You’ve worked hard creating the perfect products for your customers and you’re ready to show them off. But before you whip out your smartphone and start snapping pictures, let’s take a step back and figure out why these photos are so important.
What is product photography, anyway?
Product photography is showcasing images of your products to present to your customers. When people go online to search for a product, they’re looking for something to, well, look at. They want to see the options that are available out there before making their purchase decision.
Why is product photography so important for my business?
Have you ever read just an item description and bought it there on the spot without seeing a photo? Probably not.
Showing photos of your products makes your customers so much more comfortable with purchasing. They can see the size, color, shape, proportions, texture, angles, etc before handing you their money. For most people, this is a must in order for them to purchase.
But it’s not just about having product photos – it’s about having good product photos.
Have you ever scrolled through the used items on eBay? Or how about those Photoshopped ads on Wish.com? We’ve all seen those icky tummy trainer photos.
You want to have product photos that make people actually want to click on it and see more.
What makes a good product photo?
Great product photos need good composure, lighting, clarity and be true to color. It will showcase the product in a clear manner and be free of distractions.
Take a look at these two photos:
Which of these two photos would make you want to purchase the coffee mug? The photo on the left is too dark, has a weird angle, it’s on my dirty kitchen table with a distracting box right behind the product. It’s not an effective product photo.
The photo on the right, on the other hand, showcases the product in action. It’s a steaming hot cup of coffee sitting outdoors with the sunrise in the background – the perfect setting for this rustic mug.
You can almost picture sitting outside in the chilly morning air sipping coffee and watching the sun come up. It invokes emotion and creates a connection. This is an example of an effective product photo.
Here’s the bottom line – if your shots look like the left and your competition’s shots look like the right, who do you think will get more sales?
It’s time to step up our game.
How to take great product photos
That great coffee mug picture above? Oh, that was taken with my iPhone. No fancy camera equipment there – and you don’t need it.
While a decent camera helps, you can most likely use your smartphone to take great photos of your products. All you’ll need is a great eye and a basic understanding of composition and lighting.
First off, be intentional. Know how you want to present your product before you start shooting. Your product is designed for a specific person in mind, so consider that when you’re planning.
Ask yourself: would it be most effective showing a mom using it? Is it a cute t-shirt that would look great on a flat lay with some cute shoes?
Think about the best way your photo would connect with your audience.
Second: set up your shot. Use an area with good lighting that’s easy to move around in. Try to make sure your background is neutral or lightly textured, but not overly distracting. Take a few test shots with your phone or camera and see how they look. If you’re not familiar with how to compose your shots, take a look at this helpful article.
Third: take lots of pictures. Plan to take several different shots with varying poses, staging and props. Take as many as you can! The more photos you take the more likely you are to find that one that clicks.
Don't have the time to learn photography?
Learning how to take great pictures takes a lot of time and patience. You’ll need to have a basic understanding of composition and lighting, and it’s always a good idea to edit them afterwards so they look their best.
And let me tell you, learning how to edit is a wild beast of it’s own.
If you’d rather stay in your own zone of expertise (which is always ideal, IMO) then it may be best to hire a photographer. They already know what they’re doing and would most likely be able to showcase your product in a way you’d never thought of before.