How to Take Beautiful Product Images that Sell
Spectacular product photos are key to having a Bong Diggity shop. trust us, you don’t need elaborate equipment to take great shots of your items. Chances are good that your phone has a built-in camera that takes high-quality pictures. If not, a simple point-and-shoot camera will do the trick. With a few industry tricks and lots of light, your shop will be looking legit in no time.
1. The Studio Shot
What: Your product, on a light colored background, well lit for all to see.
Why: A studio shot is the simplest way to show window shoppers what you’re offering. When shoppers are browsing thumbnails, they’re drawn to clear, bright photos that really show off the product. An added bonus to this type of shot is that clear photos set a realistic expectation of what a customer will be receiving in the mail, helping you to avoid the hassle of returns and exchanges.
How: You don’t actually need a professional photo studio to make this shot happen. Just use a plain background and plenty of light. It is very tempting to go wild with a fun background but keeping the attention on your product is key. If your creations are small you can tape a piece of white paper onto a wall and let it curve down onto the table or floor to make a seamless backdrop. If you’re selling clothes or larger wares, trying hanging a white sheet to your garage door or over a dresser.
Next, light it up! Bright, indirect light is the best option for capturing clear photos. Set up near a big window in the middle of the day or, if you’re outside, shoot in even shade. You can use a light-colored piece of paper or a reflector to bounce extra light onto your subject. Tip: fluorescent lighting is not a good alternative to beautiful natural light. If you want a more controlled area, look into Photojojo’s Foldio, a mini white photo studio with built-in lights for an easy setup.
2. The Macro
What: A close-up photo that highlights your product’s fine detail.
Why: Including a close-up shot or two will help show off the quality and texture of your materials and demonstrate just how lovingly each stitch/cut/nail/sequin/paintstroke went into the construction of your products. It’s also a good idea to include an image of any imperfections or item variations up close to ensure you’re setting clear expectations for shoppers.
How: As always, make sure your subject is well lit, and then get your camera as close as you can while maintaining focus. To get super duper close on a mobile phone, try a macro lens, which lets you get your phone within an inch of your subject with tack sharp focus. If you’re using a point-and-shoot, refer to your manual to turn on the micro setting (often represented on the camera with an image of a flower).
3. Snap for Scale
What: A photo of your goodie next to a common object or on a model to show its size.
Why: Shoppers want to know what that brooch is going to look like on a real live lapel, how low that necklace hangs or if that pencil holder is going to hold three or 30 pencils.
How: You don’t have to use a boring ol’ ruler to show scale; just choose any object that would be familiar to most people. If you’ve made clothes or jewelry, put them on a human! Shoppers who feel like they are in between sizes, or aren’t familiar with the exact measurement scale you’re using, will have their questions answered when they see a human sporting your product. If you’re selling a non-wearable object, your scale photo can be as simple as staging the purse you made with a phone peeking out, or your hand-painted dessert plate with a couple of cookies on it.
4. Lifestyle Pic
What: Your product looking good in its element.
Why: The main reason to include a lifestyle photo is so that when someone sees it, they can imagine just what they’d do if they owned your amazing product. You want them to imagine your item in use to help sway them to make the purchase.
How: If you’re selling prints, take a photo of each one hanging on a wall, so your shoppers can see just how great it looks incorporated into home décor. Show them just how cute that salt and pepper shaker set look on a cozy dinner table. Pick the cutest spot in your house (or your adorable friend’s house) and take photos of your creation in use.