When you have a talent for making belly dance clothing or props, your products are worth showcasing. While you could go shopping for a professional photographer and pay upwards of $300 an hour for studio time, it is not necessary. In fact, with a decent camera and a little creativity, you can make studio quality product pictures that draw customers and retailers alike.
You do not need a $500 camera to shoot excellent pictures, but you should also avoid using your cell phone's digital camera. If you are serious about marketing your products, you need to go shopping for a shutter camera. Shutter cameras are not expensive and shopping for one at a wholesale store makes the item even cheaper. Best of all, this kind of camera will make shooting your projects much easier because the images are crystal clear.
If you like costume making, but do not belly dance yourself, find someone who does to model your clothing. Often, you can persuade beginning belly dancers to pose for your photography for the simple agreement of giving them a copy of the pictures for their portfolio. If you are showcasing coin belts, use the quick shot feature on the camera to capture the coins and dancer mid-movement. Remember to find a model that makes your costumes look good and tailor as necessary for the perfect fit.
For showcasing props, you'll want a zoom lens. Zoom lenses are available at any photography store and are often included with the purchase of a shutter camera. This lens allows you to zoom up close to an item, but get the same clarity as any other camera shot. Use minimal background for props and shoot multiple angles. For example, when showcasing a handmade sword, shoot some pictures with the sword on mounts and some with the sword upright. Models can also hold the props and show off the excellent craftsmanship, such as showing a sword's balance by having the model balance it on their finger.
Photo shoot backgrounds should always contrast with the item you're photographing. For instance, if you are selling belly dance gold symbols, use a black background to bring out the gold color. This technique ensures that the item you are marketing really "pops." The best background by far is a simple ironed bed sheet hung on a wall or draped over a table. If you want the background to be more flexible for online editing, use a green sheet so that the pictures can be edited and enhanced later.
Lighting is an inexpensive way to enhance your photos. For belly dance models, the best lighting source is the sun. For costume jewelry, purchase a $15 can light from a home improvement store and hang it above the area where you are shooting the pictures. Can lights are great because the light itself is adjustable, so you can use direct lights for shine or produce angled shadow shots for drama.
No picture is going to be perfect, so find a photo touchup program you feel comfortable using and utilize its tools. Gimp is one example of a great free program for enhancing photos to a professional quality.