Photography Tricia Chatter

Product Photography for Civilians

As I peruse the internet (namely Etsy, Ebay, and various blogs), I’m noticing that there are a lot of really bad product shots happening.  I’m talking dark photos, blurry photos… or you just really can’t see what it is the person is trying to sell.

Whether you’re a blogger or brand spankin’ new entrepreneur, there really is no reason for awful photography.  I’m not saying that everyone has a pro photographer in them, but allow me to give you a few tips.

(All of you professional and newbie amateur photographers, stop reading now.  I’m using my getto gorilla style methods and this may pain you to see).

photo(Product shot I took this of my favorite night skin oil from a little shop down south in Boca Raton, FL.  This was taken with my iPhone at about 9am this morning in the shade.)

Here are a few very low budget methods and steps in taking a product shots for your small business or blog:

The camera:   You don’t need a professional camera to take photos. Get started with your smart phone or even your cheap Kodak point & shoot will do the trick (if you can turn the flash off).  It’s amazing how beautiful iPhone photographs come out.

Lights:  You can get by without one of those fancy shmancy light kits, just photograph your items outside.  Lighting is best in the early morning, late afternoon just before dusk, and on cloudy days.  On cloudy days, clouds act as filters and distribute the light more evenly, therefore omitting ugly shadows.  We don’t want dramatic shadows in your product shot.  We want attractive, softly lit product.  You want to be able to read the detail on your product.

Background:  Keep it neutral.  As a general rule, I use white craft paper.  For this face oil product shot, I used a towel to give texture and because this product is something you usually use in the bathroom as your nightly beauty routine. There’s a good article on Etsy about styling photos and showing how they’ll be used.


Edit:  There are so many easy and FREE photo editing tools available online that you can use.  If you use your iPhone to shoot your product shot with, you can use instagram to lighten your photos (and promote your image/product at the same time) or use other photo apps like Phototastic, Fhotoroom, and many more.  In these programs you can lighten your image by increasing the exposure if you get a dark shot or shadows.  Bump up the contrast to bring more depth and color.  Even your gmail (Picasa) or Google+ account offers a totally free photo editing suite for you point and shooters.  Just go into the “picture” area of your Google+ account and upload your photo.  You’ll be awestruck at what you can do with it in there.  You can even crop in the Google+.


This is just to get you started on photographing your products effectively so that people can actually see what you’re trying to relay or illustrate.

Next up:  how to photograph product shots once you get that mid-level Nikon or Canon.

Events People Photography Places

Queen Anne Day Photographs


Saturday was nugget heaven during the Queen Anne Day festivities…


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Dad scored some balloons for later…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-23

Queen Anne Ave before the running of the bulls…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-27

The local Presbyterian Churchchattergoldstudiosqueenanne-29

And who doesn’t love some Papa Smurfchattergoldstudiosqueenanne-39

Shopping the sidewalk sales…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-40 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-41

Most of the festivities occurred at the Community Center…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-38

Love this photo of a little girl coming out of the Bounce House…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-15

All the local nuggets seemed to have the time of their lives.  Then again, it is the bounce house, c’mon!

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Crafts are fun…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-13 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-12 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-11

Cute nuggets were everywhere…chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-7 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-8 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-10 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-9 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-6 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-5 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-4 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-3 chattergoldstudiosqueenanne-2

Queen Anne Day photographs. Festivities began early morning and lasted through the evening, ending with a “Running With the Bulls” -which in reality, were people running with dogs dressed as bulls or paper maché bulls. Good clean fun.

Photography Tricia Chatter

Today’s Deep Moment: Waiting For the Bounce House


I walked around the Queen Anne Day festivities and found myself entranced by the little ones waiting outside of the bounce house.  They were waiting oh-so-patiently, so earnestly, for their turn at what seemed to be ultimate joy.  Suddenly, I yearned to jump in the bounce house, too.  Then I realized, aren’t we all yearning for our turn in the bounce house?

Tricia Chatter

5 Observations About Seattle So Far


As most of you know, I relocated to Seattle about 2 months ago from my year and a half stint in Florida.  Before Florida, I lived in NYC for over ten years.   I was only used to the ways of the east coast.  Now that I’m on the west coast, I’m learning how much I like it and how different it is.   Here are my observations so far:

1.  People in Seattle are very polite.
Cars will actually stop to let you cross the road.
People don’t confront people who cut them in line.
They smile politely if your gaze meets theirs.
It’s like living in an alternate reality, especially in comparison to living in NYC where you’re dodging cars and cabs on the sidewalk and avoiding peoples’ stares.  In south Florida, if your eyes lock with someone they think you’re either hitting on them or starting a fight.  Go figure.

2.  Summer here is glorious. It’s 70 degrees and there is no humidity.  Everything is beyond green and flowering.  This just might be heaven.  (Not to worry, I know what lies ahead in winter and I have the Smiths, Deathcab for Cutie, and Postal Service already downloaded onto my iPhone).

3.  There is happy hour foodAnd it’s good.  You don’t encounter this in NYC because it would just never happen in the land of $25 burgers and $9 beers. In south Florida, they would call it the “early bird special” but the types of restaurants that serve the “early bird special” serve horrendous food.  In Seattle, the nibbles are quite delicious.  For $5 you get a quality meal, whether it’s beef stew or a cheeseburger with double fried fries, made from real potatoes, not the frozen kind.  I say “Well played, Seattle.”  Lure me in with good, cheap food so I have a proper foundation to drink your full priced drinks excessively.

4.  It’s really hilly here and people park on both sides of the road.   I’m used to driving on gridded, flat land.  Driving up hills and down them is a whole new adventure.  I can almost hear my car moan as it climbs the steep hill of Queen Anne Ave.  People park on both sides of the road here which results in your avoiding oncoming traffic because there just ‘ain’t room for the both of you on the road.

5.  Avoid Pike and 3rd Ave downtown if you can.  Meth dealers apparently congregate here from all areas of Seattle to sell to the meth heads.  I’ve heard that meth dealers literally commute from other cities to sell there.  There are some interesting characters soliciting the streets in that area and it’s a shame because it’s so central to tourism.  Granted, I’m quite used to dodging junkies and homeless people.  I did live in NYC.

Next up: Stating the obvious… Seattle loves coffee.  I’ll list my favorite coffee houses in one of my upcoming posts…and what differentiates one from the other and why.