Photos are an essential part of selling online. A professional photo can increase online sales for your ecommerce business.
Learning how to take good product photos is a skill that can improve your business. Photos are an essential part at every point of the product life cycle. Good product photography is useful in developing and testing new ideas as it helps consumers visualize the product.
Product photos are also an essential part of marketing a product online. They accompany the product description and give the consumer an impression of the product quality. For 93% of consumers, the look is the decisive purchase criterion.
Mastering a few basic product photography techniques will help present your product in the best possible way to potential customers.
Consider the following product photography tips:
1. Choose the right camera and settings
A camera is the most important element in a product photography shoot. With the right camera, you’ll get clear, crisp photos. Ideally, you will use a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera or a smartphone camera.
Camera settings for product photography are important. When using a DSLR camera, do not use a wide-angle lens. It will distort your product. A large aperture like f2.8 or f4.5 reduces the depth of field. A small aperture like f8 or f11 gives you a large depth of field. It will keep your entire product in focus. You can use a slow shutter speed for product photography because you are not dealing with motion.
Use the correct white balance when photographing your product. Most cameras have automatic white balance. Set the camera to the same Kelvin temperature as your lighting or use one of the white balance presets.
A smartphone camera also works well for those who are just starting out and don’t have the budget for a new camera. You can get professional looking photos from your smartphone if you have the right lighting and background. This may take a little trial and error.
2. Use the right lighting
Without proper lighting, a white background appears gray. The product can have bright colors, but if the lighting is poor, they will not be seen well. The two main options for product photography are natural lighting and studio lighting.
Natural light works well for edible objects, people, and clothing. Naturally lit photos work well in social media campaigns. For indoor shots with natural light, consider placing your product facing a window in the early morning or late afternoon.
Products used indoors require artificial lighting. When taking photos with studio lighting, it’s a good idea to use two lightboxes to get the shadows right. One light serves as a key light and the other as a backlight.
The main light is placed in front of the product, the back light on the opposite side, slightly behind the product.
Adjust the highlights until you get soft, evenly spaced shadows. Placing a cloth over it can help diffuse some of the light for softer shadows.
3. Set up the background
When you take product photos, you want to have two types of photos—one with just the product against a white background, and the other with the product in use. A white background simplifies the editing process. It draws the viewer’s attention to the product.
The backdrop doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can use construction paper to create a white background. A plain white sheet will also work well.
4. Use a tripod
Tripods make a huge difference in the clarity and quality of your product photography. They stabilize the camera from your shaky hand, reducing blur in your photos.
Whether you’re using a fancy DSLR camera or an iPhone, it’s worth spending a few extra minutes setting up a tripod. Eliminating blur produces clear, crisp, professional-looking images.
5. Get inspired by your favorite brands
Your favorite brands are favorites for a reason. Most likely they have product photos that appeal to you. Take a look at their product photography and find out what you love about the photos. Ask yourself how a similar inclusion could work for your products.
For example, if you own a women’s boutique, check out your favorite women’s clothing brands on Instagram. What do you love about their product photos?
6. Learn the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds applies in art. It teaches you to display your canvas in 9 segments. It is designed to help artists create a balanced work of art. It also helps photographers determine where to place the focus of the product photo.
The goal should be for your product to be positioned along the lines or where two lines intersect. When viewing photos, people’s eyes are drawn to the intersection points rather than the exact center of the photo.
In the photo below we can see that the lightbulb is aligned at the intersection of the bottom line and the middle line. Your gaze is drawn to the bottom two-thirds of the photo.
7. Use simple props
When it comes to photo props, the simpler the better. The main focus of product photography should be on the product. Props can add interest and brighten the photo, but they shouldn’t distract from the main product. You also don’t want to confuse the viewer as to which item is the product.
Keep the props simple, consistent with the color scheme, and relevant to the product. For example, if you’re photographing ice cream, a bowl would be a simple, relevant prop.
8. Take multiple shots from different angles
Sometimes it can be tempting to take a shot or two from an angle that looks perfect, but when you look at the final photo, it’s not always as perfect as you thought. Multiple shots from different angles give your viewers a better idea of the whole product. It offers you a variety of photos to choose for the final product page.
Shoot some angles from above and include some side angles. When it comes to clothing, people want to see the front and back of the garment.
9. Take photos in context
Potential customers want to imagine using an amazing product. When you’ve done a good job with product photography, it’s easy for the viewer to envision the product in their life. Because if the person in the photo enjoys using the product, why shouldn’t the customer buy it?
Before anyone buys something, they need to be sure that the product will somehow improve their daily life. Products that are taken out of context and simply have a background do not give the consumer an opportunity to imagine how the product will be used.
For example, someone who buys gardening tools may not imagine working with a white background. A photo in context can help the consumer visualize how the product will work for them in gardening.
10. Retouching the images
To give your product photography a professional and polished look, it is important to retouch and edit your images. This can prevent them from looking mediocre.
When you’re just starting out, getting the background and lighting takes a lot of trial and error. Photo editing software can make many errors appear to disappear.
Retouching can include color correction, background removal, or shadow removal. In the beginning, editing and retouching photos can be a time-consuming process until you get the hang of it.
There are many photo editing tools online. Many have free versions with basic photo editing tools that you can try out before investing in their full functionality.
Online Photo Editing Tools:
- Pixlr: similar to Photoshop functionality
- Canva: Free Online Photo Editor Best for Marketing
- Fotor: easy-to-use smartphone app
- Snapseed: free mobile app
Product photography affects sales
Online store marketing relies heavily on great product photography. The right lighting and placement ensure that your product is presented well to customers on e-commerce platforms. If the product looks cheap or dingy, sales will be affected.
Product photos showing the product in use are also very helpful for the consumer. Seeing someone else actually use the product allows the consumer to imagine using the product.
If you want to be successful in online sales, you need to get good at product photography. It may take a little trial and error, but with practice, you can learn to take great product photos and edit them to look professional.