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Marketing 360® Blog

6 Tips for Professional Product Photography

Post By Robyn Rivera | eCommerce Marketing

The quality of your product photos can mean the difference between making the sale and losing it.

There’s a lot of trust that goes into making a purchase online, but that trust isn’t blind, and people won’t buy a product without first seeing it. Photos are the first thing your customers will look at when they check out your product online. So, even if you have Pulitzer-prize-winning product descriptions, it won’t matter much if your photos aren’t up to part.

Hiring a photographer to take your product photos is always a good choice, but if your budget is tight, it might not be a viable option. However, you don’t necessarily need to hire a photographer to get professional product photos.

6 Tips for Capturing Professional-Quality Photos on Your Own

#1. Use your smartphone!

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy camera in order to get great photos of your products, especially not when most people are already carrying around powerful cameras as it is.

The smartphone camera has come a long way. The earliest smartphone cameras used fewer than four megapixels, which made it difficult to capture the fine details of your products. But, smartphone cameras have advanced quite a bit and are now more than capable of capturing professional photos of your products.

#2. Invest in a tripod.

Professional products photos are steady and consistent, which is difficult to do with your hands alone. You need a way to keep your camera steady, and your best option is to use a tripod.

While propping your phone on a shelf or a counter may work in a pinch, there’s always a risk that your phone will slide or fall. Tripods are much steadier and more reliable. Using a tripod also makes it much easier to place your camera at the appropriate height.

Tripods aren’t just for traditional cameras anymore. There are many options that are designed specifically for smartphones these days.

#3. Get the lighting right.

Natural light and artificial light both have their place in product photography, and when used correctly, both can be an asset. However, both natural light and artificial light can also be a blight on your product photos if used inappropriately, which is why it’s important to get it right.

Natural light, obviously, comes from the sun or the moon, and it’s a great option for small business owners on a tight budget because it’s plentiful and 100-percent free.

When to use natural light:

The product you’re shooting is meant to be used outdoors.
The product is being worn or used by a person, since people typically look better with natural lighting.
Your goal is to emphasize the surroundings rather than the product’s specific details.

Artificial light is produced by any source other than the sun or the moon. Candles, light bulbs, and the flash on your camera are all examples of artificial light.

When to use artificial light:

  • You don’t have access to natural light due to weather conditions or the time of day you’re able to shoot.
  • You want your products to appear sharper.
  • You want to highlight the details of your products.

Whatever you do, don’t try to mix artificial light and natural light in your product photography. Focus on one or the other.

#4. Soften the shadows.

Nothing can distract the eye from a product in a photo like a harsh shadow can. Harsh shadows are more common when you’re using artificial light. But, luckily, with a little know-how, you can soften the shadows and make your products appear more dynamic.

Here are a couple of ways to soften the shadows in your product photos:

  • Fill light – A fill light is a less-intense light source that’s used to counterbalance the main light source, which softens the shadow. The fill light should be placed directly opposite of the main light source, with the product in between.
  • Bounce card – A bounce card is a small, reflective card that reflects the light from the main source, reducing the harshness of the shadows. The bounce card, like a fill light, should be placed opposite the main light source, on the other side of the product.

#5. Make your products stand out.

The background in your product images can either make your product stand out or overpower it. There are lots of different options when it comes to backgrounds, and also a lot of different ways to get it right.

Here are a couple of background options to make your product stand out:

  • Sweep backgrounds – Even if you capture a product on an all-white surface in front of an all-white wall, there’s still going to be little things that distract the eye from the product, like the place where the table meets the wall or even imperfections in the drywall. Instead, set the product on a large, white piece of paper, that’s curved upwards and taped to the wall. This is called a sweep background, and it creates a true, all-white background that makes every detail of the product stand out.
  • Portrait mode – Many newer smartphones now offer portrait mode, which allows you to make your products stand out when using real-world backgrounds. In this setting, the background is blurred, so that it won’t compete with your product for the viewer’s attention.

#6. Take lots of photos of your products.

Even if you’ve captured the picture image of your product, you need more than one on your website. When a customer is shopping in-person, they like to look at the details of products at different angles. This is true whether they’re trying on a new pair of jeans or picking out a new dishwasher. The best way to recreate this same experience online is to take a variety of photos of your products, capturing every angle and every last detail.

Whether you need help capturing the perfect product photos, planning out your ecommerce marketing strategy, or building an ecommerce website that converts, Marketing 360® is here for you. Learn more today!