Product Photography Tips and Tricks
How many of my fellow creatives want to generate traffic to their sites? How about send a steady flow of people to your product or service listings? Or how about getting more followers on Instagram or more re-pins on Pinterest? I’ll bet every one of you agrees that’s what we all want! So what is the answer to achieving these goals? It’s simple, you need to master some key Product Photography Tips and Tricks for your business.
Now don’t worry this doesn’t have to be confusing or hard. You don’t need to have an endless bag of complicated tricks or spend hours learning Photoshop (as great as it is!). I’m going to walk you through the 9 best product photography tips, tricks and classic photo techniques that when applied, can yield beautiful photos every single time.
1. Choose backgrounds wisely
Photo from Mackenzie Treasure
Your background is key to the communication of your product to your customer. In a lot of cases opting for a white or subtle background will be best so that your product is being showcased. Don’t make the mistake of making a background too busy or use something that doesn’t compliment the product because it will distract the customer from loving their new find. Remember, your customer is buying your product not the background.
Here are some fantastic quick and simple background options:
- White poster board – find them at craft stores
- Vinyl photography backdrops
- Wood board backgrounds – find them at hardware stores
- Seamless colored photography paper
- If you want to aim for super crisp and clean you may want to consider clipping the background away completely. Use a basic free software like Clipping Magic to accomplish this.
2. Know the power of props
While it’s key not to distract from your product you also want to consider props or styling in some cases to enhance your product. This could include hands in your image, an example of the product in use – like wearing jewelry or holding a purse, or complimentary props that speak to the use of your product you are trying to sell. Check out some of these great styled image examples below.
3. Don’t take light lightly
No doubt if you have read any other articles about product photography, you know that lighting is key. Natural light is your photo’s best friend but in some cases either natural lighting is not enough or you may not have a lot to work with. Buying a basic photography lighting kit can really help when you need to add artificial light. Using key exposure settings on your camera can add more light right before you take a shot. If you find you are struggling with shadows on your images try using reflectors to bounce the light in the direction you need it to be.
4. Play with focus and work all the angles
Playing with the composition of an image can seriously step up how professional a photo looks – and yes, even if you are a small or handmade business your goal should be to look professional. Learning how to use your camera’s focus is a great way to fade out parts of an image while making your product pop out. If you are a beginner with your camera or prefer to do more in post image edits then you can easily play with blurring and focus in photo editors, which we will go over in a moment.
Likewise, you may want to think about different angles. Don’t just shoot straight down onto your item instead bring the camera to the side or front of the object.
5. Practice basic professional skills
Doing just a few minutes of research on the most basic photography techniques can help you step up your photo game in a big way. Here are a few basic photography skills you want to think about when shooting your picture.
- Contrast- this could mean a contrast of dark and light, different textures or colors. Pick no more then 3 contrasting elements in 1 photo.
- Patterns – look for ways when you style an image to make the objects and lines symmetrical. The human eye is naturally drawn to symmetrical patterns so it is good to practice this.
- The rule of thirds – probably one of the best known easy photography tips and tricks. The rule of thirds is a simple method of image aliment. This can be accomplished by cropping if you don’t nail the photo perfect at the time of the snapshot. The rule of thirds – align key points of your image on the horizontal or vertical lines or along one of the intersecting points.
6. Don’t leave behind your brand’s personality
Branding is so important to the success of any business but especially to small businesses. Creating a memorable brand is what will bring your customers back again and again. While it might seem obvious, you want to make sure you are not forgetting to let your brand style shine through in your product images. Do you have a certain set of colors you use in your branding, patterns, poses or styling techniques? Pick a couple and use those tricks consistently to create a cohesive and notable business.
7. Invest in your camera
When I started out, I dreaded the camera. And you know what? I still don’t know how to use half the functions my DSLR camera is capable of, but it doesn’t matter because the fact that I have a high definition camera with crazy high mega pixels is the first start to making an image magical. You may see a lot of articles out there about using a smart phone, and while that can be done in a pinch you won’t be able to ever match the clarity and quality of a decent camera. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars but if you are serious about quality photos investing in a DSLR costing between $200-400 is a good aim. These cameras can last for years when taken care of.
8. Edit your photos
There are lots of different ways to edit photos. Unless you are out to grow your skills to become a professional photographer you don’t need to get too fancy with software. One of the simplest photo editing programs is Pic Monkey. Pic Monkey offers a free and a paid version that gives you everything you need from cropping to straightening, exposure, contrast, color, touch ups, blurring plus many more edits to effortlessly correct photos.
If you decide you want to learn Photoshop even the basics are great skills to have, but if you are working your photo set up right, edits should be very minimal and that makes it easy to stick with a painless photo editing program.
9. Use filters or presets
Filters are an underestimated and effective way to make your photos look like they had the touch of a professional. Pic Monkey also has free photo filters, which are decent, but I recommend using Lightroom if you can afford the $10 per month. Yes, Lightroom is by Adobe, which also makes Photoshop. Lightroom has a lot of functions to learn, but the best part about it is that you don’t have to know how to do anything special except push a button to instantly add a whole new look to your image. It’s kinda hard to believe how easy it is!
Check out these before and afters to see what a simple Lightroom preset can do to enhance your images!
The depths of photography are essentially endless but at its core these 9 product photography tips and tricks will get you the clean, bright, well balanced images you need to draw your customers into your brand so they click to see more and eventually buy your product.
If you are new to taking your own photos then following these tips will have you off to a great start or maybe you can now see where you’ve gone wrong before and are excited to try something that will show off your gorgeous product. After all, a picture truly is worth a thousand words, make sure each and every word counts!