Category Archives: Information

Product Photography for Amazon

Amazon have strict rules for the images used on Amazon Marketplace and using a commercial photographer can alleviate the problems caused when trying to produce your own images.

For the main product image:

  • The image must be the cover art or a professional photograph of the product being sold. Drawings or illustrations of the product are not allowed.
  • The image must not contain gratuitous or confusing additional objects.
  • The image must be in focus, professionally lit and photographed or scanned, with realistic colour, and smooth edges.
  • All other products should fill 85% or more of the image frame.
  • The full product must be in frame.
  • Backgrounds must be pure white (RGB 255,255,255).

For additional other view images:

  • The image must be of, or pertain to, the product being sold.
  • The image must be in focus, professionally lit and photographed or scanned, with realistic colour, and smooth edges.
  • Other products or objects are allowed to help demonstrate the use or scale of product.
  • The product and props should fill 85% or more of the image frame.
  • Cropped or close-up images are allowed.
  • Backgrounds and environments are allowed.
  • Text and demonstrative graphics are allowed.

I am able to produce images ready for you to upload which comply 100% with these site standards and show your products at their best.

Colour
Product images must show correct colour and to achieve this I have custom profiles created for my camera under various lighting conditions (using the x-rite color checker) and colour-calibrated monitors to check your product has been accurately reproduced.

Sharpness and Consistency
To achieve perfect focus and sharpness, high power studio strobe lighting is used with consistent colour temperature and intensity. The combination of this small aperture and fast shutter speed combined with a professional Nikkor macro lens attached to a 36 megapixel Nikon D800 camera produces an outstanding image.

Perfect Backgrounds
Images are then post-processed in Photoshop to remove any imperfections and clipping paths drawn to achieve the pure white background. Shadows and reflections can be removed if required.

Below is an image I produced recently for Ongaro, an online retailer of women’s fashion – special occasion shoes, bags, clothes and accessories.

Product photograph of shoe

If you require product photography for your business please email me or call 0797 301741 to discuss your requirements.

Also posted in Services

A Wedding Photography Checklist

Recently I photographed a wedding and knew that a lot of the confidence I felt on the day had come from the thorough preparation I had done before the event, knowing I was prepared for any eventuality.

Hopefully this checklist I used will help other photographers make sure they’re fully prepared too.

  • Main camera body with battery (charged) and formatted memory card(s)
  • Spare body with battery (charged) and formatted memory card(s)
  • Spare battery for each body (charged)
  • Additional formatted memory cards
  • 2 standard range lenses (cleaned)
  • Wide angle lens (cleaned)
  • Medium telephoto lens (cleaned)
  • Macro lens (cleaned)
  • Speedlight with batteries
  • Spare speedlight with batteries
  • Extra batteries for speedlight/camera grip
  • Light stand and umbrella (x2 if weather prevents outdoor formal portraits)
  • Wireless flash trigger (transmitter and receiver)
  • Tripod and head
  • Reflector
  • Cable release
  • Light meter
  • Lens cloth, pen and blower
  • Proof of Public Liability cover

If you think I’ve missed something off then please comment below. You could obviously take even more kit but this is what I needed to feel I had all bases covered.

The Cost of Commercial Photography

In the digital photography era, more and more people are thinking, I could just do it myself, professional photography is just too expensive.

Purchasing your own equipment

So I put this to the test by researching the cost of lower-end professional equipment. This is very much the bare minimum required.

Camera (d800 or similar)- £2000
Lenses (Macro, wide angle and standard zoom Nikkor lenses) £2500
Studio lights and modifiers £600
Speedlight £250
Random accessories £300
Tripod £150
Desktop PC for processing high resolution images (colour calibrated with external backup) £1000
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop £700
Public liability and private indemnity cover £300
Studio background and supports £200

Add to this the cost of obtaining a Degree level qualification and the non-quantifiable value of years of experience and you might find yourself thinking that actually professional photography is quite a bargain!

Assuming you’ve been quoted £400 for a job, you would have to do 20 of these assignments just to cover the costs of equipment. The training, years of experience and the cost for your own time would still need to be factored in!

Maybe the answer lies in renting equipment and hoping your skills are up to the job. These are the prices from Calumet rental (which guarantee price matching)

One day hire

Nikon D800 £100
Macro, wide angle and standard zoom Nikkor lenses £96
Speedlight £18
Tripod £20
Background £18
Studio lights and background support £90
Spare battery £8

So a total of £350 (15% more if you have no rental equipment insurance) and again no allowance for your own time and necessary training. Bear in mind that you also have no insurance and you will need to find somewhere to process the images. After all this, are you convinced your images would be as good as a professional would produce because it has cost you the same and used up hours of your valuable time?

As is so often the case, it just makes more sense to get a professional in.

Using 105mm micro lens with TC-17EII as a medium telephoto

The Nikkor 105mm VR micro lens is well known as a great macro lens and also a good portrait lens. Further Google searching revealed it could be used with the TC-17EII to increase the magnification with superb results. See here for examples.

What I couldn’t find was how it fared as a 180mm medium telephoto lens for distant subjects. Here are my own personal findings when using the combination with a Nikon D800 camera.

For my Subject I chose the Headland Hotel in Newquay taken from South Fistral, 1 km away. I compared with my Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 as a benchmark. At 1/250s, f9, ISO100.

Images resized to 2048×1367, minimal processing in Lightroom. Click on them to see full size.

Full frame 105mm micro

Full frame 105mm micro

105mm Micro and TC17E

105mm Micro and TC17E

24-70 2.8 at 70mm

24-70 2.8 at 70mm

These are 1:1 crops from the images above

105 micro 1:1 crop

105 micro 1:1 crop

105 micro TC17E 1:1 crop

105 micro TC17EII 1:1 crop

24-70 2.8 1:1 crop

24-70 2.8 1:1 crop

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from these. Personally I’m happy to delay the purchase of the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII for a little longer but it’s still high up there on the shopping list!

Please feel free to add your own comments below.

What is Commercial Photography?

The question I’m asked most about what I do is “What is Commercial Photography?”

More often than not people assume ‘photographer’ means ‘wedding photographer’.

I like to summarise what I do in 4 words – Creating images for business.

This could be many things but examples include, photographs of a hotel or holiday let, images of the products produced by a business, food photography for menus or commercial portraits of staff. These images can then be used by the business for any of their promotional needs.

I concentrate on specialising in this field to ensure I create the most effective photographs possible for the businesses that need them.