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Branding is one of the most important aspects of your business. You want your customers to remember your brand, and associate it with your products. By incorporating branding into your 360 interactive spins, you make sure your customers associate your product with your brand. Branding spins gives you increased brand visibility while providing your customers with a more interesting product viewing experience. Because spins are interactive, your customers are more likely to remember the experience, and therefore remember your brand. (more…)

One of the great things about Arqspin interactive 360 photography software is that it makes embedding spins into a variety of platforms extremely simple. Depending on your product and which platform you are using, you may have different ways you want your users to interact with your spin. Thankfully, Arqspin software gives you several options for how your embedded spin will behave. We talked about the basics of embedding spins here, but if you’re still unsure about what all the embedding options do, this guide should help. 

When you click “embed a spin” you are prompted to select spin dimensions, choose between HTML5 and and flash viewers, and choose a combination of three interaction options: auto-rotate, auto-stop, and auto-load (auto-load is only available for HTML5 viewers). (more…)

We’ve made a quick Arqspin video tutorial of how to use all the new editor features:

  • Crop,
  • 90 degree Rotate,
  • Dewobble,
  • Reverse Rotation,
  • Whitepoint and Blackpoint,
  • Brightness, Contrast, Vibrance,
  • Curves,
  • Paintbrush,
  • and Labelling

If you have any questions, or want us to take a look at a spin you’re trying to edit and having trouble with, shoot us an e-mail at support@arqspin.com!

There are so many options when it comes to choosing a platform for your online business—like building your own website on a platform like WordPress, or tapping into existing marketplaces like eBay. Arqspin users feature their spins on various e-commerce platforms, and these are a few of our favorites.

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You’ve embedded your spins into your website, but what about all of your social media channels? Since you’ve invested the time in creating spins, you might as well share them in as many places as possible. Here’s Arqspin’s social media spin sharing guide on how to share your spins on your favorite social networks.

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Introduction

As you probably know, professional photographers use an assortment of lenses. Having a variety of product photography lenses on hand makes their work that much easier. But do you know why they change their lenses? And what exactly is a lens anyway?

In the simplest terms, a camera is like an eye. Your eye has a lens which focuses light onto a sensor, the retina. A camera, on the other hand, has a lens that focuses light onto a digital sensor which then converts the information into data that can be stored as an image.

What are Focal Lengths?

Have you ever wondered what the “mm” stands for on a lens? Well, it’s the distance from the center of the lens to the image focal point [where the sensor is]. This is what’s known as the focal length, and it’s expressed in millimeter (mm) units. The focal length of a lens is important because it effects the field of view, which is the amount of a scene that is visible.

Product-Photography-Lenses

The field of view is the “area the lens sees.” Take the human eye, for instance, which is capable of seeing about the same area as a 50mm lens. A lens with a shorter focal length, say 20mm, will be able to take in more of the surrounding area, while a longer lens, like an 80mm, will not be able to pick up as much but will have a magnified view of the area it does see.

Because lenses can offer different fields of view, they are useful for different types of photography. For example, a landscape photographer would use lenses with shorter focal lengths, known as wide angle lenses, to capture more of the landscape. You, too, can take advantage of different types of lenses. Let’s take a look at a few options that could benefit your product photography.

Product-Photography-Lenses

Photographing Small Objects

Place your hand about half a meter in front of you. Now move it toward your face until it’s almost touching your nose. Do you notice how your hand is now blurry? It’s fuzzy because you’ve passed the minimum distance in which your eyes can focus.

Lenses have a minimum focusing distance, too, so if you’re photographing small objects, you also need to get up close, where a standard lens might not be able to focus.

Enter the macro lens! A macro lens is a special type of lens that focuses really close, enabling you to photograph small objects, such as jewelry.

Which Macro Lens?

Entry Option

If you’re interested in macro lenses but don’t want to spend a fortune, then consider the Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX DG. It’s a good starting point, and at around $350, it is fairly inexpensive for the great

Product-Photography-Lenses

image quality it provides. It’s also available in a variety of different mounts for different camera brands.

Medium Options

One step up you’ll find the Canon EF 100mm 2.8 USM Macro and the Nikon AF-S DX 85mm 3.5 Micro. They each cost around $550-600 and offer great image quality. The longer focal length, more effective than the 50mm macro, zooms in more on objects, making them appear larger, without you having to move physically closer.

Lens makers Tamron and Sigma also offer some good options in this price range.

High-End Options

Coming in at around $1,000 are the Canon 100mm 2.8L IS macro and the Nikon AF-S Micro 105mm 2.8G. These are two of the most expensive macro options, but they also contain image stabilization, which can help steady your shots should you prefer the handheld option, rather than a tripod.

Tilt and Shift Lenses

When you’re taking pictures that contain straight lines, a normal lens will distort these lines to some degree. This effect can be seen dramatically in images of buildings, taken at a wide angle:

In real life, the church is perfectly straight, but it doesn’t look that way in the image. Distortions like this can appear in product photography, too, especially if you’re photographing objects with straight lines. Although this distortion can be corrected with editing software such as Photoshop, it is better to use the correct lens type in the first place, one that can sort the problem out before the image is taken.

Product-Photography-Lenses

Product-Photography-Lenses

 

This is called a tilt+shift lens. A detailed explanation of how these lenses work can be found here, but first let’s look at how they can help with your product photography:

Product-Photography-Lenses

Notice how the lines on this box are not straight? A tilt shift lens can fix this issue.

Which Tilt Shift Lens To Buy?

A focal length of around 90mm is advised as this will help you get closer to smaller objects. Plus you can still tackle larger objects by moving your camera back a bit if the object is filling the frame. The Canon TS-E 90mm and the Nikon PC-E 85mm are both good options; however, at around $1,500 they are very expensive for the majority of people.

Best Lens for Most Products

If you photograph a wide range of products of differing sizes and are looking for an “all in one solution” lens, then a decent zoom lens would be a nice fit, enabling you to adjust focal lengths to suit your various settings. You could even try a macro zoom lens like this one. This lens will be able to focus slightly closer than a standard zoom, but don’t expect razor sharp images.

Summary

Tilt shift lenses are used on the highest quality product photography, but they are expensive and can be difficult to use, so only you can decide whether they are worth it. We would, however, definitely recommend purchasing a macro lens if you photograph small objects on a regular basis.

For a more detailed and technical explanation of lenses, please see our iPad app Bokeh: A Book About Cameras.

Having a clean white background for 360 product spins is important for many websites where blending product photography seamlessly into the page is a top priority. Instead of manual background removal, we almost always recommend using good lighting along with Arqspin’s iOS or web editing tools to get a white background for your 360’s from the start. But some scenes and objects can be really difficult to get right.

To remove backgrounds in static photography, many people use Photoshop. And there are numerous background removal services, such as Remove The Background and Clipping Magic.  But in video, there are so many frames that these labor intensive techniques are impractical.  In Hollywood, they utilize a technique called “rotoscoping” that will track an object through the video – it’s still a manual process but faster than working on each frame individually.

Recently, our friends at ZBoard made a video they wanted to convert into a 360 product spin, and the seams in the background and the turntable edge were proving difficult to remove.

 

Since the video had already been shot, we wanted to see if we could make it work. After some brainstorming, we found and worked with a rotoscoping expert who could manually remove the background from videos.  He created the following video:

 

We uploaded that through Arqspin’s web uploader and got this final 360 degree spin:

 

Pretty good! Do you have a video with a background that’s proving tricky to remove?  Get in touch with us, and we’ll see if we can help!

Product Photography Tips

A few months ago, we published an article entitled “Taking Gorgeous Product Photos” on Practical E-Commerce that contained some general product photography tips. That article helps with an overview on how to select and utilize the basic equipment needed to take high quality product photography. If you haven’t read it yet, you should take a look.

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Photographing reflective objects can be tricky even for experienced photographers.  And for those displaying these products for sale online, it’s critical that the customer gets not only an accurate portrayal of the products, but one that is not distracting or unflattering.

In this tutorial, we’ll be using a chrome watch to show the basics of lighting reflective products. You’ll then be able to avoid photos like the one on the left below and elevate the professionalism of your website or E-store imagery.

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