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Shoe Photography - Still Images, Style Guides and Workflow

Streamline shoe photography and capturing still images of footwear for the web with automated studio solutions and style guides.

E-Commerce and Shoe Photography for the Web

With shoe photography for e-commerce, both quality and consistency in visual content is key to selling footwear to online consumers. And while you might think PhotoRobot is only useful for creating 360-degree product presentations, nothing could be further from the truth. 

You might be surprised to learn that approximately half of our clients don’t even use our systems for 360s. But why use a turntable-based automated studio if only photographing a series of still images

To demonstrate, we produced the video below of footwear photography in still images with our systems. In this instance, we’re using the Case_1300 with the Robotic_Arm and PhotoRobot software for light synchronization, camera & turntable control, and automating workflow.

PhotoRobot automates image capture and post production, streamlining workflow to create professional still shots in no time. Software “presets” allow you to save and re-use settings and style guides, improving shoe photography speed and consistency. 

Continue reading for more on the Case_1300 and using our systems to photograph footwear for the web.

The Importance of Consistency in Visual Content

Maybe your eCommerce product photography involves shooting mostly footwear. That, or perhaps you have a company that manufactures shoes. One way or another, you’ll need a set of images that shows off all the features of your product line.

Your imagery should show the quality of the shoes, which material they’re made from, and what kind of soles they have. It has to both inform shoppers and represent your brand in a professional and reliable manner. 

8 different angles of black shoe.

This is where consistency in visual content is key. Inconsistency from one set of images to the next will make you look unprofessional. What you need, in other words, is a style guide which you follow when photographing shoes for e-commerce.

Automating Style Guides with PhotoRobot Software

A style guide is a set of instructions that tells you how your images should look. Manually, it simply is not humanly possible to do this quickly and exactly the same each and every time. This is where PhotoRobot comes into play.

Perhaps the most important part of the style guide is the information about the angles at which you photograph the object. Among other parameters, this is what you need to automate to achieve consistency and high productivity.

In every style guide, there are two important angles you must have. There is the angle of rotation, and what we call the angle of swing. With these, you need more angles that show views of the footwear from the front and sides, as well as some high angles. And then you want to show online shoppers the sole of the shoe, too, meaning a view directly from the bottom.

For this, you could manage the entire photoshoot on a single workspace, such as PhotoRobot’s_Frame. However, today, we want to show off the workflow of the Case_1300 for our shoe photography. 

Using the Case_1300 to Photograph NOT ONLY Footwear

The Case_1300 features a 1300mm glass turntable. With this, we can automatically remove not only the background but also the shadow beneath the shoe or other products.

Further, the Robotic_Arm v8 serves as a welcome expansion device to the_Case. This camera arm manages the swing angle, supports Canon and Nikon cameras, and it is also able to go all the way to 90 degrees. 

Workstation with turntable, handbag, camera and lights.

Together with PhotoRobot_Controls, we can apply our style guide settings to automate the image capture of our top and side views. 

But what about how to photograph the bottom of shoes? 

Photographing the Bottom of the Shoe

Now, this is where if we want to streamline our shoe photography even further, we use an additional workstation. Otherwise, we need to take the shoe off the plate, place it on a jig upside-down, and then put it back on. All of this before waiting for the camera to get into place at 90° before we can take photos.

Instead, as you can see in the video, we utilize a separate workspace with a second camera mounted at the top. In this case, we use our flat-lay table. It doesn’t rotate the product, but it maintains the advantage of a backlit, transparent surface.

Our second camera is then mounted to the top, providing the angle for the top-view images of the jig, which is holding our shoe upside-down. In this way, we are ready to take photos of the sole of the shoes, and can also prepare other shoes to photograph on the Case_1300. 

Doing this, we considerably increase workflow, while saving valuable time on high-volume photoshoot days.

Achieving Images Exactly According to Style Guides

Just how fast can you achieve all the images required by your style guide? You start first by importing your list of products to photograph. This often includes names of products and barcodes, and any presets you might have.

Scanning workplace barcode to access presets and start photography.

If you have preset configurations you want to use for different types of footwear, simply assign these to individual items. It’s even possible to sort products on shelves, and assign different barcodes with dedicated presets to each.

PhotoRobot presets control not only angles, but also camera settings, lighting, post processing, and other parameters. 

Simply scan and automate

After importing your shot list, you simply scan a barcode of the shoe, and place it on the turntable of the Case_1300. Now, with our presets, the entire photoshoot happens automatically, and often takes no longer than a minute to apply your style guide.

But what about if you’re using the second workspace to take photos of the bottom of the shoe simultaneously? Do you have to change any settings in the software?

Add angle setting in capture software user interface.

For this, it’s as simple as scanning an additional barcode of a macro at your control station. This switches to the second workspace, and all photos are taken without the operator having to touch the computer or camera.

Taking Speed and Consistency to New Heights

In just slightly over a minute, we manage both workspaces and the entire photoshoot, capturing photos of our shoes from top to sides and bottom. Pictures all come out shadow-free, well-lit, and ready for any post production before publishing online.

All the while, it takes only minutes to prepare the scene for the next shoes to photograph. Photography workflow in this way is taken to new levels of speed, quality, and consistency — as clients have come to expect of PhotoRobot.

Learn more about our solutions and PhotoRobot by contacting us today to schedule a 1:1 consultation. We’ll assist you in finding tools around your needs, whether for shoe photography or any product content production.