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5 Product photography Tips to improve your images

The post 5 Tips for product photography to improve your images first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

Product photography: you have probably heard that it is difficult and highly specialized. But your friend who runs their own business asks if you want to take only a few product photos that they can use on their website or social media. Or maybe you have your own company that regularly needs new product photography. Of course you are happy to try it. It can also help you improve your photographic skills by offering you a number of new challenges. But how do you approach this highly specialized field of photography that you have very little experience with?

When many photographers think of "product photography", they think of a certain style that is often accompanied by complicated lighting, arrangement and retouching. Sometimes dozens of images mix in post-processing, using specialized lenses or lighting equipment, or photograph on perfect white backgrounds.

These photography styles have their place in the world of marketing and advertising. And you can even decide that it is the right look for the products you are photographing. But in recent years there has been a more natural sense of product photography sneaking into advertising through social media influences. This style is easier to handle because it requires less equipment and specialist knowledge – although it is still incredibly difficult to master!

The most important thing in product photography is to adjust the appearance of the images to the product and brand. A shot of an exclusive fountain pen aimed at CEO ' s will be photographed very differently than a vegan surfwax aimed at Californian surfers!

Whatever style you want to try out when you use product photography for the first time, there are a few simple things to keep in mind when you are shooting. If you keep these guidelines in mind, you should be able to create images that show a product to its advantage.

1. Place your camera on a tripod

Still life photography cannot say often enough how large the tripods are. First, they protect against camera shake. If you can place your camera (or telephone) on a tripod, your shutter speed can be as long as you want without compromising on camera shake. A beautiful, clear image is essential for product photography.

If people cannot see clearly what they are buying, they will probably continue and choose another supplier!

Blurry photos are never desirable for product photography. You must ensure that they are clear and clear.

If you cannot stretch to a tripod, be sure to use a relatively fast shutter speed to compensate for light movements that you might make while holding the camera. You may find that you have to compromise and raise your ISO to get a clear, clear picture.

The other advantage of tripods is that they keep your camera in one place while you work on your composition. If you are styling your images for social media (instead of creating flat e-commerce images), it can take several attempts to get it right.

By keeping the camera in one place, you can work on styling and composition.

A wide variety of stands is available, all with different functions and at different price ranges. If you can stretch, a tripod with an arm that bends 90 degrees is an excellent investment that makes the popular flatlay (top-down) shots for Instagram easier.

2. Use good lighting

Let's fail a myth – good lighting doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Yes, there are certain types of product photographers who spend hours or even days lighting a single product and getting it perfect. Of course many large format photographers prefer to work with studio lights in a closed studio. That way they can replicate the light time and time again when they repeat the same tasks for the same customer.

But you can illuminate a product with only natural window light, or even bring it outside and still achieve great results. You don't have to have expensive studio equipment or even a whole room dedicated to photography. Many people successfully photograph products on a table that has been drawn to a bright window. With the right backgrounds and props, it certainly doesn't have to look like it was shot in your living room!

Lighting can also help to make your object look three-dimensionally like a flat screen. Shadows and highlights help viewers to interpret and correctly understand the image.

It is about adapting the lighting style to the product and brand. For something that is sleek and high-tech, you may want a more artificial feel to your light. Whereas a more natural artisanal product would probably benefit from simply simple window light.

3. Shoot multiple angles

When people buy online, they cannot pick up and touch the product. That means you have to try to convey all the little details to a potential buyer. The best way to do this is to ensure that you capture different angles of each item. Also come close to show the details if relevant.

This is especially important if the item is handmade. Getting close can come from the care and attention that a professional puts into their work. The details are what often handcrafted products issue from their mass-produced counterparts. So make sure you show them!

By shooting multiple angles, you can also generate much more content for social media accounts. Many business owners are struggling to find enough content to regularly post on social media, so it can really help them.

4. Discover the platform specifications

It is important to take product photos with the final use of the image in mind. Different online platforms have different specifications for how pictures look best on their sites.

For example, if you are shooting for someone with an Etsy store, remember that portrait photos look best on the product page, but the search thumbnails are landscape. That means that a smart photographer takes photos that look good when cropping both portrait and landscape. It may mean that you have to leave extra space around products if you capture them and then cut them up afterwards.

Instagram can be a particularly difficult platform to photograph when people are looking for images that look good on social media. Images should ideally be posted in a 5: 4 ratio to take up as much space as possible and to be more eye-catching when scrolling through the feed.

In a user profile grid, however, they are automatically cropped to a square format of 1: 1. That means that you lose details on the top and bottom of the image in the thumbnails. In addition, the "stories" feature uses images with a 16: 9 ratio – much larger and thinner than the news feed! When I shoot specifically on Instagram, I tend to set my camera for shots with a ratio of 16: 9. Then I know that I can almost always crop other proportions from that basic image.

Also examine the pixel size that every online platform uses. If you produce images that are too small, they probably look pixellated or blurry when uploading.

5. Don't forget the packaging

More and more people shop online, so the packaging of a product contributes greatly to the first impression of a brand.

Craft companies and small companies often spend a lot of time on packaging and branding. It is therefore undoubtedly worth photographing both on the packaging and on the product.

In addition to demonstrating brand values, you can also show the buyer that it helps to get their purchase safely from them. This is especially important if it is a product that is fragile or if it is likely to be given as a gift. It helps inspire confidence in the brand!

And on platforms like Etsy that give you multiple slots to upload images of your product, having packaging photos can be an excellent way to redesign the product.

Always remember …

Keep your product photos properly exposed and in focus.

As long as you have these two things right, you are already on the right track. All you have to do is practice, practice, practice until you photograph products like a pro.

Do not forget to comment below and show us the pictures that you have taken using what you have learned!

5 Product photography Tips to improve your images

The post 5 Tips for product photography to improve your images first appeared at Digital Photography School. It is written by Charlie Moss.

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