Smartphones have incredible cameras that are light years ahead of even what was available a few years ago. On the other hand, if you want to take photos of your small electronic creations with one, it’s difficult to set everything up consistently. After all, phone cameras are mostly billed as devices meant to capture sporting events and selfies, and aren’t necessarily optimized to photograph very small devices.
For this purpose, a DSLR camera with a proper tripod, light box, and a macro lens is the best solution. On the other hand, not everyone has $1000 or so in their photography budget. But if you look at Tindie’s catalog, there is a wide range of quality in the photography, meaning there is room for improvement even if you don’t have a professional setup.
For those that are on a tight budget, but would like a way to enhance their product images, Iotalot is offering a “small photo studio designed specifically to let makers take great photos of their electronic creations using their smart phones.” This device resembles—and was prototyped with—a shoebox, and comes with guides to help you place your phone consistently over your subject. For lighting, LEDs come installed in the lid, and you can optionally order an RGB controller and/or power supply if needed.
Consistency is one simple way to improve your product photos, which makes a big difference in how people perceive your hardware. Think about lighting, camera angle, and resolution. Look for great photos and ask yourself what makes them pleasing to the eye. It’s a poor musician who blames their instrument… and sometimes for better photos you simply need to think inside the shoebox rather than reaching for a fancier camera.
I discuss product photography a bit more in this post if you’d like my opinion on the subject, along with as a few tips.