First thing is taking the actual image. Rule #1! GET CREATIVE with your surroundings! As nice as something on a white backdrop might look *sometimes, it's important to get creative! Use props, take images of your product on something that has a lot of texture to it, such as wood, or even on a bookshelf with some old books. This creates a little more stimulation for the eye.
Here is an example:
Now, you took your picture with some sort of interesting backdrop. Well I hate to tell ya folks, but it doesn't end here. It can if you want it to, but to bring it to the next level, you are going to have to do some post-editing in photoshop. No matter what camera you have, your pictures will not be PHENOMENAL unless you add some extra OOMF into it!
But photoshop is where the fun is! Here, I will show you a few simple steps to give your photo a little pop to it. The first step is cropping your images. You need to make sure you follow the rule of thirds. Not sure what this is? Just have a look.
Thank you so much to Ronin Studios Photography for the tutorial on rules of third. You should always try to place your subject somewhere where those lines cross. This can be done simply by cropping your image. The newest version of PhotoShop (CS5), has the rules of third built into their cropping tool.
Now I'm going to show you how to do this to your image:
Before & After
Once your image is cropped in PS, go to image>adjust>auto contrast. I don't suggest doing auto tone or auto color unless you know how to adjust it after doing so. Sometimes auto tone or auto color can really throw your image down the pooper.
Now as you can see in the first image, the key is slightly blurry. You can fix this! Now I'm not saying you can take a picture of a running child and make him look like his standing still. However, you can certainly fix a situation like this! To do so, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharpen mask
Once you click this a window will open up that looks like this:
I set mine to Amount 88, Radius 4.4, and Threshold 0. You can adjust this to what looks best for you, but this usually works for most pictures. If you can't tell the difference, don't worry. It takes a while for your eye to recognize the difference. Especially if you've never done this before.
Now that you're image is slightly sharper, it's time to create what's called a LENS VIGNETTE. As you can see in the after photograph, the edges are darkened slightly. This essentially puts a spotlight onto your subject.
Select your lasso tool from your tool menu.
With the area now selected, go to Edit > Copy > Edit > Paste. A new layer will show up in your layers menu. With this new layer, change it to Multiply and lower the opacity slightly (you can lower this again after you blur the layer) (see image)
Click OK! If you feel that there are dark areas of your subject now, you can just use the erase tool and erase whatever area you think is dark.
Now go to Layers > Flatten Image. And guess what! You're all done! HURRAH! This may take a while to get used to, but once you do, you'll be able to do this with your eyes closed. I do this to ALL of my photographs. And seeing as how I take a ton of photographs, you can imagine that it really doesn't take that long to do.
I hope everyone found this tutorial useful. I'd love to hear some feedback. If this is successful, then I will make some more fun tutorials. Like how to give your photograph a vintage feel to it, or how to create rounded edges (which is big now in the etsy world).
Now go take some gorgeous photographs! And if anyone has ANY questions, don't hesitate to ask. With over 4 years of PS experience under my belt, there's nothing I can't figure out for you!