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Product photos are a necessity in online shop keeping. They are meant to showcase and entice. In this article, we discuss simple tips and tricks on styling and shooting your product photos for you to maximize its selling potential.
Online selling entails a semi-sterile marketing environment because online customers typically will no longer go to an online store’s physical shop and just order off a website catalogue or storefront. This means that there will be slightly less product scrutiny; inversely, it also means that first impressions are everything. Good quality product photos are the frontline of online store marketing activities as customers will have no other means by which to gauge their want for your products. It may be a daunting prospect to spend on equipment or services in order to have product photos with an ooh factor, as even entry level SLR cameras can be expensive and photography services can be time-consuming and disruptive of store operations.
With that in mind, we have listed tips and tricks of product photography to lend ideas to our TackThis! users so that you create homemade product photos that will rival any professional service, and more importantly, catch the eye of online shoppers.
1. Use an actual camera.
First, you’ll need a camera, and it is best to immediately eliminate webcams and built-in laptop cameras from your list of options. Digital Short-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras have an edge in photography and you should use one if available, but phone cameras can be used too, as many smartphone cameras are in a photography league on their own right. The iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5 cameras are very good phones to start with, and anything newer or at least 8 megapixels with image stabilization is credible hardware.
2. Simplify your backdrop.
A white or solid color backdrop is a very good accessory because a pleasing and simple hue puts more emphasis on the product rather than the entire composition of the photo. Many professional photographers live by this ethos: less is more. Stick to one color background to retain an atmosphere of uniformity. The pros usually get this done by draping a white sheet over a clothesline, or just a clear patch of painted or wallpapered wall. Many online shops also like to use patterned backdrops such as sarongs, ivy-coated property lines, fences, or floors; be creative but keep the patterns and colors as undisruptive as possible.
3. Mix and match lighting.
Lighting aids come in the form of flashbulbs or flash apps for DSLR and smartphones, respectively, and other direct or indirect light sources such as softboxes, o-ring light lenses, lamps, reflectors, flashlights, and even direct or filtered sunlight. Lighting affects the way photos turn out and it would be best to practice and experiment with product photography under different lighting conditions.
Take the time to experiment and learn which lighting techniques suit your fancy – you may also try placing white light sources at different angles towards or away from your product. Reflectors or white planks of clean Styrofoam also help bounce off light from direct sources; use these simple aids to lessen unwanted shadows and highlight certain parts of your product that need emphasis.
4. Don’t shoot blurred subjects.
A tripod or beanbag will help create clearer photos by eliminating shakiness that usually happens with handheld photography. It is also easier to shoot at subject level by laying the camera down on the same level (floor, tabletop, etc) as the product, with a small tripod or beanbag; shooting at subject level allows an easier and more natural bokeh or natural blurs of indirectly focused areas for patterned or lit backgrounds, creating more artsy shots. Shooting at the subject level is best done with smaller items such as jewelry and toys.
5. Editing post-shoot can be the difference.
Smartphone camera users will benefit from free apps such as VSCOcam, Retrica, Cymera and other similar apps found on Google Play and on the App Store. Many apps have ready-made filters for easy photo editing – just point and shoot and slap a filter on and you’re all set! This is most convenient for store owners who do not have enough time to shoot and edit photos. DSLR users can also benefit from some post-shoot editing with the use of some free photo editing apps from Windows 8 and 8.1 Store, such as Adobe Photoshop Express and Phototastic.
6. Outsource to your Tack Ambassador
Not everyone can shoot great photos; that, sometimes, is simply the most basic reason behind unappealing shots. Many entrepreneurs also do not have the time to gather everything and stage a photoshoot. In events like these, outsourcing the job can be your best option, and none is more so equipped for the task than our team of Tack Ambassadors. Through the TackThis! Concierge Program, Tack Ambassadors can be asked upon to do the actual shooting or even just the post-shoot editing, whichever is to your convenience.
In the retail industry, where first impressions usually leave a lasting effect, shooting good photos of your products could be the difference between a window shopper and a customer. You don’t need a degree in photography; all you need is an eye for the attractive and an intimate knowledge of your products, so that you’d know how to photograph them best. Just remember to light your subject adequately, keep it simple, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Compose, shoot, and go through the shots afterwards. You’d be surprised by how many good shots you’ll manage to turn out. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to make mistakes; no photographer learned everything they know in a day.