Article: Product Photography Do's and Don'ts


Product Photography Do's and Don'ts

By Brianna Paon

When browsing online to buy a product - a new vest let’s say - you are more than likely going to stop at one that catches your eye. It could be the vest itself that you are attracted to of course, but what we may not think about is how the product is presented and why it caught your eye in the way that it did. It could’ve been how well lit the product looked in comparison to others. It could be the crisp, white background contrasting against the vest. It could also be the crystal clear quality of the photo in comparison to photos that might appear grainy or dull. Whether we are aware of it or not, product photography has a big role in our decision to buy something, and the same thing applies to how people view your products on your online store.

While many of us may not be very well-versed in the world of photography, (I certainly am not) there are methods to achieving beautiful photography of your products that is seemingly professional, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Many may assume that you need to own a multi-thousand-dollar camera in order to capture professional shots, but that is not the case - there are a multitude of digital cameras, including ones under $100 that would be perfectly suitable for capturing your products (see Amazon links below). If you’re looking to purchase a camera, or already have one, familiarize yourself with the camera settings and what each setting is meant to capture. Alternatively, many of you may already own a Smartphone that will take comparable product photos to entry level digital cameras. They also offer different camera settings, similarly to regular digital cameras, and are made to be user friendly. Toying around with these camera settings is not a bad idea either, as it will help you determine which setting to use in order to get the best quality of what you’re capturing ---- this will be dependent on the product itself, the color(s) shown, the background and most especially, the lighting.

Besides the camera you use to capture your photo, the lighting may be equally as important in getting a quality product shot. Familiarizing yourself with ISO, shutter speed and aperture are especially important, as they are all focused around controlling the amount of light that enters the camera. Even the perfect angle would have a tough match against the light reflecting on and off the product you’re capturing - even our bare skin can reflect light onto an object enough for it to look drowned out! The best part, however, is that there are a number of Do-It-Yourself projects that help you to achieve the best lighting, requiring very little cost.

A product photography box is one of the essential tools necessary to seclude your product and surround it with the best lighting possible so that you can capture that perfect money shot. Even if you are only using your smartphone to capture your photos, using a light box may fool people into thinking you used a professional camera! Creating one of these boxes could make a world of a difference for how your products are perceived, as well as your amount of sales, and you only need to spend about $10 for the materials to do so. (Yes! Really!)

As previously mentioned, the clearer and better lit the photo of your product is, the more attracted people will become. Now that people are increasingly utilizing online avenues for their businesses, it should be in your best interest to do the same! We now live in a time where people are constantly on their phones, tablets or other mobile devices, and this is where people often will do their shopping. If you’d like to know a fun fact, it is proven that 80 percent of people remember what they see and only 20 percent of people remember what they read. This goes to show how critical it is to market your products through the use of imagery. Multiple studies suggest that social media audiences react best to visual content, which explains why the userbase on sites like Pinterest have been booming - not only is imagery much more attractive than wordy content, but social media sites such as Facebook prioritize ads based on lack of text; your image is more likely to show up in people’s feeds than a paragraph explaining what your newly released products - and the better the photo, the more likely it will bring you a new customer. These days, there is more pressure than ever to attract your audience within just a few seconds - while you may have an incredible product, people may scroll right past it if it isn’t eye-catching material that truly POPS!

Fortunately, there are a number of articles and videos online, that further explain the importance of product photography, as well as offer pointers on creating DIY projects. Check out the video below to learn how to build the miraculously cheap product photography box - your bank account will thank you.

Further Resources

Video: How to Build a Photo Light Box for Less Than $10

Video: Easy Product Photography with your iPhone / Smartphone

Video: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, & Light Explained - Understanding Exposure & Camera Settings

Video: Photography Tips for Beginners

Links to other Resources / Articles:

Digital Cameras under $100: Kodak PixPro (Amazon), Sony Digital Camera (Amazon), Canon PowerShot (Amazon)

11 DIY Product Photography Hacks

Tips and Tricks for Product Photography on a Budget