The e-reputation of your brand and your products is often based on the quality of your product photography. Although there are some factors of your ecommerce business that you might not have much control over, using high-quality product photos isn’t one of them.
Beautiful photographs that appear professional give consumers quite a bit of extra confidence in the quality of your products and can make or break your brand. When you post photos or images with bad lighting that don’t display the product well, this can damage your business’s reputation and therefore your sales.
Depending on your budget, you have a couple of options to consider for your ecommerce product photography.
If you’re able to pay for a professional photographer, a freelancer, or an agency, then we would recommend taking this route. However, if that’s not the case, this article on ecommerce product photography was written for you!
Following these simple tips will help you to shoot beautiful and professional-looking photographs with “DIY photography.” Obtaining great ecommerce images is really not as hard as you might think if you’re willing to put in a bit of time and work!
Basic principles for photographing your products
It’s often stated that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is no less true for product photography for an ecommerce business. A well-photographed product will create a much greater impact than a long product description, wouldn’t you agree?
Regarding your product page, it’s best to opt for concise descriptions. You should include all the basic characteristics of the product but then focus on letting the photo that you post do the rest. However, you’ll also want to ensure that your descriptions are optimized for SEO and are both fun and original to gain the interest of your visitors!
When your potential customers browse your site, your products are untouchable. Your visitors can refer only to the images you present.
So, if you want to improve the sales of your store, make it easier to discover your products with photos showing all the details! Photograph your products from all angles, as it will allow shoppers to have a clearer idea of your products and therefore help them to decide if they want to make a purchase.
Close-up shots will help to show all the different details and show hidden features of your product that you can’t see from afar. This type of image can help to remove any doubt customers might have about the quality of products, encouraging them to buy more easily.
That said, some products require more photos than others. For example, for gourmet gummy bears, a couple of photos will work.
However, if you’re photographing something like a guitar, a jacket, a pair of shoes, or a bicycle, you’ll need to post additional images. As your potential customers will want to see all the specifics of more complex products, be sure to shoot those images accordingly.
Preparing your photography studio on a budget
If you’re new to ecommerce, it’s possible that your funds for product photography may be limited.
Not a problem.
Here are several things to include in your at-home or in-office studio that can help you to capture excellent photos for your website when you’ve got a budget to consider.
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to spend a ton of money or have professional-level equipment to create amazing product photos to post on your website.
Today, it’s possible to get great studio equipment, including a camera, for ecommerce product photography without forking out too much cash.
A digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera is recommended by many photographers and specialized photography sites. This type of camera is admittedly a great device for product photography, designed to shoot beautiful images, but it’s not for everyone.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that our smartphones have high-quality built-in cameras. These days, most smartphones are able to shoot high-definition, top-notch photos, making them a viable option for your ecommerce product photography!
We can see this in the image below.
While the camera is obviously an important detail for product photography in ecommerce, it’s not everything. If you want to invest in a camera to capture great shots of your products, you’ll be sure to find some good-value options online. However, make sure to do your research before purchasing.
If you do choose to get a camera, you’ll need to also think about potentially buying different lenses and most importantly, a tripod! It’ll make all the difference when shooting images for your product photography.
If you’re an experienced online seller or someone who needs photos with refined detail, then you’ll likely need to put some money into this equipment. Don’t worry, though—getting the best camera and other product photography accessories you can afford will be worth it!
Another thing to consider when you shoot an image for your brand is the background. In most cases, you’re going to need a smooth white background and a specific type of lighting for product photography. Don’t panic—these elements are easy to find!
You can buy rolls of white paper from a photography store or go to a local supply store. Make sure to pick the right one; your paper should be as close as possible to pure white. You’ll also need a white foam board or white cardboard to control the light reflecting on your product to ensure even lighting in the image.
Stick your paper to the wall and roll it down onto the table. The idea is to create a slight curve in the paper, a bit like a skateboarding ramp! Then position your lighting so that the entire area is well lit so as to better show off your product in the image.
Photo: Jason Lawrence
In terms of your photography lighting, this is something that might take a bit of practice to learn how to control for your product shots. It’s possible to work with affordable lighting kits that you can find online. However, that’s not your only option for getting the best light possible when shooting ecommerce images.
Natural light can also work wonders for product photography! Your windows can be both your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to light for your product photography. You can set up your studio so that it benefits from natural lighting, but keep in mind that direct sunlight can overexpose your photos.
Your studio should be to the left or the right of the light, with lighting also from the other side to get rid of any shadows. Avoid having windows behind you, as they can also create unwanted shadows and detract from the gorgeous lighting in your images.
You don’t need a huge amount of space in order to shoot beautiful photos (depending on the size of your product, of course). If you’re photographing small items, such as jewelry or wallets, you can set them on a simple table near a wall in an empty room. If your products are bigger, get rid of the table!
It’s best to also take note of the detail in your products. For example, if you’re photographing a lamp of some type, we suggest keeping the light turned off. You should also avoid rooms or spaces that are brightly covered.
If possible, you can cover them with white paper. In addition, be sure to consider any shine or reflection of your products, as you could end up accidentally being featured in your product photography!
Editing your photos
The last step in product photography before you post your photographs on your ecommerce business’s site is editing. However, keep in mind that no matter how much editing you do, a bad photo is still a bad photo.
Nevertheless, an “okay” photo can be highlighted and made beautiful with a few color, luminosity, and contrast corrections and adjustments. Following this line of thought, a great image can become an exceptional one if you know how to edit it properly.
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are both great software applications to assist you with photo editing. You can even use them to edit an image on your smartphone!
However, two downfalls are that you first need to take the time to learn how to use them and they aren’t free.
As far as learning how they work, there are plenty of great tutorials online to help you. In terms of payment, it’s up to you to decide whether you can fit it into your product photography budget.
If you’re looking for a free editing tool for photos of your products, you can test GIMP, Pixlr, or the freemium version of Fotor. You should be able to find what you need for the high-quality editing of your product photography with one of these!
Some helpful tips and ideas for your product photos
For some added inspiration, here are a few handy pieces of advice to assist you during your product photo shoots.
Include a transparent surface in the image
To help bring out the details of your product in a photo, you can use a transparent surface. A bottle with a gradient effect in the background will do!
You can also create this effect in product photography by placing the product on a black surface (fabric or cardboard), covered with clear glass. Then, place a light under the table pointing towards the bottom and another light pointing toward the top of the product.
Use what’s around you
Another one of our best tips for your product photography shots is to focus on what you have on hand. You can often create the perfect set-up with simple household items and a bit of imagination. Take some time to see what’s already available to you and play around with different lighting angles!
It’s time to get creative!
Now that you’ve learned how to furnish your photo studio and our tips for shooting images for ecommerce, you’re ready to take some amazing photos. Get camera confident and let your creativity and knowledge shine in your product photography.
Be sure that you’re following best practices for your ecommerce images to help make your products and your website all the more appealing.
Share with us, in the comments, your tips that help you to create the best product images possible for your brand!