Wednesday, April 9, 2014

product photography...I need your input for my ebook!

I have mentioned a couple times now that one of my strategies for building passive income in 2014 is going to be writing and publishing a ebook. This notion still scares me a lot because it's brand new territory, and it may not go anywhere, but I need to make the plunge. I'm getting my initial outline together in a readable format that I can now develop. Before I go much further, I want to get some input.

The book is going to be about product photography, specifically SMALL items. It won't necessarily be jewelry specific even though that's what I know best because that's too narrow. But it will not cover photographing items like clothing and paintings because I have no experience with that whatsoever. So the first question is what keywords / phrases should I include in the title for a small item product photography ebook?

The very first section of the book will be a what this book is / what this book is not thing. These are my thoughts thus far.
What this book is
  • simple advice that is accessible for both new and veteran product photographers
  • advice and personal recommendations for purchasing both point and shoot and DSLR cameras
  • basic information about shooting product photos including lighting, styling, multiple angles, and highlighting different features
  • specific examples for props and backgrounds / backdrops
  • easy to follow tutorials for basic editing programs, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements
  • tips for Etsy and similar websites include the photo format and thumbnails

What this book is not
  • pushy advice about buying an DSLR and expensive software and other photography products (i.e. props, lights)
  • advanced tutorials intended solely for DSLR users who have Lightroom and/or Photoshop / Photoshop Elements
As someone who shoots product photo, does this make sense? Is there anything that you would or would not want to see in either of these sections?

I'm also considering including a terminology section early in the book. It's extremely easy for me to forget that I had no idea what common photography terms like ISO or RAW meant a few years ago. If this book is going to be accessible for new photographers, I think that terminology would be beneficial. Thoughts?

From there, I've roughly outlined the following sections. I'm keeping it pretty bare bones here, not because I don't want to give anything away but because I don't want to limit the suggestions. I think that it will be easier for people to brainstorm their own ideas without my own initial thoughts getting in the way.
  • Why good product photos are important, even if you don't sell online
  • My recommendations / advice for purchasing point and shoot and DSLR cameras
  • Getting started (learning the settings, experimenting)
  • Lighting basics
  • Shooting multiple angles / highlighting different features
  • Props / backgrounds / backdrops / styling
  • Creating a permanent shooting spot which may or may not include a lightbox with tips about building or buying a lightbox
  • Cropping / editing basics
  • Etsy-specific tips
  • Should I upgrade to a DSLR?
  • Tips for shooting with a DSLR
  • Editing in RAW
I would appreciate advice about any and all of these sections and anything else that you think that I should include.

Thank you in advance!


  1. Sounds great. And the glossary would be very helpful for unsophisticated photographers like me.
    Lighting is a huge issue for me. And I would really love to read your chapter on recommendations for cameras. I'd love to replace mine next year, if possible.

  2. All of that sounds great, and I especially like the glossary idea. There's a lot that goes into learning a camera so that will be really helpful for newbies. Good luck with the writing portion! Do you head a deadline for yourself?

  3. My human likes the idea of this book - and the glossary idea is great! Thinking of titles and keywords... think like someone who would buy your book. How would they do a search for it, or for helpful articles on this topic? My human did a quick Google search and thinks a title like "How to Photograph Jewelry and Other Small Products" would be good. The key is actually to be fairly specific in the title without being inclusive, hence the inclusion of the keyword jewelry. Targeting does help.

  4. Great idea! There are a LOT of Etsy shops that would benefit from better product photos.

  5. This is such a perfect topic for you Rose! A glossary with things like ISO, White Balance, Depth of Field, etc would be great. I always forget what they all mean and where to easily find them on my camera. And which way I should move the slider, etc. This would be a great book for a newbie or a veteran!

  6. I agree that definitions of all the terminology would really be helpful. Looks like this will have a lot of great information. I wonder if the title for your book will become more clear as you continue to work on it. All the best! Sounds like a wonderful plan!

  7. Lighting, angels, and background are hugely important!
    sounds like you have most everything covered.
    You might want to include some advice about showing the size of items that are not familiar to people.
    much luck!


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