So, you’ve launched your brand, have your inventory, and you’re busy building your online store. All you need now are some compelling images of your products for listings and marketing.
Don’t worry. If you’re a small operation and don’t have the resources to have a photographer shoot your products, you can still achieve great results by yourself.
We’ve put some tips together to help you get started with your product photography. Following these tips won’t make you an expert, but will help you on your first steps towards professional-looking product photos.
The fact you’re reading this post is a good sign that you’re thinking ahead about your shoot. The most important step in the process of getting great product shots is knowing exactly how you’re going to take them.
From a practical point of view, you need to ensure you’ve collected everything you’ll need to physically take the photographs. This will include:
Here are some additional things to consider:
Will you be shooting with natural light or artificial? What’s the color scheme of your shoot? Which angles make your products look the most attractive? What camera settings will you use?
There’ll still be surprises and experimentation while you’re shooting, but having thought about all the other points ahead of time will put you in the best position to get great shots.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re planning and executing your shoot is how the final shots will suit your brand’s identity.
Your product shots aren’t just an opportunity for customers to see what your products look like, but also a chance for you to tell a story about your brand, its character, and its values.
With this in mind, it’s useful to ask yourself these questions when planning your shoot:
If you don’t currently have a strong brand identity or aesthetic, you might first turn to sites like Pinterest to create a board for inspiration. This can both help to establish your own style and learn from others’ photo techniques too.
If you’re building your website with a platform like Zyro, you can decide everything to do with the look and feel of your website. Building your own site and taking your own photos puts creative control in your hands.
Location, location, location. Your products can be beautiful, but with the wrong backdrop, the effect can be ruined.
Lots of first-time product photographers fall back on using a plain white background. While this might be a good idea for some type of products, it can make others look flat and lifeless.
Setting your products in the context they’ll be used or in front of a fun, quirky, or interesting backdrop will help draw customers’ eyes, and make it easier for them to understand the purpose of the product.
Don’t go over the top, though. While a bold and unique background can easily gain attention, you don’t want to risk losing your products against the set.
There’s far more to say about composing the perfect product photo than we can cover here, and as you get experienced taking these shots, you’ll realize there’s always more to learn.
However, there are some basic points on composition that can be handy to have in your back pocket from the get-go:
Props can help contextualize your products and give your photos a sense of form and structure.
Some products might not look their best when shot alone against a plain background, but accompanied by the right props, can look fantastic.
This said, you need to be careful when choosing the props which are right for your shoot. It’s helpful to keep these points in mind:
The source, type, and tone of the lighting you use for your product photos, as well as the position or absence of shadows all adds up to create the mood of your shots.
Understanding the mood of different lighting effects and how to control light in your photography will be useful for creating the right message in your product photos.
When it comes to lighting, here are the basics questions you should consider:
Here’s the big secret: the vast majority of product images you see in the world have been edited and retouched after shooting.
Although you shouldn’t be dishonest about how your products look, they deserve to be shown at their best, and that often means editing light, shadow, filters, and minor imperfections digitally.
While no one expects you to be a Photoshop expert straight away, understanding the basics of tools like Photoshop or Lightroom will give you the opportunity to improve the look and feel of your images.
Don’t be afraid to experiment; you can always hit ‘undo’.
While it might take you a little while to find the exact style you want to use for your product photos, it’s important that once you find it, you consistently use it too.
Product listings with totally different photos come across muddled, unappealing, and unprofessional. Consistency will help people trust your brand.
Ensure you document everything as you go along, so you know exactly how you got the look you did, and can replicate the technique. It’s ok to evolve and improve over time, but not huge, sudden changes.
When you’re ready to start shooting, be sure to give yourself plenty of time for experiments and mistakes. It’s likely you’ll need a few attempts before getting the perfect shots. You don’t want to be scrambling around against the clock.