Are you a creative business looking to launch your first online shop? Take great-looking product photos that will have your wares flying out the door.
When it comes to selling online, few things are as important as your product pictures. They tell the story of your products’ colors, texture, size and shape, and how they can be worn or used. Showing your products in use helps customers visualize themselves enjoying your creations, making them more likely to buy. But how to take great product photos without a professional photographer?
It’s worth taking a little time over your product shots, but you don’t have to be Dorothea Lange to create your own scroll-worthy gallery goodness. You don’t even need a fancy camera for great product photography – most modern smartphones can do the job. Here are some tips to get you taking successful snaps, fast.
Forget fancy cameras – the most important ingredient in a photograph is lighting.
That’s unless you have access to a professional studio where daylight conditions can be replicated.
The golden rule is to shoot away from the light source, not into it. So if your light is pouring in from a window, stand between the window and your products (being careful not to cast a shadow onto the scene).
No nice big windows? No problem – you can use a doorway to create a temporary light source. If you can, pop the door open and let the light flood in.
You might not think so, but a cloudy overcast day is the best time to shoot product pictures. The clouds act as a natural diffuser, filtering the light so it’s more evenly distributed with no harsh bars of sunlight or strong shadows.
If you’re taking photos of your products outdoors, a large area of shade like the side of your house is a good place to set up.
If you have limited natural light available – a common problem for people working around a day-job during the winter months – you could try arranging some household LED lamps around your shooting space and diffusing their light with some sheets of baking paper or copier paper.
Placing smaller items like jewelry on a sheet of white foam board will give you a nice bright background without shiny reflections. You can also position white foam board around your shooting space to maximize the amount of light available.
Product photography is fun… the first few times. But taking lots of pictures from multiple angles and selecting the best ones quickly gets time-consuming. When your shop is up and running, you’ll want to spend less time picking through product photos and more on running your business. If you have a standard set of product shots, photographs become an easy-breezy task. Here’s our suggested list…
Using macro mode, if your camera or smartphone has it, zoom right in on the texture of your product so buyers can see the quality.
A snap showing the item’s size relative to a common object like a coin, smartphone or doorway. Taking pictures of your products in use, for example in a hand or on a mannequin, is great for showing scale. If your product is clothing or fabric, it also shows off the drape and texture.
Let customers see the backs or bottoms of your item too – even if it’s rarely going to be seen when the product’s in use. The aim is to replicate what they would see if they were looking at it in real 360-degree life. How your items are stitched, bound or finished on the reverse can be a strong indicator of quality.
Show your product in a group with varied colors or styles, or alongside similar items in a range which might tempt buyers. Try showing the actual packaging they will receive – especially if you have a gift-like box or wrapping. This helps people imagine receiving their package and could give them that extra nudge they need to hit ‘add to cart.’
Finally, a few areas where you need to tread carefully when taking product photos. Here are 3 things to watch out for when taking photos of your products: