Beautiful product shots help you generate sales, increase your marketability, and establish credibility. Read on to learn how to take fabulous product shots.
The online marketplace is expanding, which means it’s also becoming extremely competitive.
So, how do you make your products and services stand out in an online world filled with new businesses and budding entrepreneurs?
This guide will help you learn how to take impressive, beautiful product shots that will increase your footprint in the online marketplace. From clothing to home decor and more, the pictures you take are the stories you tell, so read on to learn how to become a pro at product photography.
Table of Contents
Use a Tripod as Often as Possible
Tripods will keep your camera steady, and they’re made to get the clearest shot possible. Avoid propping your smartphone or camera against something to get a shot, as it could slip or move when the photo snaps.
When you use a tripod, you can get a clear, crisp shot of any subject. Make sure that you choose a durable, reliable tripod that can hold up to heavy use.
You can hold your camera yourself when taking photographs, but it’s always best to use a tripod whenever you can. When you shoot things handheld, it can be tough to try and get the perfect orientation and coverage of the item you’re photographing.
Another perk of using a tripod? You can go back and forth between the tripod and your product until you find the perfect angle to shoot without having to worry about readjusting yourself. This tip also applies when you’re selling items from home.
Using a tripod ensures that you’re getting a consistent photo across your range of products thanks to the clarity that using one can bring. These accessories are affordable, easy to use, and offer you the ideal way to get clear snapshots of all your products.
Natural or Artificial Light for Product Shots
The type of light you use to take product shots can make a huge difference in the outcome. Using the right lighting arrangements will ensure that you highlight the important features of your particular product.
Remember, the items you sell will be viewable online, so capturing them in the perfect light is key. You’ll need to consider the light source you want to use dependent on the product. For example, natural light may highlight the pros of one product, while artificial light might suit a different product much better.
When shooting in natural light, you’re using sunlight as your light source. This light can create a soft range onto the product rather than something like a direct source of lighting, such as a lamp.
Natural lighting is ideal for products that are meant to be used outside, such as hiking gear, water bottles, or bicycles. You can also shoot people wearing or using your products in natural light.
In some cases, you may want to highlight the environment around the product rather than the product itself. In those cases, natural light is obviously the best choice.
Artificial light involves light bulbs of various types, but it can also include something like a candle or even fire. This form of light is smaller than, say, sunshine, but it’s also much more focused.
If your goal is to highlight intricate details of a product, such as a watch, artificial light is ideal. You also have much better control over the lighting which gives you the ability to focus more intensely on intricate details of objects.
Consider the Background
When taking product shots, you want the item itself to be the star. Backgrounds that are too busy can distract consumers, and then they’ll often overlook the features of the product itself.
Ideally, a pure white background is best for most products, particularly those that you’re trying to highlight a particular color or your brand and logo. You can easily make your own white background in a few different ways.
First, try a single roll of white paper that you can roll over a long table, and use clamps to attach it to something a few feet higher than the table itself. This creates a smooth, singular backdrop that you can place the product on.
One bonus of using a roll of white craft paper or white posterboard (also called a sweep) is that you can easily replace it when it gets dirty.
Lightboxes are another option, and they’re affordable and portable. All you need to do is place your product inside the lightbox and use a good flash for a crisp, sharp photo.
If you prefer something with a bit more personality, you can find backgrounds to purchase that feature textures like marble, wood, or a different color than just pure white. Keep in mind that the background should simply serve as a canvas for the item you’re photographing.
There are times when a natural background like trees or mountains can work well. Just remember that the goal is to focus on the product, so make sure that your background is just that – a part of the background.
Every online retailer does things differently, but it’s best to try and present your products with the same background. You should at least do this for all items within a singular category or product line.
Highlight Your Product Carefully
There are two main ways you can showcase your products through photographs: a picture of the product itself, or the product in use by a consumer. A good example of doing both is when a fashion designer posts photos of their clothing against a white background, and then they showcase it on a model in a separate photograph.
Ideally, you should decide which of the two will work best for your needs and your conversion rates. Product-only images focus on the item itself and give the consumer the opportunity to envision themselves using the product.
When you photograph the item alone, you need to make sure that it puts all of the important features on display. Add some text like a detailed product description so buyers know exactly what they’re getting.
In-context or lifestyle photos are an excellent way to show customers how the product can be used. These work especially well for clothing and accessories, sporting goods, and camping or hiking products.
Most in-context photos work well for social media posts rather than for your online store. When customers see people using or wearing your items in a real-world context, they can see what they’d look like on someone or used by someone.
For the actual storefront, product-only photos tend to do better. You can mix and match the two as long as you’re presenting them in the right formats.
Don’t be afraid to mix things up and show the product photographed in different ways. Many retailers will post at least 12 photos of their products so that consumers can see it in different lighting, used in different ways, and at various angles.
It’s important to remember that your customers cannot physically touch your products when they’re browsing online so your pictures need to tell the story as clearly as possible to get the sale.
If you’re trying to create an online brand, consistency is extremely important and your photos are no exception. Think about the features that make your products stand out, and then use that technique to highlight them in all your photos.
While you’re welcome to change the background, it’s a good idea to try and keep everything the same so it’s streamlined. Too many discrepancies can make customers wary that your products are coming from the same place.
Once you’ve got your photography techniques down, create a template for editing. This template should be used across every photograph so the results are basically similar.
When creating your template, consider the color palette and saturation that will enhance your photos and give them a distinct personality. Include things like the focal length, shadows, and composition as well.
The key is to be as consistent as possible so that the quality of your products are put on full, clear display for shoppers. You may need to do a few practice runs until you get the results you want.
With a good camera, a quality tripod, and the right lighting, you should be able to get impressive product shots. Try taking several pictures with different lighting and backgrounds until you find your groove.
Finally, you’ll need to optimize your photos and use SEO to get traffic to your website. The combination of beautiful photographs and colorful language will entice buyers and give them a crystal clear picture of what they’re buying.
Say it With Photographs
With these easy tips, you can create stunning and beautiful product shots for your website or online store. Using the right tools, techniques, and lighting can mean the difference between sales and slow progress.
Practice makes perfect, so be patient and take as many photos as you can using different lighting with various backgrounds. Once you find the perfect setup, you can create a consistent template that will work for everything you sell.
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