Tips for beauty bloggers: editing product photos

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ugh, I probably shouldn’t film while in a wheat-coma in the future :P Anyhow; enjoy the video, and don’t forget that you can watch fullscreen in HD! (Highly encouraged. Highly.)

Tips for beauty bloggers: Photoshopping faces

Monday, June 13, 2011

After (too long) of a delay, I’m pleased to introduce our next instalment in Tips For Beauty Bloggers. Whether you’re a fellow blogger, a photography fiend, or just another Joe the Plumber looking to clean up some photos, I hope you enjoy this post!

I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to do this as a video, and in the end, I decided it would be best to. I’ve uploaded it to Vimeo (we’re still avoiding YouTube, at least for now) in HD format, so I’d definitely encourage you to view it fullscreen - seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

(Yes, I’m still childishly amused by the wonders of the internet. Now shh; less mocking and more watching!)

If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, please link back to this post. A project like this one takes a lot of time and effort, so I’d really appreciate it if you could refrain from embedding the video on your own sites. Thanks!

(Read more…)

The Infinity Effect: comparison photos

Friday, May 20, 2011

I promised some comparison shots to follow Wednesday’s Infinity Effect How-To, so here they are!

All images here are un-photoshopped – save for cropping and resizing – and feature the infinity effect backdrop on the right. (Left = lightbox). They’ve all been taken in indirect sunlight without flash support and enlarge to ~1000px if you click on them. (If this was a product review post or something, I’d also tweak the colour balance and curves of the image, which is why they might look a little different from usual.)

Small objects

I snapped a few shots of Clinique’s new Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer to show this one off, and it’s with your small objects that you’ll see the least difference between the two. (Clinique foundation bottles are about 3″/8cm tall.)

Tonally, they’re a little different, but probably won’t see much of a difference between a lightbox and an infinity effect backdrop if you’re just photographing small products. (The lightbox does produce slightly softer lighting, though, as it sort of bounces around off its sides.)

Large objects

Once things get a little taller, I think the differences become more noticeable – with soft sunlight coming in from my window at a bit of an angle, the lightbox sort of forms shadows within itself.

The product featured below is the Redken Nature’s Rescue shampoo, which is about 7″/16cm tall. Here are the photos as they’d appear from the camera:

Read more…

Tips for beauty bloggers: the infinity effect

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I had fully intended to make a larger lightbox (and create a tutorial with it) when I realized that, well, there’s simply no need. I don’t actually use my lightbox as a lightbox – moreso as a backdrop than anything else – so I figured, what the heck, right?

Anyhow. I’m calling it “The Infinity Effect,” because that’s what it’s for and I’m dazzlingly uncreative.

Choose a lightbox if: you want something that can be set up with artificial lights

Choose the infinity effect if: you want to shoot larger objects, you want something very low-effort, or you always shoot in natural light

1. Gather your materials.

That is: a box, a large pair of scissors, a pen or pencil, packing tape, and white (or black, or grey) bristol board.

The box doesn’t have to be anything fancy, though you could certainly choose a more aesthetically appealing box if you wanted! I’m just using a canola oil box from the market – want not, waste not, right? If you haven’t any packing tape, feel free to use plenty of scotch or masking tape instead, or even just liberal amounts of glue.

2. Prep the paper

Keep on reading!

Tips for beauty bloggers: surfaces and backgrounds

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

After weeks and weeks a few days of deliberation, I decided to start with “the setup” as our first “tips for beauty bloggers” post. There are a ton of things that I’d like to cover, from exposure to focusing to blur brushes and healing brushes and unicorn brushes* and cameras, but this one seemed to be the most general… so we’re starting with it.

Disclaimer: the posts in this series reflect my own views on photography and Photoshop. There are about a million and five ways (that’s a real statistic, that is) to do any of these things, but these just happen to be the ways that I, personally, like to do them. So please, please, please – take everything with a grain of salt!

Alright. So I understand that you can shoot on (literally) anything, whether it’s a bathroom countertop or a rhinoceros’ back. But here’s the thing: you really, really shouldn’t. Chances are, the rhino will eat your pretty new lipstick, and the shot will be ruined.

Here are a few lists of backgrounds to consider – there should be something in there for everyone!

If you’re shooting… something small

- A white tabletop is my first choice, though a black tabletop or a large piece of white or black bristol board are also good options.

- A standardized background, like a bed of rocks, wrapping tissue, or grass. I’m not a huge fan of this, because I think it tends to distract from the product, but some bloggers manage to make it work!

- A press release: simple, relevant, and easy.

- Your cat! That is, if he or she will stay still long enough… (kudos to Karen at MABB for putting it into practice and bringing it onto everyone’s radar, of course).

If you’re shooting… something standing

- A lightbox. This allows you to stand up your products and maintain an “infinity effect,” not to mention that it helps with lighting! (And speaking of lighting – we’ll talk about lightboxes more when we post about it, and perhaps share a DIY.)

- A white surface and a white wall. It doesn’t have the lovely seamlessness of a lightbox, but is the next best thing!

- A clean window ledge. Mine aren’t flat so it isn’t usually an option for me, but Karen does a lovely job with this if you’re looking for examples.

If you’re shooting… a face

- White-backed curtains! I cannot stress enough how absolutely amazing these are. Not only do they create a single point of focus (your face), but they basically create a giant lightbox. The result? A ridiculously flattering photo, every time.

- Tee hee, the twelve-year-old in me is quietly gleeful over being able to use “your face,” on its own, in a non-offensive manner.

- White walls – best if you shoot with flash support, as there are very few walls that are close to windows, and optimal for medium to dark skintones to make your face really “pop”

- Dark backgrounds – best for fair skintones and/or hair colours… but don’t attempt if your camera is really low-contrast!

- Light, light, light. This is a hard one to get right, consistently, but it can lead to just the most divine images. This is as close as I’ve gotten, but damn, I’d love to figure it out!

A few of my pet peeves

- Messy backgrounds and bathroom countertops. Whether or not you throw your clothes on the floor is your business, but splashing it all over the internet? Unprofessional, and potentially embarrassing!

- FOTD shots taken in the car. Just… all over, no. Whether you’re a passenger or the driver (!!!), it always either freaks me out or creeps me out. It’s not that hard to wait a couple minutes and take it when you get out!

- Dirty products. I know, I know, it’s not a surface, nor is it a background, but I had to at least give it a mention! If you’ve already used the product, take a minute to wipe away any astray product with a tissue or q-tip. It’s always, always worth the extra effort.

 

Any more tips? Questions? Hit us up in the comments! I still have a plethora of topics to cover, but… all in good time ;)

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