Graphic Lane Blog

Product Photography Tips

Product Photography Tips

I was spinning around with “What is the best tip that you can share regarding product photography for the ecommerce sites?” for a better product photography as it seems very different to me. Here I get some of the very best experts who are emphasizing me on aspects like light adjustment, view and dimensional senses.
With these experts, I have done some sorts of “Put your brains together” as you can assemble their suggestions and thoughts to excel in product photography. Anyway, here I am showing them up to you all.

Kelly Peloza

Kelly Peloza
Chicago Based Photographer

I have a couple of thoughts on this topic. For standard product photos shot on a white seamless, it’s of course necessary to represent the product accurately: accurate color, scale, and showcase of functions. The customer will be frustrated if the photo is low-quality or so small that it’s difficult to make out details.
While shooting standard product photography is sufficient in most cases, prop styling will really make it stand out. Showing the product in use or in an environment creates a more personable photo for the customer. Working with a photo stylist or learning prop styling techniques is valuable for product photographers.

Daniel T Jester

Daniel T Jester
Product and Portrait Photographer

Shoot your product in an honest way. Focus on the key features and aesthetic of the product, and shoot in a way that compliments that, and makes it clear what you’re selling. Don’t overdo it with props or atmosphere.

Dana Hursey

Dana Hursey
Professional Product Photographer

Shooting for e-commerce can be a bit different than shooting for regular advertising. Much of the time, in advertising the imagery is talking a bout a mood or ‘’Moment” that the brand wants to associate with their product. In e-commerce it is all about the product. The product needs to be clean, appealing, well defined and represented and crystal clear.

For this reason, the most successful e-commerce imagery is broadly (and well) lit on a plain and simple background (most of the time white), with a lot of distractions. Most choose not to put the item in and environment because of the potential distract that the environment creates. The manufacturer wants the customer paying attention to THEIR product, not where they can find that lovely vase off to the side! While online imagery is generally on the small side where file size is concerned, more and more websites are option for the ability to zoom in or magnify the image, so quality is becoming much more of a factor. It’s not just about megapixels, it is also about shooting with quality lenses to bring out all of the fine detail in any given product. And lastly, one of the most frequent rookie mistakes is not THOROUGHLY prepping the product for the shoot (i.e. cleaning it). We usually demand “camera ready” products from the client, but if they are not we need to employ (and charge back for) someone to get in a detail everything we shoot. It can be embarrassing (to both you and the client) to have a lovely product shot on a web site only to find that when you zoom in to see the detail view it is covered in dust or lint from a feeble attempt at a cleaning. With everything in place and a well lit set, e-commerce photography can be a staple of a busy studio!

Nicola Tree

Nicola Tree
London Based Photographer

Nicola Tree is a London based Photographer, specializing in Portrait and Product Photography.
Nicola’s work is regularly published world wide in advertising and editorial markets from my contract with Getty images. My commercial work was recently featured in Forum, Disegno, Domus, Icon, Monacle, Site Unseen, The New York Times and The Independent newspaper. My personal work was has featured in the Hotshoe blog, The BBC and in the Evening Standard Newspaper.

Yeshen Venema

Yeshen Venema
Product and Still Life Photographer

My top tip would be consistent across your product shots. They do not all have to look the same, rather look good together on the website. Working with the same photographer on a number of shoots will help, but what’s key is setting a style (lighting/background/props) and keeping to it. Consistent product photography is crucial in establishing your brand online.

Sébastien Dubois-Didcock

Sébastien Dubois-Didcock
Food & Product Photographer

I believe that eCommerce websites, and websites in general should always consider photography as a priority for their business. Whether it be on or off-figure photography, the imagery that companies choose for their website, along with the design of their website, supersede any other type of information. Consumers base their initial decision and interest in the product purely on visual appeal (all other information is usually secondary to the consumer – although they probably do not realize it). If a company decides not to invest and hire the right photographer who can create the appropriate visual language for the product, the product will suffer. Too often, companies invest a lot of money in making sure their product looks great in reality, but forget to invest in the photographers who are able to make the aesthetics of the product look beautiful in a photograph.

Furthermore, many online companies tend to restrict themselves with boring images of their products on white background. Although it makes sense to shoot one white to facilitate the consumers ability to navigate and understand the product, there are many ways to make white background images interesting. Professional commercial photographers are not only responsible for creating the visual language of a product, but to find the appropriate people (stylists, etc..) who can make these products shine.

Hector Romero

Hector Romero
Product Still Photographer

Before I can share my experience and or advice I should start with who I am. I spent many years processing packaging graphics, and then about four more designing web elements (UI). I still freelance in graphic art, and now photography. I have been producing product photography for a e-commerce business for just over two years.

The biggest piece of advice I have if the scope of your image assets (products photo library) is greater than one hundred products, and you only have one in-house photographer, is to take advantage of the growing number of image online post-editing services that are out there. You can shoot several more images/products on any one day and have them ready to load to your site sooner by having someone else do the bulk and or time consuming portion of the post-editing. For example, you only have to make sure that your images are properly exposed and in focus and the post editing service can do the rest – including making the file size low for web display.

My other piece of advice is that high key (white background) seems to make the most sense for (most) products – that even including clothes. The reason is because the main focus of the online consumer is to feel confident in knowing what they are buying is actually what they are buying. They want as much detail as possible. Models wearing your clothes is great but it shouldn’t be the only or main image. The same applies for other items that may seem better to display in some setting or background or in action or use but is not actually the best or optimal way to show a product. I think online consumers want to see detail and that is almost more important than to see a small version of the item floating in a big image of background, scenery or real life setting.

Tom P P Mcguire

Tom P P Mcguire
Wedding & Product Photoghrapher

Create space in your images for the logo or message that your customer wants to include in the image. Plan this in advance so that you have 3 or 4 different version of the same product with different proportions of space.

Richard Quindry

Richard Quindry
Philadelphia Commercial Photographer

Don’t foolishly think that you’re saving money by using cheap photography. Remember, we buy with our eyes. Better photos always win, it’s only a question of who has them.

Orlando Sydney

Orlando Sydney
Product, Portrait and an Event Photographer

The best advice I can give new up and coming product photographer is to share my own mission statement, which is:

My goal is to deliver images that convey an emotional connection, or a message and story about the event or product. If the image can stop a viewer for a few moments longer than they would otherwise, a connection has been made.

If it’s in the brief, how it can be enjoyed in a lifestyle situation. Lastly but importantly, always stay within the brief and delivery times!

Sylvia Labelle

Sylvia Labelle
Edmonton Based Photographer

The aim of product photography is to produce a high quality product image to that will get the attention of your customers and clients over like products.

In order to produce these quality images you will want to be sure to have your camera on a tripod and set you product up on a white background with good lighting either from a window or an off camera flash while using your camera on a tripod. The camera’s flash will not give you the image you want to help sell your product. A reflector (white foam core works well) is also required in order to eliminate any shadows on your products.

If you plan on taking your products shots yourself I would suggest taking a course or hiring a tutor to teach you how to get the sharp, high quality images you require to have your product grab your future customer’s attention.

Jami Carroll

Jami Carroll
Wedding & Product Photographer

I would say one of the most key items to good product photography is lighting. Whether it be in studio shots or outdoor shots, lighting is key. Most the problems I see with eCommerce sites is they don’t make sure their product is adequately lit. The customer can’t see clearly what the product offers and or comes with and are to dark to be a good representation. People see bad pictures and it automatically makes them less likely to purchase the item. Even if you don’t have lights to use outside, use the sun to adequately light the item and shoot on the side the sun is shining on. Lighting can make or break a image, not matter what that image is of.

Hoyin Siu

Hoyin Siu
Toronto Based Commercial Photographer

The most basic tips to take good product photos are using a tripod, setting your camera to a widest aperture, using a white background, creating an out-of-focus background. A lot of photographers know about that. But how could we make them unique? Here are 2 short points to make your product photos stand out from the crowd.

1. Most of the time, photographers shoot from an eye-level. Shooting from an odd angle can create an interesting image. It may not fit with all products because it can distort the products. However, if you display the products carefully, you will be surprised how you make the product be memorable. You can even hang the product and shoot from underneath or above.

2. Giving a sense of scale is very important for product photography. Some products may not be easily recognizable in terms of their size. If it’s a live style photography shoot. Putting up a set with real size items next to your objects will help visualizing the size of the products.

Brandy Yowell

Brandy Yowell
Food & Product Photographer

The best advice I can give is consistency and quality. As cliché as it is, the old saying “you get what you pay for,” could not ring more true when it comes to photography. I’m not saying take out a second mortgage on your house, but do your research and be willing to pay a little more for the quality you want. Just as important as quality is consistency. Make sure all your images are comparable in lighting, backgrounds and angles (choose several angles to showcase your product fully) and make sure the style is true to your brand.

William Paltridge

William Paltridge
Creative Advertising Photographer

Getting product photography right is more important that most companies realise, and the key to successful e-commerce photography is in the value of the photographic practice itself. The client will be in a really good place if they embrace the value of photography to their company! I would say without doubt that if a company place an importance on the product photography then the results will speak volumes about their product or service. Any company considering this type of work should ask their photographer to pay particular attention to detail, including the objects material properties, the lighting used in relation to the context of the product, and professional post production. If the items are well lit, correctly photographed and finished to a high standard, everyone involved in the project will be much better off long term, and their customers will understand they care.

Jerry Deutsch

Jerry Deutsch
Food and Product Photographer

A product photographer has to be skilled in at least four areas. You have to be technically skilled, artistically skilled, skilled in business and maybe the one that is mostly overlooked is people skills. Don’t be afraid to get help in any of these areas that you think you need help with.

People skills comes in when you are talking to potential clients, doing the shoot and delivering the images. There are many photographers out there that can do what you do. A client wants to work with someone who is easy to work with, communicates well and shows that her or she enjoys his or her work. You have to always treat people with respect, even those that work for you.

Business skills are important in scheduling, preparing estimates, keeping records, doing billing, and remembering to file your taxes on time. Invoices have to look professional. They need to go well with your website, business cards and all things that you do. These things represent you. How do you know if your business is making money or not? Can you buy that new lens or camera? Does it pay to get new props? You need to know what your income is and what your expenses are. When the time comes, you might need an office manager, bookkeeper or accountant.

Artistic skills are probably what got you into this business in the first place. Hopefully you’ve always enjoyed photography and have a sense of composition, color and lighting. This is one that you are the expert. As a product photographer, lighting is crucial. Remember, the most important part of a product shot is the label. For food (my passion) the food has to be fresh and look appetizing. Yet, my culinary skills are certainly lacking. You have to make someone want to eat it. You do this with your choice of background, props, lighting and composition. I often get the help of a food stylist and/or prop stylist when doing food shots. They are the experts.

Finally technical skills. The image that comes out of the camera is usually good but not good enough. Post production is always necessary. You need to be an expert in Photoshop or whatever your editing tool is. Many times, a curves adjustment and a few flaws with a clone tool is not enough. If a client asks for a white background, almost white is not good enough. You may have many shots that need clipping paths or color adjustment or something that takes just too much time and too much expertise. Don’t be afraid to seek out help by sending images out for these tasks. When I have one or two shots, I do them myself but, if I have many, or something I’m not confident with, I send them to the experts.

Shay Cochrane

Shay Cochrane
Product Stylist and Photographer

“Find the light. It doesn’t matter how dark your house is, there is a window somewhere. Decent product photography is not hard to produce if you take the time to create a consistently use a set up that make use of available natural light. Start with a large piece of white foam-core or poster board with an additional piece for the backdrop. Next, find a window that get nice diffused (not direct) sunlight and set up your boards with the window at the side and a third white board opposite the window to bounce the light from the darker side. Figure out the time of day that yields that best results and be consistent. Consistency in shop images goes a long way to yielding a professional looking site.”

Jonny Carroll

Jonny Carroll
Photographer, Cinematographer and Aerial Specialist

For product photography you need to have a photographer or company that will cut out the products and deliver photos with both a transparent background and a pure white background for print and web. If they’re doing the work of cutting out (which they should), then getting the transparent image should not be much work so long as it’s requested up front.

All photographers are different, at DTX Media we charge by the day. To save time, which translates to costs group the products by shape and size prior to the shoot. Have them ready to go, assembled and cleaned if necessary for time efficiency. This will also help them to ensure that they look more uniform.

Lastly, in preparation, make sure you know the angle(s) you want. It sounds simple, but large products take a long time to orient or light, so a request to “shoot everything at every angle to be safe” could end up costing three times more than you needed.

Nicole Herrick

Nicole Herrick
PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY

Selling your products online is big business these days and when it comes to presenting your product, there is no longer a simple solution. Products need to be photographed in a variety ways to accommodate all ecommerce selling platforms, from your own website, to Etsy, and even flowing sales from instagram and pinterest.

Flatlay Product Photography is now shot in two ways:

Studio shot flatlay – Background removed to 100% white – for clean minimalist eCommerce websites.

or Natural flatlayUsually shot on a natural texture using a natural light source – for warmer websites and Etsy type eCommerce websites.

Lifestyle product photography

Lifestyle product photography varies depending on your product type but it put simply, it means shot in situ or in use. This style of product photography is great for setting the mood on the homepage if an ecommerce website or showcasing on sites like Etsy. Also great for featuring on social media like Instagram and Pinterest.

Notes:

Instagram product photography
Instagram is all about presenting your products in situ or in use. Selfie style images are hugely popular and often instagram filters are applied for a vintage feel.

Pinterest product photography
The most pinned product images on pinterest are those that showcase the product in a fashion journalism style, or styled environment.

After all I think your view or vision is the main thing that does the photography, the camera only takes the picture of what your mind discovers and your eyes see. So learn more and widen your vision.

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