E-commerce is an extremely competitive market and has been especially hard to navigate in the last few years. If you’re looking to do your best to compete with the big guys, then one of the most essential parts of your business will be the way that it presents itself online through product photos. The product photos that you include on your website are the first thing that people will consider when looking to purchase something. With that in mind, here are some of the things to consider when creating product photos.
1. Composition Techniques
In photography, composition means the way the various elements of an image are placed within the frame. It’s not just about taking a photo but making it work aesthetically and conceptually. Whether you’re using product photography in Chicago or any other city, it’s always a good idea to see what other successful businesses are doing. There are some common techniques that you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Rule of Thirds – It’s a basic concept but many professional photographers swear by it. You divide the frame into nine parts and then place points of interest either along the lines or at intersections. The eye is naturally drawn to these points. If you’re taking product photos with your smartphone, this can be achieved by using the grid that’s built into many models or downloading an app for it.
- Leading Lines – Another thing to keep in mind is how you choose to frame things, and leading lines can help you achieve a more engaging photo. These could be natural lines like the sides of a road, the edge of a table, or even the curves of a person’s body. In some cases, it might be something that’s more abstract but still useful to include if you want to provide a sense of perspective and distance.
- Shapes – This doesn’t have to be something that’s overly complicated but rather anything that helps to make the image more dynamic. Think about how you can divide things into specific areas and then utilize angles, lines, and curves for an even stronger composition.
Whichever techniques you choose to use, it’s important that they fit in with the overall tone of your business and site. If you’re focusing on a more professional look, then keep soft and elegant lines and curves in mind. If your brand is more rugged or masculine, then using leading lines and shapes will help emphasize that identity further.
2. Custom Lighting
When it comes to retail, there’s nothing more important than lighting. Even if you’re taking product photos with your smartphone, proper lighting is something that will make or break the quality of an image. You might think that you can just set up shop somewhere and take a few shots, but if the light isn’t right then it won’t work. There are a few different types of lighting you’ll want to take advantage of:
- Direct Light – If you’re taking product photos with your smartphone, it’s going to be difficult to avoid using direct sunlight. It’s strong and very easy to see which can make for great images, but it also means that shadows run the risk of appearing too dark.
- Indirect or Diffused Light – While this is sometimes referred to as soft lighting, what you’re really looking for are things that give off natural light.
- Specular Lighting – This utilizes very sharp reflections to create a sense of depth within an image.
The lighting you choose can set the mood, tone, and visual aesthetic for your product photos. It also works best when you can take into account the product that’s featured in order to create something that really sells it.
3. Pick The Right Camera
While some may assume that they can get away with using their smartphone for product photography, the truth of the matter is that you’ll need something better to really get professional results. DSLR cameras are what’s used most often by professionals but even entry-level models will provide better quality photos than a phone. Of course, the settings you end up using will vary depending on the product that’s being photographed. It’s always better to take the time and experiment with your camera before the actual shoot starts. The last thing you want to do is take some shots and then be disappointed later on when they come out looking dull or lack vibrancy.
4. Retouch Your Photos
Image editing and retouching are vital parts of the product photography process. If you’re using retail or eCommerce sites, then your customers will be able to see every flaw and blemish in an image. This isn’t something you want to allow to happen as it can greatly impact how customers perceive your business as well as the products that you’re selling. Retouching images is a fine art that takes years to learn and perfect. Unless you have extensive knowledge in this area, it’s best left to professionals who can work their magic and turn out results that perfectly align with your branding. For the most part, you’ll want to remove blemishes, darken shadows, and do your best to emphasize visual elements.
You always want to do your best to remain competitive in an industry where eCommerce sites and online retailers are popping up like weeds. The quality of your product photos is a great place to start and knowing how to take stunning imagery is something that will set you apart from the competition.