5 Product Photography Tips for Beginners

Product Photography

The need for good product photography is in high demand due to the increase in businesses selling their products online, whether it is through social media, Amazon, or their website. Customers need to be able to look at an image and purchase an item with as much confidence as they would if they were looking at it in a brick-and-mortar store. But what do you do if you have no photography experience or the equipment to create high-end images?

Opening your search engine and looking up how to take product photos can be overwhelming for a beginner. There are so many different options for equipment and types of photography that you may spend a lot of money on things you do not need. So, instead of focusing on equipment that a professional photographer would use, here are 5 tips for creating better images even if you only use the camera on your phone.

Tip 1 – Lighting

Photography lighting is vital! Your customers want to be able to see exactly what they are purchasing. Taking a photo in a room with harsh or low light can cast unsightly shadows on your product, making it difficult to see important details that may be important to the buyer. If you are photographing your product on a white background, purchasing a studio light box, such as this one on Amazon will make a massive difference in how your images turn out. However, you have several options if you want to go more of a lifestyle route. Start by using some natural window light. Natural lighting tends to be softer and can be visually appealing. 

However, if you are like me and don’t have a lot of windows in your home or office, bringing out that ring light that everyone has hidden in a closet somewhere can make a huge difference. In the below image, you can see some examples of what you should and shouldn’t do. In the first image on the left, I used no additional lighting other than the one window behind my product. The image is dark and hard to tell even the product’s color. In the middle image, I pulled out my trusty ring light. The lighting is a little harsher than what I would like, but you can tell what the product is and see the essential details. This is acceptable but not ideal. The third image on the right is just the window light, but this time it highlights the front of the product. You have a softer image where you can see all the details, which is much more appealing.

Tip 2 – Angles

How you angle your camera can make a huge difference in how your photos turn out and will capture additional product details. Whether shooting on white background or lifestyle, I always try not to photograph products straight on. Positioning your camera slightly above the product and having it turned at a bit of an angle is more appealing to the eye and allows you to capture more of the product than if you were looking at it straight on. Play around with it; shoot from several different angles to see what angles work best for your product. However, you must be careful to ensure that your product is still the focus of the image. When shooting different angles, it is easy to start capturing other items in the room; make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings and what your camera is focusing on not to lose your product to the rest of the background. When you look at the photo, your eye should naturally be drawn to the product, not items in the background.

Tip 3 – Avoid Zoom

If you are using your phone to photograph your products, even if you have the most state-of-the-art phone out there, try not to use the zoom feature. Blurry photos are never acceptable when it comes to product photography. You will have a higher quality image if you take a step closer to the product rather than zoom in. If you must use the zoom feature, make sure you are using a tripod to help reduce camera shake. 

If you are using a DSLR camera, the quality of the camera and the kind of lens you are using will determine how much you can zoom in. There are various ways to ensure you take a quality photo, such as using a tripod, choosing a higher shutter speed, and taking a step or two closer to the product.

Tip 4 – Detail Shots

Get detail shots! Especially if you are photographing a product with details you want to highlight, such as engraving or a unique feature. Note in the image below how you can really see the detail of the wood on this guitar that you wouldn’t have seen if you only photographed the product from further away.

Tip 5 – Editing Software

Invest in decent photo editing software and spend time practicing using it. Whether you are using your phone or a DSLR, you want to be able to edit your images before putting them online. Programs such as Adobe Photoshop will help bring your photos to the next level. In product photography, you often capture blemishes that are near impossible to remove without editing, such as dust or scratches. No one wants to buy a dusty product, and even the best lint cloth will not remove all the dust. It will look clean to the naked eye, but your camera will pick it up. Look at the difference between the two images in the photo below. In the one on the left, you can see dust and wood grain that I didn’t realize was even there until I pulled the image up to edit. I used the spot healing brush tool to remove the blemishes and brightened up the background to really make the product pop.

While everyone can learn how to do product photography, sometimes a little extra help is needed. Whether you have so much product that you will never have the time to complete it all, you want it to look as professional as possible, or maybe you just have zero desire to learn. There are other options out there for businesses. With product and 360-degree photography rapidly becoming high demand, turning to companies that offer creative services is an excellent way to produce quality images for your website.

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