I often get asked, "what do people really need to take great photos". The truth is, you can start with very little. Every photographer is going to find what works best for them, but here are the basics you need to get started.
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I know you already know this but hear me out. Your phone is good enough. I started my photography business using my phone. When I first started I couldn't afford to get a camera and wanted to start helping people. When I switched over to my camera (this is the one I have and love) no one seemed to notice. Now, I will say that using an actual camera does give you more flexibility with shooting and allows images to be sharper.
Using the sun is a perfect way to get started. It's cheap and really does have great lighting for photos. Cloudy days or a shady spot can give you the best lighting to work with.
I found that I often need to shoot at night after my little ones are in bed. So I purchased this Neewer Ring light. I love that it is easy to store, and it gives me great light for my shoots, without having to rely on mother nature.
You can purchase photography reflectors. However, I have found that a simple trifold board cut horizontally works well too. This gives me 2 reflectors very cheaply. With them being trifold I am able to set them up where I need some extra light without having to try to hold them.
You can start with a table in your house, or even your floor or a cute rug. If you like the clean look of a white background then a white poster board will do the trick. I may be a bit of a background junkie. I can turn just about anything into a photo background, but these are a few of my favorite places to get backgrounds.
Scrap Book Paper - If you are doing a small set up then this is the way to go. Finding a set that you love and matches branding can be pretty simple and it gives you multiple ways to showcase your products within a color scheme. I also like to use it with my other background to add pops of color.
Amazon - Some of myfavorite backdrops are the ones I bought on Amazon. They are simple shelf liners in different prints. I add them to a poster board to help them stay flat. I have learned to make sure the ones you are getting are a matte finish. I have several that don't take great photos because they reflect too much light.
Etsy - I love Ink and Elm on Etsy, I buy their photo back drops in either 2' x 2' or 2' x 3' size and it is perfect for my set up. They do cost a bit more than the other options, but the quality is so much better and worth the little bit extra.
If I thought I had too many backgrounds, then I definitely have way too many props. My husband often rolls his eyes as I bring more bags in. I love having seasonal props and school supplies in certain colors to meet the needs of my photos. That said here are a few that I keep coming back too.
My Favorite Pens and Pencils - I keep a couple that I haven't used to make sure they look nice for photos.
A keyboard - I bought a smaller wireless one to use in my photos. You can use the one with your computer or even your laptop. Having a small one is nice to save space in your set up.
School Supplies - Whatever you use in your classroom can be used as a prop. I do my best to hide brand names by turning items upside down or by layering something on top. Sticky notes are a great way to hide names on notebooks and other bigger items.
Plants - I can't keep them alive so I have some that are fake in my office for photos.
Glasses - I love the glasses I got from the dollar tree. To help them not reflect I popped out the lens.
6. Your Products
Of course the best part of your photos are your products. I like to print mine on cardstock. This allows for me to layer the products on top of each other or bright colored backgrounds without anything showing through in my photos.
I hope that I have been able to help you with the basics of what you need to get started. If you would like more photography help please don't forget to sign up below for tips, tricks, and freebies sent to your inbox.