I don’t know about you but one of the things that turns me off the fastest when visiting a website, especially an e-commerce website, is seeing blurry, dark or really bad product photos. I’ll leave the site immediately and never go back! The same goes for social media sites. Store owners may not realize just how many sales they are probably losing due to their bad product photos but it could be a lot. Your website, blog and social media pages are reflections of your business. If they don’t look so great, potential buyers may think your products aren’t so great either.
When customers shop in a physical store they can touch a product, try it on and look at it from all angles. They can’t do this with the products in your online store. That’s why good photos are so very important. You need to provide customers with an experience as close to physical shopping as you possibly can. This mean giving them clear, crisp uncluttered photos of your products. Showing your products at different angles is also important. It allows customers to really check the product out. Does your product come in different colors? Show the color options too.
The best solution to provide outstanding product photos would be to hire a professional to take photos of your products. If, due to budget limitations that’s not possible, you may be able to purchase photos from stock photography websites like iStock, Adobe Stock, Photodune or Shutterstock just to name a few. But if you’re working with a small budget it is possible to set up your own affordable photography studio quite easily. While researching this topic we found a couple of articles that provided good DIY (do-it-yourself) product photography tips. We found one blog post at Wix, 11 DIY Product Photography Hacks and another on Shopify, The Ultimate DIY Guide to Beautiful Product Photography.
Reading either of the articles above will provide you with tips on the equipment you need as well as necessary lighting. Shopify’s article goes a little further with their article and includes steps on how to set up your camera. Here’s a quick recap of what you’ll need:
Camera – You don’t have to buy the most expensive digital camera out there but you do want to pay attention to a few options. Look for a camera that allows you to adjust output settings to get a raw file or the very largest .jpg file you can get. You can read reviews of the best cameras to use for product photography on the market at digitalcameraHQ.
Tripod – A tripod is a must to avoid blurry photos. A simple push of the shutter can move your camera and create a blurry photo.
White Background – A white background is necessary for shooting single product items where a natural setting is not necessary. You can pick up thin white matte board from a craft supply store.
Natural Setting – If you’re selling products like shirts for instance, try to show at least one photo on a live model if possible. If not, use a mannequin. At the very least, hang it up on a clothes rack instead of displaying it on a chair or something else. Multiple angles and colors of your product can be shown on a white background but it’s important to give your customer an idea of how it will look on them in a natural setting.
Use the right light – Natural light works the best and as both articles mention, it’s best to try to set up your studio next to a large window.
Photo Editing/Retouching – While editing and retouching can be tricky if you don’t have any training in that area there are some free or low cost graphic editors available like GIMP, Pic Monkey, Paint.net. None of these are on the same level as Adobe Photoshop but can help you with some basic photo editing. Your best bet, however, may be to outsource this step to a professional since it isn’t all that costly.
I hope this article helps you get on the right path to providing awesome product photos on your website. As always, please feel free to ask a question or post your comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
Is it possible to take good photos with my iPhone?
Great question! Yes, it is possible to take good product photos with your iPhone or Smartphone. Good lighting and using a timer will help you get some great shots from your phone. Watch out for blurry photos however. It’s easier to get some blurriness using a smartphone because a simple push of the shutter can cause your camera/phone to move. We found another great article, “How to Master Product Photography on a Tight Budget (We Did it With Less Than $50)” from Bigcommerce that talks a little about using an iPhone 5 and a free app like VSCOCam to take some pretty good shots. Keep us posted on how you’re doing with your product photos and comment with any tips you’d like to share.