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5 Tips for Better Product Photography

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

A picture tells a thousand words, and this is especially true with product photography. In today’s image filled digital world, bad photos stand out like a sore thumb. And while not everyone is a world class photographer, many of us have excellent cameras on us all the time - our smart phones, so there’s really no excuse to be posting crummy photos.

When you’re selling a product, especially online where the customer can’t see it with their own eyes, a great picture can make all the difference.

I thought I’d share 5 basic tips for better product photography.

1. Turn off your flash.

Unless you have proper photography lights, natural light is best. Position yourself near a window, or better yet – get outside! Nothing beats natural light for nice looking photos. And contrary to what you might think, a cloudy day offers far better light that’s more even and gives fewer harsh shadows.

2. Consider your background.

Make sure your background doesn’t compete with your subject. Don’t let a garbage can photobomb your product. Look at what’s behind your subject and make sure it’s simple and attractive. This doesn’t mean setting up some tacky 1980s Sears backdrop, but you want the subject to stand out.

3. Try a variety of shots.

Some examples:

- A lifestyle shot – Put the product in context. If it’s a pair of shoes, show them being worn. A bar of soap? Show it sitting next to a lovely sink with a clean hand towel. Putting the product in context helps your customer visualize using the product themselves.

- The ‘studio’ shot – Try using a plain white background. Shoot the product against a white wall or on a white table. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try making your own lightbox (there are countless tutorials on YouTube if you’re looking for tips on how to do this.)

- A scale shot – Show the product next to something that helps give an idea of its size. This might mean having someone hold the product in their hand or showing it next to other items for comparison.

- A detail shot Get up close and personal with the product to show off specific details, textures and features.

- A group shot – if it’s relevant, a shot showing a group of products together can be visually appealing.

4. Don’t just click and shoot.

Consider your composition. Move around your subject. Does it look better photographed at table level, from above or from the side? By taking a moment to think about these things you can create an image that is more polished and interesting for your viewer.

5. Don’t be afraid to edit.

There are plenty of user-friendly programs out there that allow you to tweak photos. Adobe has a free version of Lightroom you can download on your phone which allows for significant tweaking, and even if you’re an editing rookie, it’s easy to use.

If you'd like a more tips on how to improve your photography, we have a great one-page guide on taking photos for your brand on our Business Resource Library page.

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