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Product Photography 101: How to Take Professional Photos for Ecommerce

9 Simple Tricks to Shooting Product Photography

According to survey results, 83% of buyers rank images as the #1 deciding factor when making a purchase decision. Product images also outranked all other decision-swaying factors such as product reviews, star ratings, and even specs.

This means that taking crisp, compelling, and powerful product images is absolutely key to e-commerce success.

How does one take high quality, seamless product images that look 100% professional and will be able to compete with other products?

If you want to learn how to how to take professional photos of your products, keep reading. We are about to share with you everything you need to know about professional-grade product photography.

1. Get Your Gear Organized

The first essential step for product photography for beginners is to assemble the necessary equipment.

Camera Equipment

For professional grade product photography, use a DSLR camera. You can start with a medium to entry-level camera, however, if you are planning on doing product photography long term, you can also opt to invest in a good DSLR.

Additionally, you will need a tripod in order to take steady, sharp shots.

Two very handy camera accessories to have are a shutter release remote and a tether cable. The remote shutter release can further reduce blurring.

A tether cable allows you to see images in a larger format, in real-time as you take them, on a monitor or laptop. This allows you to fix small issues you wouldn’t spot on the small DSLR screen.

Lighting

For lighting, you can utilize natural light or softbox lights.

If you do not have a good source of natural light available (soft diffused light, generally found by large windows) you might also want to invest in a lightbox. This acts as a portable lighting setup for small products.

Backdrops and Reflectors

You will need a white infinity backdrop to shoot your products against.

To manipulate lighting, you can also invest in or make some simple reflector cards, which can either bounce light or absorb it to enhance or soften shadows.

If acquiring the necessary gear and finding space for shooting is an issue, you can also consider renting a studio.

Both buying gear or hiring space and equipment can seem like a costly venture. However, it is important to remember that e-commerce consumers make almost all of their buying decisions from your product images. Therefore investing in high-quality images is critical.

Editing Software

To achieve professional product images you will also need good editing software, and become familiar with how to use it.

2. Shoot in RAW

For customers to be able to zoom in on your products you need to take high-resolution images. To do this, make sure that the quality setting on your DSLR is set to the RAW format.

You can later resize the images if need be to reduce file sizes.

3. Create Bright Images, but Don’t Use the Flash

According to published research on the popularity of images on Facebook, brightness is one of the four essential elements of photos with the highest engagement. The other elements are clarity, liveliness, and ingenuity.

To get customers to engage with the product image you need to create bright images. However, do not be tempted to use your camera’s flash, as most flashes will produce harsh, washed-out photos.

By utilizing adequate lighting and the right aperture settings on your camera you can achieve bright photos without the need for a flash.

4. Get Creative, but Don’t Mislead

As consumers are attracted to images that feature liveliness and ingenuity, you might want to incorporate creative, attention-drawing elements in your product photography.

At the same time, you also need to ensure you do not in any way mislead the customer into thinking that props or additional items are included in the product.

Also, be sure not to let props overwhelm or draw attention away from the products.

5. Show Products from All Angles

As e-commerce buyers have only the product photos to go by, make sure you capture all angles of a product, even the bottom in some cases.

Survey results reveal that most shoppers expect to see at least 6 images of a product when shopping online, so do not worry if this creates a lot of images, as this is a good thing.

6. Show Scale

23% of e-commerce returns are thanks to products looking different in real life than in the product images.

To avoid returns, one of the best product photography tips is to show scale. You can do this by placing a ruler next to the product in one image.

7. Show Products in Situ

A great way to add appeal to your product images is to shoot them in situ. This gives buyers an idea of what the item will look like in their home, worn, used, etc.

8. Brand Your Images

A crucial component of product photography is to effectively brand your product images. To do this you will need to create a cohesive look and feel across all of your brand’s product images.

9. Build a Set of Product Photography Guidelines for Your Shoots and Images

In order to achieve successful image branding and consistent quality, start building a set of photography guidelines for your shoots.

These can include things like:

  • Color palette
  • Composition
  • Shadows and their saturation
  • Overall saturation
  • Focal length

You can also create templates in your photo editing software to control the size and the scale of products within images.

Learning How to Take Professional Photos Is a Process

Now that you know about these tips on how to take professional photos, all that is left is to get set-up, and get shooting!

Remember that product photography, like anything, takes time and practice, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a little time to achieve the results that you want.

If you feel in any way daunted by the process—and you feel you want to call in the pros for your products—you can also browse our services or contact us to see how we can help you. And if you want more value-driven content like this, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

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