A picture is worth a thousand words says the old proverb. These days a picture is worth a 37% higher engagement rate on social media.
This means that you need to be including relevant, eye-catching, memorable photos in your marketing to be noticed.
You also need to be producing solid product photos of your inventory. Online customers can’t touch, see, or smell your products before buying them. Product photos are an extremely important stand-in. People might be buying stuff on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to see what they’re buying.
Quick snaps with your smartphone aren’t going to cut it either. Product photos need to be crisp and professional or the poor quality of the photo will detract from the awesomeness of your product and scare the customer away. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use your smartphone, but you have to set up the photo correctly.
Read on to learn how to take better product photos.
The word “photography” comes from the Greek words for “draw” and “light”. In other words, photography literally means to draw with light.
As such, lighting is a key aspect of your product photos. Improperly lit photos on a white background will make the background look dirty gray in the image. You’d be surprised how difficult it actually is to photograph a clean white background.
To properly light your photos, you’ll first need to decide what kind of light you want to use. You’ve got two options, natural light or studio lighting. On-camera flashes are not an option if you want professional-looking images.
Natural light photos work well when you’re photographing products in a more natural setting. For example, say you’re selling a hiking backpack. A photo of a person hiking through the woods wearing the backpack will be more impactful than the backpack by itself on a white background.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably want both photos at some point. The hiking person is great for your social media ads. The isolated backpack is great in the product description so customers can zoom in and see the features of the backpack clearly.
Shooting in natural light can be tricky. Avoid having the sun directly overhead as this will cause harsh shadows on the subject.
Instead, look for areas where the light is even and is striking the subject from the side. You can do this by placing the product in front of a window, or just inside the edge of any sort of overhang like a tree or a doorway.
You have a bit more control over studio lighting, but you’ll need more equipment. If your products are small, a simple lightbox can be a good investment.
For larger products, you’ll need a large white background and independent lights, preferably with an umbrella or softbox for diffusing the light.
2. Use a Tripod
No matter how steady your hand, you’ll still slightly shake the camera when shooting at a slow shutter speed. This can result in blurry photos.
To avoid this problem, use a tripod.
It also helps speed up the process of taking product photos if you’re photographing several objects at once. All you have to do is set up each product how you want it in front of the camera and take a picture. The camera is already set up nice and straight and you don’t have to worry about repositioning.
3. Basic Photo Editing
You might think photo editing is only for creating false or enhanced images, the opposite of what you want in product photography. You want to show your product as true to life as possible.
But basic editing is important here as well. Being able to adjust basic things like the lighting and color saturation will help you produce a more professional looking photo.
Sometimes more advanced techniques will also come in handy. For example, photographing clothing on a ghost mannequin. This technique involves photographing a piece of clothing on a person or a mannequin and then removing the exposed parts of the body in Photoshop.
This showcases the clothing by itself, yet it also displays how it looks draped on a person’s body.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to shell out several hundred dollars on photo editing classes. Check out basic photo editing videos on YouTube to learn about your chosen editing software. You can also look up specific techniques to learn the technique you need for your type of images.
4. Add Props
For some types of products, it can be helpful to add props. For example, if you’re taking a photo of essential oils you might add some flowers or fruit to add color and depth to the image.
Don’t overboard on adding props. You want to make sure that the focus of the image is always your product. Too many props can confuse customers and they won’t be sure of what you’re actually trying to sell.
5. Presenting Your Images
How you present your images is just as important and how professional they look. Don’t underestimate the importance of using video along with your product’s photos.
For example, you can show happy people using your product in a natural setting. Or you can create how-to videos for a product that consumers have to learn how to use. Review videos are also fantastic for exciting customers about a product.
Make Those Product Photos Pop!
Remember, people are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands of images and advertisements every day. Shoddy product photos are immediately discarded and no one will even think twice about your product.
Follow these tips to create product photos that will turn heads — or at least draw attention to your offerings.