If your business has products to sell, few things help move inventory more effectively than high-quality photos showing them off. When it comes to e-commerce, product photos serve as representations of what you’re offering and are a key component of both your online shop and all your marketing channels such as social media posts, emails, and blogs.
No matter how good your products are, you won’t be able to win customers if you are unable to communicate the item’s beauty/quality to potential buyers. In the online space, without the ability to see the product in person, like you would at a brick-and-mortar store, people tend to judge the quality of your product by the quality of the product photography.
Your product photos replace the in-person buying experience and you need product images that convey the same kind of info as walking into a store. Well done product images that clearly capture the details of a product go beyond simply conveying the appearance of a product and help begin to give customers a sense of what that item might feel like. Combined with carefully planned stylized product shots, customers can even get a sense of how an item might look in their own home, how it might smell, and more. You can think of a selection of quality product shots kind of like the demo rooms that you would find in a store like IKEA - they offer a demonstration of how the product can be used in a customer’s life.
The fact of the matter is that mediocre images will get lost in the noise of the internet and cause your product to be overlooked or will outright drive potential clients away. Great product photos that portray your product accurately by showcasing its color, textures, details, size, and so on, will ultimately increase your sales and heighten your audience engagement on social media.
Investing in professional photography might stretch your budget, but sometimes it's a smart choice for moving your business forward. If the finances simply aren’t available, however, there are ways to improve your own DIY product shots so that you have better images for your online store and marketing materials. The best part is that taking a nice DIY product photo can be done with little more than a cellphone camera, the product, a source of light, some free editing software, and a bit of time.
Here are some simple ways you can capture pictures of your products in all their glory:
Without professional studio lighting, natural light is your best friend. Set up by a bright window where the sunlight is not directly shining through it. Direct sunlight is harsh and will result in dark, unwanted shadows whereas indirect light will be softer and more even resulting in lighter more pleasing shadows. If you want to lessen the shadows further use white card or foam core (these can be purchased at most dollar stores) to bounce light and fill in shadows.Using a white surface helps reflect natural light from the sun back onto the product.
Keep the styling simple and consistent with your brand. Using unobtrusive backgrounds (sheets of foam core work well here too), allows your product to be prominent. Using too many props can confuse the viewer and your product can get lost. If you do decide to incorporate props use a few simple ones as supporting characters to help tell the story of the product. Remember the product is the hero while the props are supporting characters. It's also wise to take multiple shots, trying out different different angles. Give customers lots of different perspectives to help showcase the key features of your product.
Editing can go a long way to making an image look finished. Snapseed is a good app that has plenty of tools for tweaking your images to make them look their best. At a minimum you should adjust the crop, the contrast, and fix any white balance issues.
Photo taken on a Samsung s7 and edited using Snapseed.
The images you use say a lot about your brand, your quality, and your work. Whether you DYI your product photos or hire a pro to do them for you be sure you have sharp, crisp images that show off the details of your product and make a good first impression on potential customers.