by Beryl Ayn Young
If you’re a creative blogger or online shop owner, you know just how important quality product photography will be to your bottom line.
Your potential customers want to see your product before they buy, and since they can’t pick it up and physically see it for themselves, your images are the only thing they have to help them decide whether to push that Buy button or not.
In today’s post, I’m sharing with you my top 5 product photography tips for taking your photos up a notch, and helping your clients see the full value in what you’re offering.
Locate Light First
No matter what type of camera you’re using, it won’t work to its fullest potential without quality light. Let’s chat a bit about natural vs. artificial light sources.
Inside, during the day, you want to find rooms with light walls and ample window light streaming in. I like to call the best rooms in our home my “Grade A” light rooms. Take a walk around your home, office, or studio and find your own “Grade A” light areas. If you prefer to head outside, be sure to find areas of open shade. That would be places where your product is in the shade, but there is ample light in the surrounding areas (covered porches are a great example of open shade).
Some creatives have no choice but to take photos of their products in the evening, once the sun has gone down. My best solution for this is to turn off your flash and build a DIY lightbox instead! With $30 and 30 minutes I created this one with a large moving box, utility lamps with clamp bottoms (I picked mine up at the local hardware store), 100w daylight compact fluorescent bulbs, extension cords, tissue paper, and scotch tape.
If you’re a DSLR user, I highly recommend picking up a ‘prime lens’. Either a 50mm or 35mm lens with an F-stop opening of 1.8 will work perfectly. Without getting too technical, that lower lens opening of 1.8 will allow you to create that beautiful smooth background blur. In its simplest form, the lower you set your F-stop, the more blur you will create. In this way, you can truly focus a viewer’s eye on your product and allow the rest of the scene to blend into the background. I typically keep my F-stop at 2.8 or 3.2 for most product shots.
Use Simple Styling
It’s important to pay attention to the set-up of your shots too. Allow your product to be the focus, but don’t be afraid to add other complementary elements of interest to add texture to the frame. A bit of ribbon, some greenery or flowers, or a patterned backdrop. But make sure you don’t go overboard. In the end, you still want your customer to view your product as the focus of the frame.
Show Real World Use
Decide if you want your photos to be staged, or if you’d like to show them being used. For example, you can stage jewelry in a studio or you can show a photo of someone wearing the piece. You can stage a tote bag hanging on a wall or you can show a mom at the grocery store with it over her shoulder. Which kind of photos speak to you more? Do you want the photos staged, do you want to show the real world application, or will you use a combination of both types of images?
I think the most important message is: whatever you do with the photos for your creative business, stay consistent. Think about your brand message and the colors and feelings you want to convey, to help guide your styling. If you promote a clean, neutral polished look, then share that in your photos. If you are all about bright, vibrant pops of color, think about how you can best bring that into your images. The more consistent your message, the clearer the vision will become to your customers, readers, and buyers.