Good quality, clean product photography can be a path to success, particularly if you’re selling physical products. But where to start if you lack the time and resources to produce high-quality images? We thought we’d get an expert opinion, so we asked our friends over at Pixc photos to give us their top ten tips on how to get beautiful product photos for your online store.
You can spend a lot of time and money on creating an awesome website and killer brand voice, but don’t forget about your product photos. Believe it or not, the quality of your product photos has the power to either boost or completely destroy your sales. It sounds dramatic, but humans are visual creatures and we are instinctively drawn towards images over text. We can absorb and process their meaning with a lot less effort – most of the information transmitted to the brain is in fact visual.
While online shopping has its perks, nothing compares to being able to physically see and touch the product. So, what better way to recreate reality for your customers than by providing great product photos?
Your product photos should aim to do two things; reduce bounce rates (the percentage of visitors to your store who navigate away after only viewing the one page) and increase conversion rate (in this context, the percentage of visitors who make a purchase). If you impress people with how you visualize your product online, they will be more inclined to browse the website and even make a purchase. In fact, well-lit images on a contrasting background can actually increase your sales by 39%.
It’s hard to find a professional photographer that will give you the exact photos that you want, and unless you’re their only client, they’re not always going to be available the minute your new stock comes in. Instead of letting your beautiful new products collect dust in the storeroom, grab a camera or even a smartphone and take your own product photos. It’s actually pretty easy to create your own product images if you know what you’re doing – so here are our top ten tips to help you take amazing product photos.
Our top ten tips for product photography:
- Use multiple light sources: You can use anything – professional studio lighting, desk lamps, a camera flash, a window during the day. Just make sure you light up both your product and the entire photo!
- Shoot with a low ISO: If you’re using a DSLR, shoot with a low ISO. ISO values follow a geometric sequence; each value doubles the previous value. Each time you go up a number you double your camera’s sensitivity to light. Always aim to use a low ISO for a better quality image – try not to go over 400. As you keep going up, your photo will start to look ‘grainy’ (this is called camera noise). To shoot with a lower ISO you need sufficient lighting. Looking for more information on ISO? Check out this enormous guide.
- Set a two-second timer: Once you’re happy with your lighting and your frame, set the camera onto a two-second timer mode to give the camera time to stop wobbling after you’ve pressed down on the shutter.
- Stabilize your camera: It’s difficult to produce tack-sharp images, particularly when lighting is average or you’re shooting a close-up. If you don’t have a tripod, use any kind of a hard, even, and stable surface. Small tables and hard floors are perfect, and you can always start piling up books if you want to adjust the height.
- Set up a white backdrop: White reflects white light back up onto your product, while dark colors absorb light. You’ll spend less time trying to make your product look good in the editing stage if you get the contrast right during when shooting. Fabric works better than cardboard because it creates a smooth transition from the wall to the floor; you won’t get that harsh that’s created when the horizontal and vertical pieces of cardboard meet.
- Embrace the sun as your light source: The key is to use the sun as an indirect light source; taking your photo by a window is usually the best place to do it. If the light’s too bright, just cover it with white curtains or sheets (any other color will have an effect on the lighting).
- Don’t over-edit: Use photo-editing apps to make minor image adjustments; the more you edit, the more you decrease the quality of the photo. Avoid tacky filters and excessive contrasting. Don’t decorate your photo with silly borders and colored text.
- Be consistent: A web page can look messy with inconsistent images. Make all images the same size! Your product should be in the center of its image canvas and should take up 80-90% of the frame. Removing the background makes this much easier to do.
- Mark set-up positions: For consistent photos, use clear tape to mark a spot for your tripod, your light sources, and your product.
- Understand white balance: Light sources have a ‘colour temperature’, so if the color of your product image looks nothing like the product in real life, try adjusting the white balance settings. Colour temperature is measured in ‘Kelvin’; when you use automatic shooting settings on a smartphone or digital camera, the camera guesses the Kelvin number based on a white element in the photo that it uses as a reference point. Shooting on a white backdrop helps with the accuracy of the camera’s white balance calibration.
Pixc provides high-quality image editing for your online store so you can increase your sales and focus on the things you do best. Get your image edited and remove the background of a product image within 24 hours, so you can spend more time building your business. Nice!