They say, don’t judge a book by its cover. But when it comes to selling products online, pictures are what people will judge your products by.
According to Justuno, 93% of consumers consider visual content to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.
The quality of a product photo reflects your brand image, creating the infamous first impression. That means having high-quality product photography can go a long way.
But what if you don't have the budget for an expensive product shoot?
You may be thinking that your only option is to hire a professional photographer. But in fact, you can shoot your products without breaking the bank.
DIY product photography provides a great alternative to the high price point of professional photographers. As long as you know how to use your phone camera, product photography is well within your reach.
In this blog, we’ll share some handy tips on how you can use your mobile camera to produce high-quality product photos.
But first, what makes good product photography?
Product pictures that sell have some common features. These are :
- Multiple shots from different angles
- Clean white or light background
- Good lighting - natural or artificial
- In-context photography
- Consistency in terms of style and editing
With that in mind, let’s dig into some tips that will help you in product shoots.
6 Simple Tips for Great Product Photography
To take great photos of your products, follow these simple tips:
Basic Equipment to Invest in
To start with, here’s some equipment you will need to shoot :
A phone camera/ DSLR
Busting a myth - you don’t need a super expensive DSLR to shoot product images. If you have one, take advantage of it. But if you don’t, you can do great with a phone camera. New age smartphones boast powerful camera lenses and settings that allow you to optimize your shots for the different types of light and environments you might shoot in.
Check out this in-depth guide by Pixelz on using smartphones for product photography.
Using a tripod helps avoid blurry images and bring consistency across photos. There are many good tripods available under $30 that will do the job. You can pick one on Amazon depending on whether you’re using a smartphone or a DSLR.
Here’s one that is highly recommended on Amazon.
Backdrop & Lightbox
These are essential to make a photoshoot space. More on this below.
Set up your Photoshoot Space
When it comes to setting up your photoshoot space, two things need to be taken care of:
One of the essential features of a good photograph is the right background. This applies to any photograph, not just those taken in the studio. You might want to consider purchasing commercial backdrops that can significantly improve the quality of your shots.
Here’s a super helpful guide to choosing the right backdrop by Westcott University.
In this blog, Shotkit shares some wonderful backdrops you can invest in.
Next, you want to make sure that the lighting is right. Lighting can be very tedious to set up, but when done right, it brings beautiful results and significantly simplifies your post-processing.
You have 2 options:
Natural Light: Best if you’ve created a chair mounted sweep.
Studio Light: Best if you have the budget, or if you create a lightbox.
Here’s a guide on DIY Natural Light Photography by Shopify.
Keep some Inspirations handy
Before you set out to shoot product photos, look at how other brands in the industry have shot their products. It always helps to take some inspiration and ideas from thought leaders. For example, if you are shooting for a clothing brand, you might want to look up how some of the famous ones like Levis are doing product photography.
Frames & Angles for Shooting
When it comes down to actual shooting, it’s helpful to learn a few simple rules and tricks. Here are some that you will find helpful -
Shoot from Multiple Angles
When you go to a store, you usually like to see the product from every angle. Likewise when shooting, shoot from different angles to give a full perspective. Try a close-up, side view, top view. Experiment with the angles and choose the one that highlights the best features for the product. Always keep the product in focus.
Apply the Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a simple photography lesson that can help you shoot great product photos. This rule teaches you to visualize your canvas as nine equal segments. It goes against placing the subject in the middle of the frame. Rather, the subject of the product photo should be placed on the intersections of the horizontal and vertical lines. Here’s a quick tutorial -
Expert Photography shares some more interesting rules for product photography in this guide.
Use Props that put Product in Context
Your product photos should inspire the audience to envision themselves using the product. Using simple props can help you achieve that.
For example, if you are doing a photoshoot for baking ingredients, you could keep a mixer or a cake in the frame.
But don’t go overboard with props. Keep them simple and contextual.
The final step is to edit your product photos. But with so many apps and tools available, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some that we recommend -
Phone editing apps
Super rich in terms of features available. The precision with a lot of the tools is fantastic, which is perfect for those detail-oriented photographers. (Available on Apple, Android, and Windows phones.)
Super intuitive to use, VSCO cam has filters that come with the software, and additional filter packs available for an additional cost. You can choose your favorite filter and make it “the look” for your business, applying it to all your photos before you post them. There are additional image-editing tools in VSCO Cam that allow for a lot of precision, but are intuitive and easy to use.
Adobe Photoshop is arguably the most famous editing tool you can use to edit photos. It's a complete package, with top-notch organization tools, state of-the-art adjustments, and all the output and printing options you could want. That said, it might take some time & training for you to be able to use Adobe well.
This is perfect for you if you’re a beginner. Thousands of well-designed templates, elements, awesome looking photos - all in one place with a powerful editor and great UI. It has so many features, and it comes at a bargain price of $12.95 per month. There's also a very generous free plan, and customer support is wonderful.
These are some simple tips that will go a long way in helping you with your product shoot. In addition, there’s some great content you can watch on YouTube that will help you learn the basics of photography. Like this one by B&H on product photography for beginners-
Product photography is important to you as a business. But it doesn’t have to come at a huge cost.
With a few simple tips and your phone camera, you can do a great job at product photography. So, it’s time you get around clicking those pictures and watching your conversion rates go up. We are here to help when you need us.