Many online store owners focus on implementing website optimization strategies to increase sales. They write original content, make the website mobile-friendly, adjust site structure, and more. These changes are necessary, but online entrepreneurs should pay attention to product images. They should also be aware of product photography basics.
As human beings, we are hard-wired to love enticing imagery. Science tells us that every time we see something attractive, half of our brain process what we see. In a nutshell, we are bad-ass visual addicts. That addiction influences our shopping cart too. Product photos can influence their purchasing decision, according to 93% of buyers.
When you see a pixelated and poorly edited product image, what do you do? You hit the close button faster than the Flash. It happens to most of us. We find a product that we’ve been looking for in ages. But because we were so disappointed with the visual content that we look somewhere else. For shoppers, this is a minor inconvenience. But for online business owners, this could mean hundreds of dollars loss of revenue. So, what should you do?
A professional product photographer can capture high-quality images. As you might have guessed, you need to pay them. Photographers’ rates can vary. Some may ask for per hour payment. Generally, they will charge based on what you need. They will take into account equipment use, shoot duration, and post-editing.
But if the budget is tight and you have a DSLR camera, tripod, and lights, then you can do it on your own. If you’ve used your camera for casual-use only, don’t fret. We will teach you product photography basics. But first, you should know that there are two image options for you. First is a product only image with a white background. Second, an in-context lifestyle photo that showcases the product in real-life usage. Now here are our product photography basics you should keep in mind:
DIY Photography Basics #1 – Choose a white background
Taking product photographs isn’t the hard part; it’s editing them. With a white backdrop, you can make the entire process stress-free. But you should make sure that you are not using any white item you can find in your house. It would be best if you chose a white cloth without any texture and pattern. A simple and plain white backdrop will do. If you don’t have fabric, you can use white cardboard.
DIY Photography Basics #2 – Place the product on a sturdy surface
You would want the product on a flat surface. A table or chair work but make sure it is even. You don’t need to paint your furniture white. Drape over the while backdrop over it, and you are good to go. Make sure to secure it in place by using clips or double-sided tape.
DIY Photography Basics #3 – Use your tripod
It is okay to hold the camera if you don’t make the slightest movement halfway through the shoot. So, if your guns aren’t strong enough, get a tripod. It helps with product orientation consistency. Plus, your arms won’t get tired, especially when you have several products to shoot. You don’t have to buy expensive ones. Go for a tripod with sturdy feet, (preferably with leg locks), adjustable height, and either a pant-tilt head or ball head.
DIY Basics #4 – Get the right lighting
Post-editing gives you the opportunity for color correction. But, poor picture quality is a lost cause. Even with God-like Photoshop skills, a bad photograph is a bad photograph. What you should do is get proper lighting. You don’t need to have fancy and expensive studio lights. You can take advantage of natural light. But what if it is too bright and it creates unwanted reflection? You can cover the window with a white cloth or paper. For harsh shadows, you can put white cardboard on the side of the product.
DIY Basics #5 – Skip the wide-angle lens
Sure, a wide-angle lens gives you more room to work with. But, there’s one downside – it distorts the photo! In a report, 22% of customers return items when it is different in person. So, if you want your pictures to be accurate, skip the wide-angle lens and stick to the standard lens. The focal length of the standard lens is 50mm.
DIY Basics #6 – Get different product angles
Although the front angle is commonly used in ecommerce websites, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get different angles. Whatever product you have, make it a habit to get a three-quarter angle, profile angle, back angle, top shot, and a closeup shot. You should also consider the three viewpoints – low shot, eye level, and high shot.
DIY Basics #7 – Consider getting a DSLR camera
We are not saying that you can’t use a smartphone camera for your product photography shoots. Yet, there is a reason why DSLRs still exist. They are versatile. You can adjust aperture, shutter speed, adjust exposure, and more. Generally, it can provide better picture quality. It doesn’t mean you should get all crazy and buy Sony’s latest mirrorless camera.
DIY Basics #8 – Taking the photos
First, make sure that you’ve set up your camera. Turn off the flash, switch to Automatic White Balance, and set the image quality to RAW. Don’t forget to adjust the ISO to 100. You don’t want higher ISO levels because it can create noise. If you are familiar with your camera’s manual settings, you can play around and see what is suitable. However, if you are not confident enough, set the camera to aperture and adjust the f/stop to a higher level. Adjust, if necessary. Your last option would be the Auto mode.
In a brick and mortar store, customers walk in because the displayed items are attractive. This is also the same as an online store. Potential buyers stay and browse your website because they like what they see. So, if your images are ugly, they’ll head out and look for other sellers.
Our product photography tips can help create high-quality, professional, and more attractive images. Remember, images draw attention and conversion. Never settle for less. Read more about how to photograph clothing here.