Whether you’re a professional photographer or not, if you have a product you want to sell, you need to have amazing photos of your merchandise. Online stores and e-commerce are growing businesses and if you have experience with photography, great! If not, don’t worry because with a few helpful tips, your products can soon benefit from all the rewards of well-calculated photographic magic.
Use the best light
Natural light is the best type of light for any photo. Photographing your products in early afternoon light is best, and it’s important to keep the light distributed uniformly. For product photography, soft shadows work best so seek out large windows or door to shoot outside whenever possible. When shooting inside with a flash, use a flash diffuser to avoid a hard shadow that centers the light in one spot and can be too harsh for product images.
Create the “Infinity Curve” background
A clean, white background usually works best for product photos as it draws focus to the product. A common way to achieve this is by shooting against what appears to be an endless white background, otherwise known as the “infinity curve.” To achieve this background, bend a piece of white fabric or paper to create a curve and place it behind your product. This eliminates any horizon in the back and gives a pleasant, clean view where the product is the focus of the image. As you gain more experience in product photography, you can branch out to different backgrounds that relate to the merchandise, but the infinity curve is a good place to start.
Experiment with unusual angles
Don’t get suck in just one spot when you’re taking product photos. Instead, move around and play with unusual angles. Take close ups and seek unique points of view to help tell the story of your product. Ensure that your photos reflect the true shape, size and quality of your product, but experiment with angles until you find the ones that show the most attractive features of your merchandise.
Avoid camera shake
Even the smallest movement or vibration can shake your camera and cause motion blur in your images. You want to capture details of your products, and this requires close up shots and the closer you are to the product, the more obvious any blur will be. Place your camera on a tripod to keep it stable and use the built-in timer to maximize accuracy while minimizing camera shake. For photos taken with your smartphone, set it against a sturdy object to help minimize movement.
Convey scale accurately
It’s important to list dimensions of products, but sometimes that’s not enough to convey size. Not all products are something familiar to viewers, so it’s helpful to give it a sense of scale by including an item in the photo that’s more familiar and common. This helps customers visualize the size of the product better.
Connect the product to real life
Photograph your product in a way that relates it to real life. An example of this would be if your product is jewelry, you should have at least one image of the jewelry on a model, like a ring on a finger. This shows how the product looks when worn or in use and conveys the target audience for the product.
Don’t just tell, show
For products that come in a variety of colors and sizes, don’t just tell in the description that it has other options; show it in the photographs. Showing the variety of colors and styles in a set of photos enhances the product’s appeal and increases the chances of making a sale.
Avoid deleting during shooting
There’s nothing wrong with reviewing images on your camera during a shoot, but avoid deleting them because they’ll look very different on a larger screen during processing. Download the photos to your computer and then review them to see which are worthy of further editing and which are safe to delete.
Don’t use filters
Filters have their appeal for certain images, but they have no place in product images. Using a filter to make your photo appear more “artsy” can make your potential customers question product quality and wonder if you’ve accurately represented merchandise. Clean, simple, clear pictures are the best choice for product images.
Use macro setting for close-up
The macro setting on most cameras is the one with the tulip symbol on the dial or in the settings menu and it works great for taking close-up shots of small items like jewelry. For products that are too small for the normal macro setting to capture, try an extension tube, which is a tool often used by the pros.
Edit your images
A photograph of your product may not always accurately show the colors of the merchandise, and this is essential for proper representation. Editing is also a good way to crop, touch up and sharpen images to bring out details. Keep your images approximately the same size to convey a cohesive feel and avoid confusion. If you don’t have access to expensive photo editing software, there are free options online to get you started.
Although you may publish a majority of our product photos in an online shop, if you plan to sell your merchandise at a local craft market or retailer, it’s a good idea to have some signs and graphics printed up to help promote your products. Baboo Digital can help you with all of that and ensure that your products make an unforgettable impression.
Featured image by Ray Hines