My DIY Product Photography on the Cheap: Hits and Misses

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm super happy to spend money when it comes to my wardrobe, but I'm super stingy in all other facets of my life and that sometimes applies to what I do in growing my side hustle. 

Because I run an apparel side hustle, (i.e. the GENUINES/GENSapparel brand), I need to do product photography. Here are the hits and misses, dos and don'ts of my latest product photography adventure. 

Hits: The Dos
1) White Bristol Board: $2 

What you'll need include, two pieces of white bristol board, this will essentially cost you maybe $1-$2 depending on the dollar store you go to. 

2) Smart Phone: Typically Free

You can invest (or have invested) in a fancy DSLR camera and don't get me wrong, those cameras are amazing. However, if you don't have one or don't have access to one, there's no need to invest in one. You can get shots that are just as good on new smart phones or tablets.


3) Bounce Cards/Reflectors 0-$4

This can be anything from another piece of bristol board, a white glossy cardboard box or some foam board, folded in half to bounce the light off and get a nice even tone in your products. If you rely on overhead lighting, you'll get some extra reflection that looks like this: 

It's fine if that's the intended effect but sucks if you don't want that glare in there and instead want a nice even tone. Overall you'd probably be spending $6 on this photo shoot depending on what you already own and will end up with some killer product photos.  

Misses: The Don'ts

1) Incandescent Light 



I know it's appealing to just use whatever light you have available to you. However, unless it's a fluorescent light bulb or even better, natural light, don't bother unless you want to spend a lot more time with your DSLR camera or in Lightroom trying to get the white balance right. If you're using a smart phone, use the best light available to you. 

Behold! The horrors of yellow product photos: 

I know, I know, not the prettiest site but you had to see it. 

You don't want to spend a ton of time working on product photography and realize editing will take you twice as long. Or worse, you don't think it's even worth editing the photos. You want your photos to be as crisp and nice as possible out the gate so you don't have to spend too much time editing and you don't have to invest in pricey photo editing software. Plus, let's face it, editing this photo would kind of feel like polishing a turd - not fun.


Hit me up in the comments if you want some cheap photo editor recommendations. In the meantime, stay GENUINES! 




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