What is a good product if your 21st century customers cannot see it? Product photography is in our faces. It is in that coffee book at the reception of a hotel and we find it whenever we open websites. Without time to come down to your physical store or even check out products now that we are locked up in our homes because of the Coronavirus pandemic, your best option is to display pictures on your online store.
Most of us make the decision to buy a product simply because of the first feeling it gives us. I was looking for a food steamer yesterday and I chose this particular one because of the way the picture presented it-stuffed with colorful vegetables, potatoes and red meat.
Product photography is very important in this age where customers are looking for engaging content they can easily relate to. Your photos have the ability to evoke emotion and influence sales, after all that is why you do marketing.
Where do you start from?
Take a class to learn the basics of photography
While using your camera, depending on the type, you will need to use the right aperture, shutter speed, color, light, styling, composition and storytelling. These are all basics you can easily pick up online or from a photographer.
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are the best thing that happened in the world of photography. They give you great quality pictures. But as a budding business, investing in DSLRs can be quite expensive for you. This is where your smartphone comes in handy especially for social media content. The latest Samsung and iPhones have some of the highest quality cameras among smartphones on the market. However, the pictures are usually of low resolution compared to DSLRs.
Nothing beats shooting products in natural light but you can also opt to use external lights depending on what you need the picture for and where you intend to use it.
Proper lighting enables customers to see the product the way it is. It enhances the look of the product in some cases. Take advantage of early morning and late afternoon shoots while ensuring the sun doesn’t scorch the pictures. If you opt for artificial light such as from a bulb, use a flash diffuser to get a well lit picture. A picture taken in low light is usually of low quality.
In most cases, tripods are used in video shooting but they are not a preserve of the former. Buy a tripod for your DSLR camera or even that Samsung smartphone to get stable and sharp pictures. Also, using different kinds of lenses enables you to get your dream pictures. Take at least 5 shots. Shoot your products from different angles to give them different perspectives. You can hold your camera at aerial or high angel, eye-level angle, lower angle or shoot from the side. Close-up shots give detail you want your customer to see. The use of angles depends on the type of product you are shooting. Give your pictures color depending on the emotions you want to evoke.
If you are new to photography, it is easy to rush through the shoot without checking if the pictures are sharp, are focused, have depth of field, Been there done that. So do your homework by planning every shot, a day before shooting. Take your time to compose the pictures and capture the lines, texture, form, shapes and color for your pictures to pop. Use close-up shots to show every detail of your product. If you have the same product with varying features, shoot them separately as well as combined to show off the variety. Get great shots because it is not better than relying on photoshop or on the Lightroom App on your smartphone to fix your mistakes at the end of the day. Even then, you need to first take an editing class to understand how to make small touch-ups that do not distort the intended look of your product.
Add props and context
You can shoot your products in a studio, you can place it against a white background or group the products. If you are shooting your clothing line, it doesn’t hurt to add a bag or shoes or jewelry to accompany your dresses. If anything, they give a customer an idea of what they will look like once they purchase the dress. Make sure as you shoot, the dress remains your major focus. As regards context, place your products in places customers can easily identify with. Use nature around you, a street, a pet, indoors or a model. If you are selling jewelry, have a model wear it with a matching dress. If you are selling indoor plants, shoot one good picture inside the house to spark the imagination of those plants in the customer’s house.
You do not need a lot of money to begin creating impressive pictures to entice your customers. You need to know the purpose for which you are taking the photo and the tactics to achieve your story. Therefore, you need to learn the basics of product photography and keep practising. Happy learning!