How to Take Good Product Photos: A Guide for Retailers
As a professional photographer, I know that good product photos are essential to success. Whether you’re selling products online or in a brick-and-mortar store, great product photos can make all the difference. But how to take good product photos?
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top tips on how to take good product photos. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to take beautiful pictures of your products that will help them sell like hotcakes!
How to Take Good Product Photos
DIY Product Photography Tutorial – How to Use Your Product Photos to Grow Your Ecommerce Website
Product photos are one of the most important aspects of an e-commerce website. Follow this easy, do-it-yourself guide to taking your own professional-looking shots.
As you become more comfortable with your photography skills, you can branch out into different types of shots. Be creative and have fun with it!
You’ll be able to build your brand and showcase your products online exactly how you want!
If done right, you’ll increase your sales and conversion rates, grow your online business, and maybe even start selling your images as a side hustle!
6 Types of Product Photography
There is no single type of photo that works best for all online stores. Just as each online store has its own set of products, each product page also has different requirements.
Whether you’re looking to keep a uniform style across all your products or mix things up, understanding the differences between each style of photo and how to capture them is important.
Below, we’ll go over the six main types of product photos, when to use each one, and what it looks like in action.
1. Individual Shots
One of the most common types of product photos is the individual shot. This type of photo contains only one object in the frame.
Individual shots are an excellent way to show off specific products in your product catalog, banners, and on product pages, making them stand out from the rest.
This catalog image from SkullCandy uses a simple background to keep the focus on the product. This works well for banners, and for highlighting products on pages throughout the site.
2. Group Shots
Group shots are perfect for showcasing your product range and collections. They provide customers with a complete view of your offerings, rather than just one product. This type of photography is great for social media posts and advertisements.
A group photo is especially helpful for brands who sell a variety of items, as it gives your consumers an idea of the variety you have available.
3. Lifestyle Shots
Lifestyle shots are a great way to show your customers how your products can be used in their everyday lives. In this example from Peter Christian, a lifestyle shot is used to show the story behind the product. This type of shot is a great way to connect with your customers and give them an idea of how your product can fit into their daily routine.
Lifestyle photos are a great way to show off your products in a relatable way. Not to mention, these types of shots tend to be eye-catching and engaging, making them ideal for marketing purposes.
4. Scale Shots
While descriptions may state the dimensions, images can be misleading.
Scale shots are a great way to give potential customers a better idea of the size of an item. By comparing it with other common household items, customers can better gauge whether or not it’s the right size for them.
This can help customers picture your product in their daily lives, increasing confidence when making a purchase.
5. Detailed Shots
For products with intricate details, close-up photos can help show those features better than traditional images. This is especially helpful for items like necklaces and earrings.
Macrophotography is a specific type of close-up shot that requires special lighting and a camera with a macro setting.
6. Packaging Shots
Customers do indeed care about how products are shipped.
A seamless customer experience is one in which the customer has a consistent and positive experience with your company. This includes the shopping process, from browsing through your products to purchasing them and having them arrive at your door.
Your product or service might be great, but if your packaging isn’t up to snuff, your customers will notice. Make sure you package your product well so it makes a good impression.
If you’ve designed packaging for your product, why not show it off on your landing page?
Packaging shots are one of the best ways to showcase your products. This image shows a product, as well as its packaging and labeling. Whether it’s in a package, box, or bag, packaging photos are a great way to show your customers what they’ll be getting.
6 Product Photography Tips for Taking Pictures That Sell
The following list provides essential tips and tricks for creating an effective photograph and marketing campaign for your products.
1. Take Advantage of Your Smartphone Camera
This is where I tell you that a 50MP camera is worth the investment. But I won’t.
If you don’t have a high-quality digital camera, don’t worry. Most smartphones these days have cameras that can capture images with decent quality.
Today’s smartphones come with enhanced camera lenses and features that let you adjust your shots according to the type of light and environment you’re in.
If you’re still not convinced that your smartphone camera can take amazing photos, just check out Apple’s Shot On An iPhone campaign. These photos are truly stunning, like this one:
2. Shoot From a Tripod for Consistency
I should start by saying that there is a cardinal rule when it comes to using tripods, and that is NOT to use something sturdy to prop your phone up against to aim your lens.
If you’re using makeshift equipment, such as a pile of textbooks, make sure the camera doesn’t move during the shot.
If you only have a few product photos to shoot for your online store, it’s okay to hold your camera yourself.
When taking photos of your products, a tripod will help you keep everything consistent.
Tripods come in all shapes and sizes, so you don’t necessarily have to invest in a huge, industrial-sized one. There are plenty of smaller options available that can still do the job just as well.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a tripod:
Traditional vs. Flexible
This tripod can hold both your smartphone and camera.
A portable and flexible camera stand is a useful tool for capturing great shots. You can adjust its legs and position it on any surface to get the ideal shot.
If you’re shooting with a smartphone, you’ll need to use a special tripod mount. Most pro-level camera equipment has a specific attachment point for this, but smartphone adapters include a mobile grip.
This two-sided grip securely holds your phone. It also has an adapter that screws into a tripod, allowing you to use a smartphone as a camera.
When setting up your camera, place your camera on a tripod and mark the ground with a piece of tape where each leg will go. This will keep your shot the same throughout.
3. Natural Light vs Artificial Light
When photographing products, remember that your buyers get their best view of the product in person, where they can examine it thoroughly before making a decision.
The right lighting can help to highlight key features of a product that may influence a customer’s decision-making process. By ensuring that your audience has access to clear and concise product photography, you can create a more efficient and effective shopping experience.
Lighting setups can make or break a product. It’s important to consider which type of lights will bring out the best in your products.
There are two main types of lighting: natural and artificial.
Natural light is ideal for e-commerce product shots because it creates a softer, more flattering light than direct artificial light. The sun also casts a larger range of light, which can help to reduce shadows and create a more even lighting overall.
Product photos that are taken outside in natural sunlight tend to look the best.
If you want your e-commerce product shots to shine, shoot the product outside or with a person. This will emphasize the product’s surroundings and make the shot look more natural.
Here’s an example of a product that was shot with natural light:
Using artificial lighting in your home is a great alternative to using natural sunlight. Candles, fires, and bulbs are all great ways to add this type of light and are often referred to as “hard lights” because they produce a small, focused light source.
While natural light is ideal for showing off products, artificial light is better for highlighting product features.
In general, try to limit yourself to one source of lighting in a photo.
If you want to soften the look of a product, add natural light. If you want to sharpen the look of a product, add artificial light.
4. Fill or Bounce Your Light to Soften Shadows
Natural or artificial lighting can be used, but be careful that the shadow doesn’t fall on the other end of the object.
There are a few ways you can do this:
To properly illuminate your products, place a light on the opposite side of your camera. This will ensure even lighting for both sides of your object.
Flashbulb Bounce Card
A bounce card is a great way to reduce shadows and add some extra light to your product photography. By attaching the bounce card to the flashbulb of your professional camera lens, you can diffuse the light from the camera’s flash and create a more evenly lit product.
Some photographers use special flash attachments for their cameras. These help soften the flash, creating a more natural-looking photo.
This lighting technique casts a soft light on your subject from above, instead of directly above, so you don’t have harsh shadows that are cast behind your shot.
The white screen on the left will diffuse the flash to provide a softer light. The foil screen on the right will also diffuse the flash, but it will create a more specular (shiny) effect.
Standalone Bounce Card
For beginner photographers, this bounce card is a cheap alternative to a fill-light, which softens the harsh lighting from your camera’s built-in or external flashes.
5. Use Sweep or Portrait Mode to Highlight the Product
The best lighting for a product depends on the background of the photo. The position of your products, lights, and camera all depends on what you’re selling.
Your company’s product or service should be presented in a way that helps it to look its best. This can help not only create a good initial impression but also increase the chances that your buyer will make a purchase.
First, decide whether you want a background image or a solid background color. It’s easy to do either one.
White Background: Sweep
For backgrounds with a plain, light color, it’s often not that simple to set up a background. Smartphone camera lenses can pick apart even small imperfections on a pure white surface.
To achieve a perfectly white background, use a sweep. This will ensure that there are no corners or blemishes.
A sweep is a type of photography that places the product on a white background. The sweep is a large, flexible sheet of white paper.
In videos, the sweep of the cameras is barely noticeable, allowing viewers to focus on the most important features.
Real-World Background: Portrait Mode
A dynamic, real-life backdrop can be appealing when photographing a product with a specific use, such as in the example of the briefcase. But a distracting, real-world setting can steal the focus of a photo, making it difficult for the viewer to know what you’re trying to sell.
The portrait photo settings on your camera or smartphone allow you to take product photos that stand out from their surroundings.
This background is ideal for when you don’t want any distractions from your product, but still want some context around it.
This photo taken in Portrait Mode on a Pixel 2 does such a good job keeping focus on the subject, the Hubspot Pen, while also blurring the background.
6. Shoot a Variety of Images
Keep on snapping! Just as customers in a brick-and-mortar shop can touch, feel, and try on products, so should your online store. Offer a variety of angles, close-up shots, and videos of your products so that customers can experience them to the fullest.
If you’re selling clothes, for instance, it’s crucial that you capture the product by itself – laid out on a white background. This will give customers a clear idea of what it looks like. Also, photograph the garments on a model of a complementary color to really make them stand out. By doing this, you’ll provide visitors with an accurate idea of what the apparel looks like and how well it will fit.
If you want more photos of your clothing line, have models wear the clothes so you can take photos from different perspectives.
How to take good product photos? By following these simple tips, you can take beautiful pictures of your products that will help them sell like hotcakes! So don’t wait any longer, put these tips into practice and start taking some amazing product photos today!