Perfect your Product Photography Helpful tips to create better shots for your e-commerce business

Whether you already have a thriving e-commerce business or you’re just starting out, these tips and tricks can help elevate your product photography to create pristine and intriguing images, which will ultimately maximize your overall conversions.

Tools and tactics to help you DIY

More than likely, you do not have an extra helping hand to assist in your product photography. Not to worry. There are many ways you can produce perfect product photos on your own!

Tripods and the like:

Tripods are perfect for steadying your camera and catching the correct angle. You can find them pretty inexpensively online; investing even $15-$20 can suit your needs for this purpose. Otherwise, the stool in your kitchen is an even less expensive option, as are the books on your shelf. Use books on top of a stool or chair to reach the desired height, then shoot.

Our photo setup with a tripod, and a propped up reflector

Our DIY setup — all you really need to get some great photos is a bright window, a tripod (or chair with books), white paper backdrop, a reflector and something to prop that reflector up (we used some galvanized pipes).

Use of props:

Have a reflector but no one to hold it? Struggling to manufacture the perfect light in one hand and shoot the camera in the other? We venture to guess that there are many heavy objects in your home that can withstand the weight of a >1 pound reflector or even a 2 pound light source. Get creative with resting these tools against other objects to create your perfect shot. A great tool to invest in for propping are shop clamps, you can buy sets containing various sizes for under $15. They’re incredibly versatile and become like an extra set of hands you can use anywhere to hold things up.

Get great photos from natural lighting

Our photo setup with a tripod, and a propped up reflector

While artificial lighting can create great results, the same can be said for natural lighting in many cases; plus it’s 100% free to use! A natural source can give you a great supply of beautifully diffused light.

The final result

The result after being edited in Clipping Magic. Side note: To create consistent shots of reflective items (similar to the one above), use the foam core in front of the object to “blank out” the reflection. We did not do this for the purposes of this example, but it is a great example of where it could benefit. The non-uniform reflections are definitely a distraction and could be easily fixed with this technique.

The best way to harness natural lighting is by flanking your item with either a reflector or white foam core board. Regarded as a “photographer’s best friend”, a reflector expertly bounces light from its source onto the subject to create an even glow. Using white foam core is a cost-effective alternative that produces similar results.

Example of a product photography lit with reflector, foam core, and nothing.

Example of using a reflector to bring more light to the other side. Left: with reflector. Middle: with foam core. Right: nothing.

An overcast morning or early afternoon is the perfect diffused light source, however this is not always what mother nature brings us (this might be the only time in your life you’ll be wishing for inclement weather). If you’re plagued with a bright and sunny day, drape your focal window with a light, non-patterned sheet or large cloth to diffuse the light.

Play around to get the best shot

It’s important to capture all facets of your product to give your ideal customer as much information as possible, therefore increasing your chances of a sale.

Whether you’re using a smartphone, point and shoot, or DSLR camera for your product photography, no preview screen is going to look exactly the same as on your computer when you upload. This is why we suggest that you keep and upload all your shots to ensure you don’t mistakenly get rid of the perfect one.

Most e-commerce platforms allow five images of your product, and there’s no reason not to use all five. Be sure to shoot your product from all conceivable angles: inside pockets and the bottom of shoes, for example.

Our photo setup with a tripod, and a propped up reflector

If you’ve covered all the angles and you haven’t reached your upload limit, don’t be afraid to add in some artistic flair to one of your remaining shots. Turn the product on its side or group three color options together. With Clipping Magic, you can opt to set your finished clip off the center mark, so as to create negative space that is more interesting to look at.

Also in your post-production on Clipping Magic, you can completely change the look of your finished product using shadows and reflections. Strategically-placed shadow effects can emulate the look of real life, while a reflection produces a more perfected, ideal facade.

One size does not fit all

Some of your items may have multiple parts not shown by just laying them flat on a table. A mug can sit on a surface without needing to be tampered with; however a garlic press, for example, should be open in at least one shot to show the inside mechanism.

Our photo setup with a tripod, and a propped up reflector

You’ll need to consider what props will be necessary to stage each of your products properly for your photography. Sometimes you can get away with someone holding an object up with their finger as we did with the garlic press — other times you’ll need to procure other materials. For example, when staging a backpack, a common practice is to give it a fuller shape by stuffing it up with crumpled up newspaper. And if it has a handle you want to show off, you can use fishing wire to hold it up against gravity. Consider what you’ll want to show off in your product photos and plan out what’ll work well to accomplish it.

tl;dr

A window with diffused light, a white backdrop and light reflector are your best friends if you want to take great photos without a studio.

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