What’s the most important thing that your customers will notice when they visit your shop? If you think about it, purchasing a product is an extremely visual activity, and a good image can be the definitive edge that affects the final decisions of the customers.
Visuals are increasingly important nowadays; the quality of your web banner, logo, theme, and especially product images, all matter. All of these attributes affect customers’ impression of your brand and products. If you have no idea how to take good photos of your products, this article will teach you how to simply use your smartphone to take your business onto the next level.
1. Optimizing Your Smartphone’s Camera Settings
Before shooting, make sure you set your camera’s settings all ready to take the best quality images.
Please keep these things in mind:
- Raise the camera’s resolution to its highest; make sure the images are sharp and clear.
- Turn on Anti-shock to avoid taking blurry photos.
- Turn on Autofocus to eliminate the need of making manual adjustments.
- If you’re using iPhone, make sure to turn on HDR (High Dynamic Range) to get the best picture results.
- Turn on “grid” on your smartphone for composition guidelines.
2. Beautify the Shooting Scene and Surroundings
Aside from the camera settings of your smartphone, decoration of the scene of where your product is going to be pictured is important as well.
Here are a few tips:
- Background: White or Gray background colors are great to make your products stand out visually. An economical option is to get poster-boards from your local art store. Additionally, you can also DIY the background with textured paper (e.g. handmade cotton paper) to add more style and personality.
- Lighting: Natural window light is your best friend for product photoshoots: it’s simple and straightforward and does not require external lighting equipment. Plus, the image result from window light is more dynamic than what a light tent would produce. However, If you happen to have a lamp and lighting board, you can also use them for external lighting.
- Decorations: If your product looks dull alone, then it might be a good idea to throw in some decorations into the product image, but keep in mind not to add too much fluff!
Note: There are limitations with DIY settings—photographing unusual (e.g. reflective, transparent) products requires a multi-light studio for the best results.
3. Composition and Angle Matters
Composition, a critical quality that determines the visual appeal of a photograph.
“The Rule of Thirds” is a reliable method to create a good composition in photography. To do so, make sure you have “grid” switched on. To apply the rule, break your photograph into thirds, both vertical or horizontal, and place your subject in one of the two-third areas — which will be the area that grabs the most attention when people first see the photo. Just like reading, people tend to start viewing from the left to the right, you should place the subject or brand logo accordingly to emphasize your focus. Take these images as examples:
In brick-and-mortar stores, customers can walk around products, pick them up, and turn them around in their hands. However, on the web, they are limited to the few images you present. High-quality product photos from multiple angles fill in the gaps by giving your customers the details that will further persuade them to purchase.
Here are some techniques we recommend:
- Use portrait mode to bring a pop to the main subject from its background.
- Use high contrast colors to bring out the main subject in the photo.
4. Editing Your Product Image
A good looking image consists of many different qualities, many of which are subjective. I want to briefly discuss some standard variables so you can understand the controls that determine your image’s ambiance. There are lots of free image editing tools online, with tons of filters and features that can practically cover all your needs. We highly recommend VSCO, as it allows you to change exposure, contrast, white balance and more while maintaining your image’s resolution. If you’re using filters on your product image, make sure to tone down the effect to 30-60% to prevent the image from looking overly-edited.
- Contrast/Brightness is a key element to convey certain moods through your images. High contrast/Brightness images pop out; textures in the subject and give a feeling of edginess, energy, and strength.
- Sharpness refers to an image’s overall clarity in terms of both focus and contrast. When the subject of an image is sharp the image appears clear and lifelike, with detail.
- Saturation describes the intensity of color in the image. A saturated image has overly bright colors.
- White Balance is the process of removing color casts, in order to match the picture with what we see when we look at it.