*This is a guest post by the CreativeLive team
No matter how many times we’ve all been chided not to judge a book by its cover, it’s human nature to assess things by appearance. For small businesses, great product photography is more than just a luxury — it can make or break your brand. If you’re selling products on your website or thinking of creating an online store, your photos need to be top notch in order to instill confidence in your customers and close sales. So how do you ensure your products are presented in the best possible light?
Light it up
When it comes to buying products online, people want to know exactly what they’re getting for their money. One of the fastest ways to tank your product photography is to shoot in the dark and rely on the flash — your products will not be clearly visible and your viewers will be wary. To prevent this, try to shoot in a healthy amount of natural light, or invest in a soft tabletop light that you can manipulate. Or, as Andrew Scrivani recommends, use two lights and a simple white background, which can let you manipulate the light sources.
Keep it simple
You don’t need a complex scenario or background for most product photography — in fact, simple is usually better and has a higher rate of conversion. Stick with a white or neutral background (clean bed sheet? Perfect!), which will allow the products to stand out, and cut down on distracting shadows.
…But make it pretty
If you’re feeling adventurous, consider styling your products in a fun, attractive way that coincides with your brand. Look for other items around your house or workspace (fruit? Nice dishes? Something with a lovely wood grain?) and experiment with colors, shapes and textures. While this can really enhance your images, it’s important to always keep the focus on your product; here’s Andrew Scrivani again, giving some pro tips on how to keep your props from being distracting.
A piece of foamcore and some parchment paper are all it takes to create an inexpensive, effective way to diffuse harsh light and give your products a softer appearance. Photographer Jim Giannatti explains how to cast your goods in a more flattering light — without spending a fortune. You can also use this DIY tutorial to make your own lightbox for way less money than professional ones will run you.
Often, online vendors take photos and immediately throw them up on their websites. Even if you’re not a Photoshop phenom, you can still do some post-production to improve the appearance of your products. Don’t dramatically alter them — you still want the products to appear in a realistic way — but don’t be afraid to edit the hue or saturation of your photos. Aaron Nace demonstrates a few steps you can do to gussy up a photo and make your products that much more tempting to buy.