E-commerce Photography: 5 Simple Tips for Better Product Shots
1. Soft/Even lighting – Photographers use contrast and shadows to create atmosphere, but for product shots, ditch the art for clarity. Dark shadows and bright highlights can influence the appearance of a product which can prove to be deceptive to a customer. To avoid this kind of lighting, bounce light towards an object, pull the light away or even try lighting from above. This will provide the necessary illumination, but won’t create a harsh glare.
2. A Steady Hand – If you’re using a digital camera (which, let’s face it, you are) the LCD display on the back of your camera is what you check to see how the shot turned out. The problem with that, however, is you can’t always see camera shake on your 2”x 2” screen. With product photography you’re looking for product detail, so the closer you take the photograph, the more obvious the blur will be. Go out and get a tripod and, if you have one, use a remote shutter release for even more stability. Steadiness is key. If you follow this rule, you’ll see an immediate difference in the sharpness of your images.
3. Focus/Zoom – Zooming in before taking a photograph has its pros and cons. The pro is that you reduce the distortion from the lens, and it becomes more like a telephoto lens. The con is that you lose your depth of field and, depending on the product, parts of your image may be out of focus. The solution is to find a balance in the middle and refocus your camera before shooting each product. Also, putting your camera in aperture priority mode will help you attain the largest in-focus area, especially if you’re getting up close and personal with the product.
4. Over/Under Exposure – Similar to the first tip, misusing over or under exposure can cause your image to lose important details like the contours, edges and color strength. Under expose one or two stops when shooting on white and over expose one or two stops when shooting on black to retain the integrity of your product against the background. You can always go back and doctor an image before it goes live, which leads me to my last tip.
5. Image editing software –Photoshop. Learn it. If you’re good at it, you can transform a terrible image into a decent product shot. Just don’t forget that the more you shop your image, the more quality you’ll lose. So if you’re shooting the photos yourself, save yourself the post production time and work and shoot your photos better.