DIY: How to take professional product pictures with little money.

source: country brook

A picture is worth a thousand words but a good product picture is worth a lot of money. The best selling online stores today are the ones with unique, high-quality pictures. Simply put, you must learn how to take professional product photos if your customers should order from your store. A whopping 67% of consumers consider image quality crucial when making a purchase online! This makes a lot of sense as the picture of the product is the only thing they have going before they make a decision. If the customer were present, they could feel the product before deciding, so your product photos have to do a lot of work in convincing them to place an order. Taking great product picture should be a high priority if you run an online store, as all the details of the product will have to be captured. So here we are, with a very cheap way to get professional looking product pictures for your online store.

A whopping 67% of consumers consider image quality crucial when making a purchase online!

What you need

Camera: Best Choice- The first thing you need is a camera. Consumer DSLR are getting cheaper every year so if you plan on taking lots of product photos it may make sense to invest in a good digital camera.

Cost-effective Choice- Most smartphones in today’s market come equipped with great cameras. If you own one of those, then you may just have a DSLR alternative right at your fingertips. Target phones with higher pixel ratings.

Here are some smartphones with great camera features.

Apple iPhones 5s, 6 and 6s: 8-megapixel or more, iSight camera, Autofocus, LED flash, image stabilization, etc.

Samsung Galaxy s5 and above: 16-megapixel camera, autofocus, LED flash, etc. There are many other smartphones with excellent cameras pick one, and you are ready.

Backdrop/ Background: Best Choice and Cost-effective choice — White poster board paper or white cardboard paper. Create a white seamless background so that it is not only behind the product but also underneath it as well. This is called making a “sweep” with the backdrop. Pin the edges of the cardboard both on top and below to keep the background in place

A picture is worth a thousand words but a good product picture is worth a lot of money.

Lights- You need lots of consistent lighting to bring out the life in your products.

Best Choice: Studio Standard dual lighting setup at either side of the product.

Cost-effective choice- Natural light or two reading lamps (depending on the size of your product)- The easiest and the most budget-friendly option is to use natural light. Set up your product and equipment near a large window to allow for ample light in your frame. If natural light is difficult for you to find, try using a larger lamp or a set of reading lamps depending on how big the objects may be.

product on a white cardboard background. Source: practical ecommerce

Image Stabilization- Cameras take a good picture when you place them in a fixed position for a little while. This is why photographers use a tripod.

Best Choice- Use a tripod if you are using a DSLR or smartphone. This is extremely recommended as shaky hands, however slight will impact the output of your product picture. There are many portable phone stands there buy one and use.

Cost-effective choice- Turn your hands into a very useful tripod and keep them fixed and steady for a very long time before taking the picture avoiding even the slightest shake… lol, are you still reading? Seriously though, get that tripod if you can.

phone camera on tripod with light reflecting cardboard. Source: Pixelz

Table: Utilize a flat surface table so that your product sits higher, which will make it easier for you to photograph your product during the shoot.

Best Choice- An expensive table… it will make you feel good during the shoot. Ha!

Cost-effective choice- A cheap table. Either ways just get a table.

Cardboard- If you are using natural light, you often find out that the light from the window casts a shadow of the product to the other side. Use the cardboard to reduce the shadow cast on the other side of the product and give it a cleaner look.

Product image with light reflecting cardboard. Source:Pixelz
Left: without light reflecting cardboard. Right: Using light reflecting cardboard. Source: Pixelz

Editing: Add a final touch to your images before they go live on the web, this will be good to crop out the slight flaws and adjust the lighting and contrast if necessary.

Best Choice- Adobe Photoshop for desktop or Adobe Photoshop Touch app for phones which is a replica of the desktop version.

Cost-effective choice- You can download some free apps from the Google Play store for your photo editing e.g. Adobe Photoshop Express, Photogrid, etc.

Things to remember.

  1. Leave lots of free spaces in and around the product frame, do not take a product picture with the product close to the edge of the image.
  2. You cannot go wrong with square shaped product image. During editing, crop the product picture into a square frame, it allows you to add the picture anywhere without distortion. Also, storefront platforms like Zoafia only enable you to crop the picture into a square shape.
  3. Take lots of shots from different angles, do not delete shots until you are editing them. Sometimes great pictures don’t look good the first time ;)

So there you go, take the most amazing photos and turn them into lots of money!

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