How to Capture High-Quality Product Images Using Smartphones Without Breaking the Bank

With over 191.1 million digital shoppers in the US alone and ecommerce sales growing by more than 19% a year, it’s quite evident that shopping is not confined within physical store boundaries anymore. The competition is now amongst virtual store owners whose primary objective lie in making their products stand out on the web. Ideally, the best way to do so is by enhancing their skills in product photography which is often considered as one of the most vital criterion while setting up an online store. This is because there seems to be no other way you can attract customers towards your online product than through the image itself.

Whilst the whole process seems alluring to draw more sales, it’s quite likely to be expensive too in case you prefer using DSLR cameras with high-end photography features. But if you look closely, it isn’t a necessity to spend a fortune in order to make your product images stand out from the lot. There lies a cost-effective sophisticated solution in your pockets as your everyday smartphone camera. By using them with proper backdrops and photo-editing features, your product images could look even more accurate and classy without spending gazillions behind them. That’s what happens to be an ideal form of selling online storeowners can master from their very own smartphones itself.

Choosing the Appropriate Smartphone as a Handy Product Photography Tool

The two most important aspects you need to check before setting up a photoshoot with your smartphone camera is autofocus and the amount of megapixels. The higher the megapixels available, the better it is for you. Together with your smartphone’s high-end editing features and the product settings, the art of creating that stunning product image would not seem that impossible a task anymore. Take for example, the House of Garland store on Etsy which uses iPhone 5 to produce those drop-dead gorgeous product images that look nothing less than a professional photoshoot you have with your DSLR camera.

Do Not Forget to Look Into These Points While Shooting

Before you start your photography sessions of the product, there are certain important criteria which needs to be considered with proper attention.

  • Proper Lighting — Always remember to setup your product photoshoot in some well-lit corner of the house as better lighting always enhance the overall appearance of the product. Sometimes, using white foam boards can come handy in reflecting the light towards the dark sides of the product, if any. These Bohemian earrings from JamieRayCreations show how the entire product is perfectly visible through effective lighting.
  • Playing with Backdrops — This may not seem like a very important aspect but is often one of the primary reasons why a product stands out in an image. This is because unique backdrops always add a layer of contrast and texture to the overall image that can make it look even more stunning than expected. Like, this gold flower brooch from itstimejayne looks excellent on the pebble sand background.
  • Tripod and Phone Lenses — Two very important accessories that can make your photoshoots crisp and blur free from constants shakes. Tripods are always handy in taking photos without your hand support using a timer which often results in sharp images without blurry effects. Phone lenses, on the other hand, are a better option in capturing the fine details of your product for your customers to have a better view.
  • Take Shots from Different Angles— This is to make sure that your customer gets to view every angle of the product in order to make a fair judgement on its quality. By taking these various angled shots, you actually draw them closer towards evaluating your store’s products with absolute precision and effectiveness. Just like CarvedWoodenSpoons do with their awesome collection.
  • Remove All Additional Details From Your Product — Never envelope your products with additional details such as pricetags and strings during photoshoots as these unnecessarily drive away the attention from the product alone. Showcase it like it really is and leave the additions for packaging. CloverPower’s Etsy shop is a good example on how to minimize the extra details during shoots.
  • Scaling Helps for Small Products — If you’re selling jewelry or small knitted items, you can always let the customer judge its size by shooting it along with a universally recognized product.

Smartphone Image Editing Comes as the Perfect Topping

With all the backdrop setting and image capturing techniques in your hand, the next thing you’d want is to make your product image undergo the best editing features in order to look a product worth a buy. The most common techniques you would want to use while image editing are –

  • Cropping and Scaling — This is to be done to make sure your product gets highlighted the most in the image and not the background. The “rule of thirds” principle often works handy in mastering the art of cropping and scaling by eliminating the non-required periphery as and when applicable. If you’re using various marketplaces for selling your product, you also need to keep in mind the appropriate image size details and crop accordingly. [We’ll come up with a detailed post on this sometime soon]
  • Brightness — Mastering this side of photo editing is always necessary as it will help you in highlighting your product image with the proper use of natural, vibrant light. A proper balance between light, color and shadows is what can be smartly achieved through proper brightness adjustment. However, never opt to overdo it which can often make you lose the fine details of your product.
  • Contrast — With this aspect in image editing, you can actually make your images either more vibrant or dull depending on the mode of contrast you choose to apply. It merely helps in highlighting the darkest and brightest areas of the image by increasing or decreasing the separation between them.
  • Sharpen -To make your product edges, this is the best technique you can follow. Though most standard cameras have auto focus features to help you capture your image maintaining the sharp features, absence of a tripod can result in slight blurs time and again. Using the appropriate sharpen editing feature, your image can be made to stand out in no time.
  • Vibrance — This is done to enhance the already muted colors in your image without making them look unnatural from any angle. It’s like a mode through which you can fill light where the color looks a bit muted and dull than elsewhere.
  • Shadows — By using the combination of light and shadows, you can actually bring out the depth of your image to a large extent. Highlighting shape, texture and precision is what lies behind this excellent feature in image editing.

Each has its own benefits of usage which ultimately boils down to one conclusion — an image that can allure a customer into buying your product. Overdoing is not recommended, what’s important is to know how to blend each editing aspect in a way which looks the best amongst all. Take as many shots as possible before choosing the one you prefer to finalize post editing.

Smartphone apps to help sellers master this art of photo editing is found in abundance today. Be it Camera+ for iPhone or Camera FV-5 for Android, you’ll find some app or another making your product photoshoots seem easy and hassle-free. But what if there was an app which could streamline this whole process of editing into a simple outline of steps filtering all the exaggerated data around. What if there was just one app that could easily crop/resize your images depending on the marketplace you want to upload them on (such as Etsy, Storenvy, Facebook, eBay etc.). That’s exactly what we are targeting to build through Boxtiq in order to make your pre-selling experience less complicated than before. Impressing your customers with the best product image would not be an elaborated process anymore. We hope it works the best for you!

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Originally published at on July 16, 2014.

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