We see a fair amount of product photography here at MakeTank, and we were really pleased when Dario Scapitta uploaded nice photos of his 3D printed jewelry with perfect white backgrounds and good detail. When Dario told me he shot these with a Nokia smartphone, I couldn't believe it! He sent me this tutorial explaining exactly how he takes photos using the smartphone and about €100 worth of photography equipment - a reasonable investment when you are putting your creations for sale online.



To take pictures of my objects I use equipment that I already have: I don’t have a digital reflex camera but I do have a rather old Nokia N8 phone that has a very good 12-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss Tessar 2.8/28 lens and auto focus. It also has useful camera software that allow you to set the camera adjusting exposure, white balance etc.  While I also own an iPhone, the Nokia gives me more control.

We stole this photo from Nokia.com but figure they won't mind.


Here is an equipment list of what you will need to take your own product photos with a smartphone.

  • A white table or a flat white surface, or a big piece of white cardboard
  • A soft light box - from €44.95 online
  • Two daylight photo lamps on stands – from €48.99 online
  • Nokia N8

Normally, I take some pictures in different positions and different point of view, using one or two lamps pointing at the object placed in the soft box to create different light effect. If you do not want to purchase a soft box, place a table against a wall and tape a piece of white paper to the wall so that it comes down in a soft curve onto the table to create the correct ‘infinity curve’ effect.

I can set the camera with different scene modes, I use normally the close-up mode. I set also the white balance on “incandescent” because I’m using photo lamps, and set the exposure at 0.5, a little bit high. Here below you can see the original picture of my SNAKE armband, which is a bit dark, but will be transformed in a photo editing program.

Snake armband - photo with Nokia N8 without editing

I import the photos to my pc and open the chosen ones with Photoshop or Corel PhotoPaint to adjust the brightness and colour tone. Here is the result.

Snake armband photo after editing brightness, colour, etc.

Normally, if I’m satisfied with result, I save the pictures and I use them for my website, portfolio, photo galleries, advertising, and of course, online marketplaces.

The same photos can then also be used for social media – on my iPhone, I edit and share them on Instagram or create fancy effects using Pixlromatic.

Photo edited on Instagram and Pixlromatic

At this point my job is done and I can use the pictures for everything I want, for a catalogue or a photo gallery, for a web blog or a web site.  Working with a mobile phone is easy and faster and probably more available than an expensive reflex camera, and you can obtain very nice results. Product photography is a very personal work; I personally prefer simple, clear photos for online shopping, while I use fancy images for blogs and advertising, and I am able to get these results using these tools.

--Dario Scapitta Design


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