Etsy Product Photography Done with Green Screen($5 setup)

I love Etsy, there are some great shops with  great owners.  Most of the guides I have read say that product photography is one of the keys to selling your goods.  I have seen many product “studio” setups posted have not seen anything like my $5 green screen studio so thought I would share it.

Yep that is it, not much to it.  Most of the work will be done in your phone.  No computer or camera needed.

Supplies

  • Green construction paper
  • White paper or reflector
  • Iphone or Ipad
  • Green screen app (Green Screen Wizard)
  • Room with soft light

Here is my is my lighting





I know most of you have been told you need a professional camera, lighting and Photoshop, but why.    Today’s  phone cameras are great little cameras.  They do a great job of focus and getting good color.  Professional cameras have larger sensors that give you that wonderful blurry background.  In product photography you want everything in focus.  With a professional camera you will need to select a smaller F-stop to keep everything in focus.  When you do this more light will be needed to get the correct exposure.  Once you add more light extra care must be taken to prevent shadows.  Yes, this can be corrected in post-processing but why.

I use a $5 green screen phone app to get this same effect.  Photo’s are taken with my phone.  The app can remove the background and now I can add any background I want.  From my phone I can upload the photos directly to Etsy with no need resizing them.  This has been a great time saver for me and I have been happy with the results.

Tips for getting the best results

  • Avoid shadows– With soft natural light often you will have very little shadow.  The software will have a harder time creating a clean background if shadows are present.  I used a white paper to reflect light back to get rid of the small shadow I had.  For better results I would have used a reflector but wanted to use things everyone has around the house.
  • Position any shadows you have–  Even with careful light you may still have a shadow.  try to hide this shadow behind the product if you can.
  • Make small adjustments in software–  When using the green screen app make small adjustments at a time.  The default setting is pretty good but you may have to increase the green removal.  Do not go crazy and turn it all the way down, details will be lost in your product.
  • A simple background–  With this method your product can be placed against any background.  Keep in mind you do not want to misrepresent the size of your product.  It would be easy to make a ring look the size of a house in backgrounds are chosen poorly.  I like a simple solid color.

All photos taken with a Iphone and Green Screen Wizard app.  Other green screen apps are available but I have not tested them yet.

Would love to see and hear about your results with this setup, please post below.

My Green Screen “Studio” Setup

I have included affiliate links in this post that are associated with the products I use and trust

I thought I would post my “studio” setup to prove that you will not need to spend a lot of money.  I chose my equipment with 3 things in mind.

  • Space, I do not have a permanent studio so needed something that can be done in a small area and stored nicely.
  • Money, I do not have much money to spend on my hobbies and my rule is only spend money my hobbies have raised.  I have made enough money from micro-stock photography to pay for this setup, but needed to make every penny count.
  • My needs,  I knew I wanted my setup to do two things.
  1. The ability to work in layers, by adding layers to a green screen setup a lot of great things can be done.
  2. The ability to be setup as a photo booth.  I love the instant results that green screen and did not want any post processing work.  Someday I may take my setup to a craft show and see how it does.

Software

PhotoKey 8 Pro, this is where I spent most of my money.  Photokey Pro lets me use layers, has a PhotoShop plug-in, and can be used to setup a photo booth.

Review to be coming in a later post.

Camera
Pentax K-7 14.6 MP Digital SLR with Shake Reduction and 720p HD Video (Body Only), The camera I already owned and love.  Here really any camera will work but a DSLR will give the best results.  I use a Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 XS Lens to shoot most backgrounds and photoshots.  I do have a Sigma 18-50 F2.8 for when I have to shoot in less space and a Sigma 105mm F2.8 macro to create close up backgrounds.  The one thing I have added to my setup that I love is a Wifi Sd Memory Card 32GB Class 10 2nd Generation Ez Share .  With this my photos go instantly to my computer or smart phone and are imported into my green screen software. 

Lighting

I know most people will not like my lighting setup but it has been getting the job done.  I use a Pentax AF360FGZ II Flash on camera pointed at 45 degree angle to model and a Speedlite YN 560-II in slave mode on a stand and shoot through umbrella.

I will be posting more about lighting in the future so If this does not make scene to you I will explain more on this later.

Background

Impact Super Collapsible Background – 8 x 16′ (Chroma Green)  I love this background, it is huge.  It is large enough to shoot 2 people against it.  Folds up to be about 3′ around and can be taken anywhere.  No need for a stand if you simply lean it up against a wall.

Folding this thing takes some practice so here is a video to help you out

I will be updating this post to include photos so please come back and check it out later