One cost-effective and simple solution is to use your smartphone camera. Today’s phones and photo apps are sophisticated enough to produce clear, beautiful, and interesting photos.
You can take great photos and then edit them before uploading them to your online store. The viral popularity of photography apps has made it easy and fun to take pictures. Get creative, and have fun photographing your products through the following guidelines.
Play with interesting angles. While useful, front and back images can be boring. Create interest in the image by shooting your items from different positions and angles.
Show scale. If you’re selling particularly small items—like jewelry—it helps to show scale. Consider propping them against a universally recognized object, or use a live model to accurately display the size.
Utilize unique backdrops. Backdrops can add texture and contrast to an image. Jimdo customer and ecommerce store Sun Ah Blair, creates a visually stimulating image by using a simple reed mat as a backdrop.
Start with a good, clear image and you can manipulate the fine details after. Innovative photo apps can only do so much, after all. You can take raw photos using your camera phone, then select the ones you want to process through a photo app later.
Crop. Trim your image down to the main object with a little background. In general, most photos contain some periphery that can be cropped out. The rule of thirds is a photography composition guideline to learn and practice in most situations. If you didn’t capture your image according to this principle, you can usually crop it according to the rule of thirds afterwards.
Brightness. Most photo apps have a function that will automatically brighten your image, but familiarize yourself with doing it manually as well. Learning how to adjust the brightness of your photos on your own can give you a good understanding of light balance, shadows, and color—which comes in handy when you’re ready to further your expertise or use a DSLR camera. Brightening can have a significant impact on your photo, and, like cropping, it’s usually necessary. When adjusting the brightness, if you start to lose focus of the fine details of the image, you’ve generally gone too far. Stay within the scale of natural, attractive light.
Sharpen. Your camera will auto focus when you’re snapping a photo, but without a tripod, there’s always the possibility of a slight blur—no matter how unnoticeable it may be to the naked eye. You can make the product in your image razor sharp by using the sharpen feature in photo apps. Apply this technique to the product in the image, and the edges will stand out. It’s okay if the background is slightly blurred, and can even soften the image if used appropriately.
Filter. Filters are a great way to achieve a desired effect or mood. Since they’re preset, all you have to do is apply them to your image. Be careful not to abuse this feature. You want your products to appear on your site just as they do in real life. If you’re going to add an image with a filter effect, accompany it with natural images as well.
Once you’ve got the basics down, you may want to start tooling around with the grid function, which helps you create interesting compositions. Exposure, brush effects, layering, and tone are all more advanced techniques you can play around with.
One final thing to remember is to have fun. Seeing your products come to life through photography is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you have any product photography tips that have worked for your ecommerce store, please share them with us.
Adrienne is a web marketer and freelance writer in San Francisco with a focus on content marketing and earned media. She loves the internet, every single animal on Planet Earth, sticking her nose in books, and running in the park. Catch her if you can.