10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

June 19th 2013 | Photography

Setting up your eCommerce site? You’re definitely going to need some captivating photos to present what you offer. Ideally, you should get a professional photographer to perform that well-calculated magic. However, if you’re working on a tight budget, or if you just happen to like photography, you can always pick up a camera and give it a go yourself. Follow the tips below and make the most out of your photo shoot.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Get Lots of Light

Natural light works best for any type of photo and should be used whenever possible. Typically, shooting your photos during the day will grant the best results. What matters is not only the quantity of the light, but the uniformity of distribution as well.

Hard shadow vs. soft shadow– Hard shadows are created when the size of the light source is small compared to the size of the subject. Conversely, soft shadows are created when the size of the light source is larger than the subject. For your needs you want to aim for soft shadow.

As demonstrated in the example below, the more diffused the light is, the better its spread on the object you photograph and the more smooth and whole its appearance.  To avoid a hard shadow, use a flash diffuser. A flash diffuser can be created by taking a white tape or a white plastic bag and attaching it to the flash of the camera. In turn, the light will be distributed in a softer, more even way in all parts of the object, rather than be centered in one spot.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography


White Background – Create the Infinity Curve

Often in product photography, a clean white background looks best since it creates a focus on the object itself. The “Infinity Curve” enables photographers to shoot products against an endless white background that reveals no horizon in the back, only a clean and pleasant view. To create this type of background, place a piece of white paper or fabric and bend it to create a curve. Your product will be the center of the photo and the only item to capture the viewer’s attention.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography


Find the Unusual Point of View

No one knows your products better than you. However, nothing is better than a product photo shoot to bring out special features of your product that may surprise even you. As you take photos, go for unusual angles, get close ups and look for unique points of view. Tell a story with the images you capture, while you accentuate particular angles. You never know what angle will end up revealing the most impressive or attractive tale, so test different options.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Use a Tripod and a Timer

As you take a picture, even the slightest vibration or movement can cause motion blur. Moreover, the closer you get to an object the more obvious the motion blur becomes. A tripod will assure you remain stable as you take the photo. Even an inexpensive tripod will make a big difference in the sharpness of your images. Additionally, you can use the camera’s built-in timer to minimize camera shake and maximize accuracy.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Sense of Scale

Some products may not be easily recognizable by viewers. This is where giving a sense of scale can be very helpful. If you include an item in the image that people are familiar with, it can really help to visualize the size of the product. For example, if the product is a miniature doll, you could place an object like a standard sized pencil next to it, and give people a sense of scale.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Show the Product in its Natural Environment

Take pictures of your product next to an item that will help people relate to it in real life. Moreover, the use of props can help to bring out certain features in the photo. For example, if you take a picture of a watch, show it on someone’s wrist. If you are selling a coffee table book, take a shot of the opened book on an actual table with a small fruit bowl next to it. If you are selling jewelry or clothing, having at least one picture of your product on a model is great. Potential buyers will get an idea of how the item will look on them and also, it could show the type of target audience you’re aiming for.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

We Sell this Shirt in Red, Green and Grey

You may offer a particular item in a selection of colors. In this case, don’t spare any visual details, bare it all in the photo! On many site images, people display a single item and then write under it “also available in blue and green”. A set of photos showing the variety of colors will make the product look richer and more attractive. Don’t just tell them about it, let people see for themselves.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Don’t Delete from Camera

Don’t get tempted to make quick verdicts about your pictures when you review them on the camera. Be patient and wait until you download the photos to your computer. Images look very different on a bigger screen and this is the way to decide which photos make the cut and which will move on to photo-heaven.

Taking a Detailed Photo? Use the “Flower” Setting

Most cameras have a “close-up” setting that you switch it to when you are taking a closer than standard photo. The “flower” setting is really called “Macro” and it appears on most cameras as a tulip-like icon. This is often used when your subject is a small item like a piece of jewelry or a flower. The result is a narrow depth of field and a different perspective.

10 Tips for Effective Product Photography

Pro tip– If you’d like to take a picture of something very small, and even the “macro” feature is not enough, use an extension tube – it gives a focus for the tiny details. The extension tube is typically a tool used by photography pros but as you advance with your photo shoots you may find yourself developing an appetite for advanced tools and other photo instruments.

Editing Is Important

Taking a shot is often just the beginning, next comes the editing and the touch ups. As you prepare images for your site, make sure they are approximately the same size. Choose 1-3 different sizes from large to medium and small. Edit your photos to fit one of the pre-selected sizes so that you won’t have too much variation.

You don’t have to be a web designer or even computer savvy for this one, just upload your pictures into any photo editing software, and get to business. Things like cropping and color correction can make a world of difference in a photo. You can also use the Aviary image editor directly on the Wix editor and make your photos really shine.



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