If you’re just starting out, there’s really no need to buy anything at all. Many of the items around the house will do. I highly suggest going this route first before investing in any heavy duty (and very expensive) equipment.
Here, I’ve suggested some of my recommendation for a free items along with products I’ve purchase and found to be effective.
*this article contains affiliate links for your convenience, see full disclosures here
If you have a mobile phone already, this is a great start. With the right lighting and backdrop, you can easily create compelling product photos.
I love the blog iPhone Photography School. They have many tutorials and articles about how to make your iPhone photos look professional.
That said, I do love the professional DSLR camera that I use to take all my photos on this site. Professional camera reviews are all over the internet and you could write a dissertation on the topic not to mention they keep coming up with new/better/more affordable options.
Canon EOS Rebel Series – I believe the latest model is the T7. I would recommend the T6 Model since it’s about the same and is a little bit cheaper. I love it for its ease of use. I set a few preferences and just basically point and shoot from there on out. What really makes this camera standout is the white color balance. It creates this dreamy ephemeral look that I’ve had a hard time replicating with other professional camera brands.
Nikon D3500 – This is another popular camera in the beginner DSLR price range. People like it for its intuitive user interface, longer battery life and nice handling. I do not have personal experience with it so I can’t really vouch as much for its performance.
This one is the easiest to replicate with things around the house. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- Sheets (ironed)
- Dining room table (cleared and cleaned)
- Cutting board (backside if it’s worn)
- Kids chalkboard
Display board – kids supplies are the best. These are super affordable on Amazon.
Poster board – They come in all colors and sizes. I like sticking to the white ones.
Bulletin Board Paper Covers – This one is another favorite. I just unrolled enough to cover where the floor meets the wall and I’ve set up my mini-studio.
Light Box – For smaller products, you can used a dedicated enclosed area with pre-installed lighting.
Apps and Software for Photo Editing
With absolutely no equipment, you can do a lot of post production work to still make your photos look professional. Here are some of my favorite apps and software solutions.
Clipping Magic – I use this browser-based app for a lot of my crafts but it is also great for photo editing. It is the only fully automated background removal software that allows you to do additional editing. It literally takes me a couple of seconds to process a photo. Think of it as the easier and more affordable version Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop – This one is a bit expensive and requires some time to learn how to use. I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.
VSCO – VSCO is a photo editing app that is available for most mobile devices. It’s like a more professional Instagram where you can create effects with filters.
Other Prop Ideas
I like to stick to minimalist backdrops when it comes to product photos but adding a little flair here and there doesn’t hurt as long as it doesn’t distract. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Cutting board
- Wood floor
- Faux foliage