A Super-Cheap, Super-Quick Soap (Or Any Product) Photography Tutorial

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I have an eleven month old.  That means I have very little money and even less time.  But I still like to make sure I take good photos of my soap, even if they are just to post in my favorite soaping group or on my blog.  See this photo?



Not bad, right?  I set it up and took it in less than five minutes, on my cell phone, with things I had laying around the house.  It has not been edited in the least, not even cropped. To take a photo like this one, you will need:

  • Your soap (or whatever small item it is you want to take a picture of)
  • A piece of white paper (poster board works great, but almost any clean, white, opaque paper will do, as long as it is considerably bigger than your item. Why white?  It reflects light and the more light, the better and brighter the picture.  
  • A piece of cardboard. It doesn’t have to be huge. I’d say half the size of your piece of white paper.  It doesn’t have to be exact.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Tape. 
  • A window.

Okay, the hard part first.  Cover your piece of cardboard with the aluminum foil, shiny side out.  Tape it in place.  Congratulations.  You have just made the world’s cheapest bounce card.

Now set everything up like this, near a window with good light. 

ImageIf your paper won’t stay, use a piece of tape to hold it up.   If your bounce card won’t stay propped, try leaning it against some books, or just hold it up with your free hand.  The point of the bounce card is to reflect the light back onto the soap, softening the shadows.  Whatever you do, don’t use your flash. It tends to concentrate to much light in one area and make the lighting look harsh.  The more natural light, the better, and the less photo editing needed!  If you have a smart phone, many have an HDR (high def resolution) setting you can switch to, for a clearer, more detailed picture.  

I took the first photo in the worst possible conditions:  It is incredibly cloudy outside today, my white piece of paper is way too small (the biggest issue I had was getting keeping just the white paper and the soap in frame) and my daughter was trying to chew my bounce card. I still managed to take a halfway decent photo, so I know you can too!


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0 Responses

  1. Hibryd

    I’d add one quick tip: unless you need a huge, high-res image, don’t get the camera right up against the item you’re photographing. That make a fish-eye effect that distorts the object a bit.

    You can even see the difference in your two photos: the first one looks like the bar’s sides aren’t straight and the top side is wider than the bottom, but in the second one you can see the bar is even and straight. (Unless you like the effect, which could totally be the case.)

    So, if you want, step back and crop down the photo later. Or, if you have a camera with optical zoom, step back and zoom in instead of getting up close and personal.

  2. Rachelle

    Just the right time for this tutorial, I was just thinking of how I could make my photos of my soap look professional, thank will do it tomorrow,