If you are a small business selling products online you probably need to save every dollar you can. At the same time you want your ecommerce site to represent your brand at the highest possible level. That means your product photographs have to be clear and consistent with clean backgrounds. The editing team at Digital Photo Finish has recently helped a couple of small businesses who took their own product shots and called on us to optimize them for their stores. We thought you could benefit from these simple tips to better ecommerce photography.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Lighting – Your products need to be well lit to help bring out highlights and any product details. The background also needs to be clean, simple and consistent.
- Start by using at least two pieces of white foam core board (get it at Michaels or any arts & craft store). You will use one piece for the bottom where you place the product and one for the background. Make sure that you have enough to fill the frame of your viewfinder.
- Use at least two lights, one on each side with a standard 100 watt light bulb each. Simple work lamps from a hardware store are cheap and work great. Don’t use fluorescent lights (turns images greenish) or LED lights (not powerful enough).
Camera – Use the best camera you can get your hands on. Most digital point and shoot cameras will probably work just fine and yes…you can even use a smartphone in a pinch.
- Clean the lens carefully with an eyeglass cloth before you start.
- Get as close as you can while keeping the product in focus, but leave enough space to crop your photo into a square image. Square images are best because they translate better to thumbnails on product pages.
- Unless you know what you're doing, keep your settings on automatic and don't use a flash.
Action – Actually, we really mean NO action or movement. Your shots need to be a clear and sharp as possible so keeping your camera steady is hugely important.
- Use a tripod or brace your camera in some way possible using simple clamps or by placing it on a bag of rice to minimize any vibration.
- Keep your camera in the exact same place and angle for each shot to ensure consistency for multiple products.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness – Clean your products. Make sure there is no dust, fur or fingerprints on the surfaces to be photographed. Sounds simple, but often overlooked.
- Consistency – Like the camera, make sure you place the products in the exact same location for each shot. It helps to put a small “X” for the middle or marks that outline the corners so you can place the products at the same angle to the camera. This also simplifies the cropping process.
The Finished Product
Once you've taken your shots, now it is time for editing and optimization. This is where we come in. We can edit your images to make them consistent and clean and optimized for your shopping cart platform whether it is Shopify, Magento, or one of the others on the market.
One recent international client Fudepens, just launched their online market selling incredible exotic brush pens, origami paper and the amazing Uni-Kuru Toga auto-rotating pencil - all from Japan. Here is a before/after shot that shows the original image we received and the final edit, optimized for the web:
Another client, TheraBee Honey, needed the backgrounds removed as well as some simple Photoshop work to add labels to the products:
We'd love to help you out. Let us know if we can help!