Beginner Product Photography for Newbie - Sony A6000/A7

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#1
Hi All,

Hoping the wise amongst you might be able to give some advice. I've had a quick go of the search function and read a few threads but none seem to be in quite the same position of myself, but apologies if this question has been asked a million times before.

I run a small clothing business, we produce t-shirts and hoodies with a variety of designs screen printed on to them and need to have good imagery from which to showcase our product. Our last release we used a professional photographer to capture a variety of images, the result was superb but not something we can replicate on every release simply due to the cost being a little prohibitive as we have only been running for a few months.

As a result I want to try and start learning photography myself to hopefully get some great shots of our products. We want to do most of our shoots, outdoors, on location or in action so to speak, so this isn't a typical product photography need requiring plain backgrounds and lots of lighting if that makes any sense.

I've currently been looking at the Sony A6000 and A7 to invest in. Primarily due to good reviews and a price point that I can see as sensible. What I'd like to know ideally is anyone pros/cons for these cameras in terms of my use case? Likewise other kit/equipment you would recommend for getting started based on our needs?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
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23,533
Name
Phil
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#2
Welcome to TP.

Before you've spent anything is the right time to ask.

Rather than spending thousands on a camera and kit lens, buy a 10 year old 'enthusiast' camera, a couple of cheap fast primes, spend a grand on training and a grand on lighting (you'll need it at some point).

You'll probably take no notice, cos cameras are sexy and the important stuff is boring.

Oh and search 'product photography' this is one of the most popular opening questions.

My favourite version of this question was the guy who'd already arranged studio space (that was nowhere near big enough) had spent thousands on a top of the range camera body, wanted recommendations for a sub £100 lens and had no budget at all for lighting.
 
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Name
Alan
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#3
Just a couple of thoughts from an A7 user who used to go out with an online seller :D and assuming that you'll mostly be wanting pictures to display online too?

She wanted a better camera that would capture detail on clothing and at the time the Canon 400D was new and she went with that and the kit lens. Staying at lowish ISO's she was very happy with the results even for indoor shots and for the first time could show fine detail like stitching detail on the clothing she was selling. Actually another big improvement for her was buying a mannequin, something I expect you have and access to models too, even better. Anyway, that was then and the 400D is old news now but if that camera can capture stitching detail to showcase clothing online I'm pretty sure just about anything from the last few years can do better so I wouldn't worry too much about the camera and lens and instead I'd go with Phil's advice but I'd question the need for fast primes as I'm not convinced that you'll be wanting shallow depth of field shots (there's something to read up on) and if not why would you want fast primes, unless they're cheaper than an arguably more practical f4 or f3.5-5.6 zoom. I'd keep the thought of fast primes but add a mental note to look at a zoom lens too.

Feel free to ignore everything I've just said :D
 
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#4
Welcome to TP.

Before you've spent anything is the right time to ask.

Rather than spending thousands on a camera and kit lens, buy a 10 year old 'enthusiast' camera, a couple of cheap fast primes, spend a grand on training and a grand on lighting (you'll need it at some point).

You'll probably take no notice, cos cameras are sexy and the important stuff is boring.

Oh and search 'product photography' this is one of the most popular opening questions.

My favourite version of this question was the guy who'd already arranged studio space (that was nowhere near big enough) had spent thousands on a top of the range camera body, wanted recommendations for a sub £100 lens and had no budget at all for lighting.
Thanks for the reply Phil.

Any recommendations on camera and lenses? Training I'm with you.

I did have a good search through 7 pages of which everything I found was studio based, light boxes etc. I noticed light was definitely your number 1 recommendation ;)

Hopefully my question is a better variation as I couldn't find anything asking with a similar use case!
 
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Phil
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#5
Any recommendations on camera and lenses?
In car terms, you're in need of something capable of a regular 30 mile motorway journey - it'd be difficult to buy an unsuitable car. Literally any interchangeable lens camera from the last 10 years will do the job.

Then an equivalent std and telephoto lens with a wide aperture, with decent focus motor (choose a camera - the lenses will be an easy fit).

The point about light is that there are times you'll want to shoot when daylight won't play - so you'll need to create your own. And from a learning perspective - if you learn to use artificial light, it's easy to 'find' attractive natural light. Whereas if you just fumble around in natural light - it takes a long time to learn to 'see' the light, and to transfer those skills to artificial light.
 
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Andrew Cliffe
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#6
Plenty of resources on lighting depending on how you like to consume your advice - books, youtube, websites. For the latter, the Lencarta website has a learning section which has a lot of good advice, much of it curated by Garry Edwards of this parish who also has a couple of books on lighting.
 
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9,196
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Andrew Cliffe
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#7
Alternatively, barter services. You're producing clothing. Photographers need clothes. You need photos. Kit out a local photographer in some custom clobber in return for photos. If its a local photographer moving in the same circles that your product is intended for, then they'll be advertising for you as well. No doubt with a new business you've got a lot of things demanding a share of your time, and learning a completely new skill may require a lot of time that you haven't actually got, let alone money.
 
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Pete
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#8
Thanks for the reply Phil.

Any recommendations on camera and lenses? Training I'm with you.

I did have a good search through 7 pages of which everything I found was studio based, light boxes etc. I noticed light was definitely your number 1 recommendation ;)

Hopefully my question is a better variation as I couldn't find anything asking with a similar use case!
Many cameras and lenses out there, not top budget but something like Canon 750, Olympus EM10, I'm sure the nikon/sony/pana users will all draw you in, but most decent cameras will do the job.
 
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