Professional product photography is an essential part of ecommerce. It’s what separates a good listing from a great one, and can make or break your conversion rate. But it’s also expensive, which is why so many sellers resort to DIY projects or free photos that look… well… terrible.
But you don’t have to spend thousands on professional product photography to get the results you want. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can take professional-quality photos yourself with just a few simple tools and techniques.
But don’t worry! We’ve created this guide to help you get started on the right foot.
Why Do You Need Professional Product Photography?
The purpose of product photography is to showcase the quality and features of your product, which are often difficult for customers to understand from just looking at an image or a description. Product photography can also help increase conversions by allowing shoppers to see what they will receive in real life.
If you want people to buy your product, then you need professional-quality photos that do it justice. The easiest way to get those images is by hiring a photographer, but if you have a small budget or limited time it can be hard to find someone who charges within your range. Fortunately there are plenty of ways for DIYers like yourself to take professional-looking photos without breaking the bank.
Tips for taking professional product photos on a budget
Find a good location. The first step is to find a good place to take the photo. You want your product to stand out against a plain background, so avoid busy backgrounds like walls, floors and tables.
You might be able to use your kitchen or dining room table if you have one that’s clean and doesn’t have a lot of clutter on top of it. If not, you can try using an old tablecloth from your closet or laundry room as the backdrop for your picture. Just make sure it’s clean before you start shooting!
Another option is to set up shop in an unused corner of your home or garage and use some old sheets or blankets as backdrops for your pictures. You may not want to use this method if you have pets, but otherwise it works great!
Use natural light instead of an artificial lightbox. The best way to take professional-looking pictures is with natural light. If possible, set up your camera outside in an area where it’s sunny or cloudy, but not too bright and not too dark. Use a white background behind your products and make sure that your subject doesn’t cast any shadows on the background (or vice versa).
Take pictures from different angles. Even if you have only one product, take photos from multiple angles so that customers can see what it looks like from every side. You’ll also want to take close-up shots so that customers can see details such as stitching or buttons clearly in each image.
Take multiple photos at different exposures (not just one exposure). If you don’t know much about photography yet, this can be difficult. But if you practice taking photographs multiple times, finally you can get better at this skill.
Get as close as possible. It sounds obvious, but getting as close as possible to whatever you’re photographing produces better results than zooming in from further away. Try using macro mode on your camera if it has one — this mode allows you get really close without having to use any additional equipment such as lenses or filters.
Hire a student photographer. One great way to save money on professional product photography is by hiring a student photographer or someone with little experience in the field. While they may not have as much experience as professionals in the industry, they’ll still be able to take great photos and help you market your products — all at a fraction of the price of hiring someone with more experience!
Look for photographers near you. Another way to save money on professional product photography is by looking for local photographers who offer services at discounted rates or even offer them for free. You can find lots of local photographers in your area through social media or even by asking around at local businesses and stores.
Camera. You can search for a used camera and ask the owner if you can use it for some little money. Another option is to try to find someone in your family or friends who has a nice camera and ask them if you can use it for a little while. Finally, you could always buy a used camera. But, if you are willing to spend a bit more money than a used camera, you could use the professional equipment. This is the only option where you could expect to be spending a lot of money.
For a smaller budget, you can start using your cellphone.
The key is to take photographs under the right conditions. First, try photographing things that aren’t too close to you. It can be very tricky to get a clear photograph when you are standing right next to something. Second, try taking photographs with a subject facing away from you, so the background isn’t too distracting. This can work well if you are taking photographs of something, like a flower or a toy, that is on the ground or table. If you have to photograph a subject that is in the air, such as a balloon, then you can put your phone on a tripod and hold it steady with your hands. This will ensure that you get a sharp image. Finally, try experimenting with low light photography, such as taking photographs at dusk or during the early hours of the morning.
Clean your products. You don’t need to clean every single item you want to photograph — just make sure they’re as clean as possible before you start shooting. Cleaning products before photographing them will help them look their best and reduce glare from fingerprints, dust and other imperfections.
Use white background paper for small items like books and jewelry; use black for larger items like furniture or appliances (or if you want an artsy look).
The background is one of the most important elements in product photography. Ensure that it does not distract from what you want to showcase. You can choose a simple seamless paper backdrop or a plain wall painted with white paint. If you have only one product, use an interesting background that complements it well. For example, if you sell watches, use a wristwatch as your background instead of just a plain wall or white paper backdrop.
The white background will help your products stand out from their surroundings and make them look more appealing. You can achieve this effect by using white paper or fabric as background for your photos (just make sure it doesn’t have any patterns or textures).
Use props that complement your product. Props are another way to enhance your product shots and make them look more appealing to viewers. For example, if you sell jewelry on Etsy, then try using jewelry props like necklaces, rings and earrings as backgrounds for your products instead of just plain papers or walls. However, make sure that these props do not distract from the items themselves but rather complement them by highlighting their features such as colors or textures.