell what I use for this?
Plain white poster board that you can buy in any store. Surprised? So was I when I tried it.
Just to prove it to the naysayers out there, I took a few step back from my item to show you my setup. And yes, I know my room is kind of messy.
Step 2: Tip 2 - Filter Your Flash
I've found that the flash bulb in digital cameras is normally a little too bright and seems to wash out the color and can hide important details. The flash is fine for pictures taken in day to day situations, but not always for for up close product photos.
Note: All pictures in this Instructable were taken using only the camera flash and my bed room's ceiling light. This would get much better results with additional lights.
The pictures in this step are arranged in the following order:
1. Taken with the normal flash.
2. Taken without a flash.
3. Taken with my surprisingly good flash filter. It dulls down the flash, but not the color or details.
I also have a sequence of pictures of me demonstrating using this filter. Ready to know what it is?
A regular hot glue stick. Yeah, I know. I don't even know why I tried it one day, but it really surprised me how well it works. It is not perfect, but it does greatly reduce the glare. It also seems to enhance the fine details. So, if you are having trouble taking a picture of something that is shiny try using this glue stick method.
It is not completely even light coverage, probably because glue sticks are round. I would guess that if you could make a perfectly flat dab of hot glue, it would be a lot better. It would probably not have as dark of a background either. The method still needs to be refined.
The last picture is the show a cheap and effective red filter effect. Just put your finger over the flash bulb.
Step 3: Tip 3 - a Simple Stand
Sometimes, you will want an item to be propped up slightly so that it faces toward the camera. This normally creates a much more dynamic photo.
The easiest stand that I've found uses the same material as the flash filter. Hot glue sticks.
The temporary stand I used in these pictures is simply held together with a rubber band, but using a hot glue gun, you can add a little bit of hot glue between the sticks to make it all a uniform material and the same color.
One benefit of using hot glue as a stand is that it is strong enough to support weight without being crushed or broken. Also it has a lot of grip to it, so the object being propped up is less likely to slide off. The main advantage of a hot glue stick stand is that it is not really opaque or transparent. Due to this property, it can kind of blend in to the background. This allows it to appear much less obvious than other stands I have used.
Step 4: A Neat Trick
While taking the pictures for this Instructable, I lost the small key that turns the Matrix of Leadership on. I thought it might be under my shelves, but I couldn't see. So I put my camera slightly under them and took a picture. Not only did this let me know it was under the shelves, but the picture showed me where exactly it was.