I cannot even begin to stress how important covershots are. Good covershots get you more likes on your items, more followers and more sales. If people like what they see, they are more inclined to click on that little blue buy button.
Which would you buy?
Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer and neither do I claim to be a professional photographer. I am a self taught amateur photographer but I like to think that I am slowly improving. 🙂
There are too many aspects to a good covershot and I cannot possibly squeeze everything into one post so we will just start with the basics today: what camera are you using and what photo editing software and apps are out there. I will cover flat lay/top view covershots and modeled covershots in more detail in later blog posts so do check back if you like this one!
tHE cAMERA PHONE
IPHONE 6/6 PLUS
- 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels
- ƒ/2.2 aperture
- Panorama (up to 43 megapixels)
IPHONE 6s/6s PLUS
- 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels
- ƒ/2.2 aperture
- Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
SAMSUNG GALAXY S6
- x8 optic zoom
Both the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy come equipped with really good cameras that can take crisp and clean covershots. If you are on a budget, there really is no need to purchase a digital camera. As long as you practice taking photos, you will eventually get better. Once you find your own inner style, you just need to polish it.
iphone/android photography apps
1. Camera+ – $2.99
- Adds professional features like exposure, shutter speed and white balance.
- Photo editing software and filters also available
- Allows you to adjust the color and brighten photos before you even take them!
- In-depth guide on how to use Camera+ here! This guide is very thorough and you will not regret bookmarking it if you decide to download the app!
2. Camera Zoom FX – $2.99
- Rated #1 in Android camera apps
- App that adds more features to your Android camera
- I do not have a guide for this one but if anyone knows of a good one, feel free to comment!
IPHONE/ANDROID PHOTO EDITING APPS
PicLab and Phonto are my favorite apps for creating text images. You can also edit contrast, saturation, brightness, exposure and more in PicLab. Other apps you can use to create text images are Rhonna Designs, Word Swag, A Beautiful Mess and Typic. Also see Canva for the iPad. You probably wouldn’t need all of these apps; just get comfortable with one or two and you’re set!
- A global community of creatives
- Hundreds of photo editing tools
- Customizable filters and effects – Also see Fotograf, VSCO
- Text, sticker, and image overlays
- Collage maker – Also see LiPix, InstaCollage
- Photo camera
- Drawing and painting tools with layers
- Advanced artistic brushes
My go-to apps for removing acne and making myself look taller or thinner (yes, you read this right!). The one thing I dislike about these two apps is skin edits can often turn out pore-less and unrealistic looking. But if you’re just trying to remove that annoying pimple from your photo, these two apps will suffice. Also see Facetune.
I personally don’t like using PS Express mainly because I use Photoshop CC regularly. But if you need a quick photo edit, PS Express will work fine.
1. Gorillapod ($15)
Flexible little tripod that doesn’t take up that much space. Easy to use and inexpensive.
Another user favorite is the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens ($79). This includes a Fisheye lens, a Wide-Angle lens, a 10x Macro lens and a 15x Macro lens. I recommend iPhone lenses to anyone who is intending to do serious product photography on a smartphone. If you’re just taking 1-5 covershots per week, there is absolutely no need to purchase these.
THE DSLR CAMERA
I will be skipping point and shoot cameras altogether since almost everyone has a camera phone. If you do want to read about point and shoot cameras, go here. This post will mainly cover DSLR camera settings and photo editing techniques. DSLR cameras have a pretty high price point. Not only do you have to set aside money for the camera body, you’ll need to purchase lenses as well so don’t buy one unless you are intending to use it regularly. PC Magazine has a great list of DSLRs here.
So you’ve bought a DSLR, now what?
There are three settings you need to know well. Read your instruction manual and learn how to change each of these three settings on your new camera!
- Controls the exposure/brightness by adjusting sensitivity to light
- When I’m taking photos outdoors in bright sunlight, I leave my ISO at about 100
- As your surroundings get darker (transitioning to night time, in the shade, overcast sky), you will need to increase the ISO. As ISO increases, you get more grainy looking photos.
Low ISO. Picture is very clear. You can see the details very clearly.
High ISO. Picture is less crisp. You can see the grainy texture particularly well on the ceiling of the photo.
2. Shutter Speed
- How fast your shutter opens and closes.
- Fast shutter speeds let you capture split second motion. All stop motion photos make use of fast shutter speeds
- Slow shutter speeds let you create a blurred effect. Now you’re thinking “why would I need a blur photo?”. Well, you can get really cool effects with blurred photos. See examples below.
Captured at slow shutter speed. The blur effect can add an extra something to your photos!
High shutter speeds help you stop motion and it can be a great way to spice up stock photography in your closet!
- Controls how much light enters the lens.
- A smaller f-stop allows more light to enter and you are able to create pictures with a great amount of selective focus (i.e. your target appears very clear while everything else is blurred).
- A larger f-stop allows less light to enter and everything in your photograph appears sharp and in focus.
A small f-stop helps keeps your target in focus but anything in front of or behind of your target gets blurred. This helps people quickly identify what you are emphasizing on your photo.
A larger f-stop helps keep everything in focus. I usually max out my f-stop when I take stock photos in a studio so all the details stand out clearly.
If you want to learn more about how these settings affect your photos, you can go here!
Editing goes hand in hand with photography. If you would like to make your pictures “pop” I would suggest you learn the basics of photo editing. That said, you do not have to learn Photoshop, there are many other types of photo editing software out there. I like Photoshop mostly because there are guides everywhere. This makes it easier to learn especially when you do not have the money to attend an actual class on it. I will be posting some of the guides I’ve used.
1. Adjusting exposure/contrast/saturation/tone/RGB
- Always shoot in RAW and here are 10 reasons why
- It is easier to correct underexposed or overexposed photos in Photoshop with a RAW file
- I adjust the curves to get a brighter and more saturated look on my photos
- I used this guide to learn everything I currently use
2. Dodge and burn
- Lighten and darken certain areas in an image
- Photos that feature a dramatic sky use this technique
- Watch this video to learn how to use dodge and burn
- Get that magazine worthy smooth skin
- Airbrushing techniques over here!
4. Frequency Separation
- Correcting color and texture
- Remove wrinkles, age lines and oil shine on faces
- This guide taught me everything I know
Here is a before and after of techniques 3 + 4 on one of my photos:
I hope this little guide helps someone out there! I know it got a little technical at the end but I tried to word it as simply as I could. Next up will be a post on elements of a good product photo, what type of pictures people prefer and how to set up a simple desk top studio for flat lays, jewelry and accessories!