Step one – Setting up a backdrop
Setting up a white backdrop can be done very cheaply and easily with just a roll of white paper and some weights. This will give you a consistent look and feel to all of your product photography as well as helping you manage lighting and shadows. You can read more about the benefits of setting up a white backdrop here.
Step two – Getting your lighting arranged right
Lighting is an important part of your product photography to avoid glare, bright spots and shadows. Using multiple light sources and positioning them correctly and in-directly so light is reflected onto your product will help you get an evenly lit product. The intention is to have all the details of the product equally visible and well lit. We’ve written an extended guide to lighting for people who would like to understand these concepts in more detail.
Step three – Know your Camera Settings
Modern cameras and smartphones can take excellent pictures on the auto setting. But knowing a bit more about White Balance and how to use your camera’s macro settings can help you when photographing particularly tricky products such as really lightly coloured items or very small items. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about how your camera settings work we’ve done a brief expainer of the most important settings you’ll need.
Step One – Positioning and using your flash correctly
We see lots of self shot images here at ClipItQuick.com and there are several mistakes we see over and over. The most common is when photographs have glare that obscures part of the product and looks unprofessional. Nine times out of ten glare can be avoided by positioning yourself further away from the product to diffuse the flash. Or you can turn the flash off which will require you to work extra hard at arranging your lighting and thinking about focusing. If you’re about to start shooting product photography you might want to read our guide to avoiding common photography pitfalls.
Step Two – Understanding angles
Including lots of different and helpful images on your product listings is a very cost effective way to boost sales. A study carried out by eBay found that a listing with 12 images is 37% more likely to sell than a product listing with just one picture. If you’d like to know why this is the case we’ve written a blog with 5 reasons why more pictures mean more sales.
Step Three – Take multiple pictures
This might be a bit obvious but once you’ve gone through all the effort of setting up your background and arranging your lighting you want to make sure you get great usable photographs. The best way to do this is simple, shoot lots of pictures of each product. This means that if one picture is out of focus or poorly framed you’ve always got alternatives to work with. Even photos that look great on your camera’s LCD display might actually be out of focus when you get them on a large computer screen.
If you’d like to know more about how shooting multiple pictures will save you time in the long run our extended guide goes into more detail.
Editing and post-production
Step One – Image Clipping
Clipping is a post-production technique that can be applied to your product photography to make them look much more professional and appealing to your customers. When an image is clipped the background is removed and replaced with a solid colour – usually white. This highlights the product by removing distracting backgrounds and gives all your products a consistent and professional feel. Some online marketplace, such as Amazon, insist on clipped product imagery because they look so much better.
Step Two – Know your image file types
When you’re dealing with product photography on a computer there are several different file types that you’ll come across. Each one has it’s own strengths and drawbacks meaning that they are usually employed for different purposes – although there is a lot of overlap. For example a JPEG would be fine for a magazine or a website, but a TIFF might be better suited to a billboard.
Knowing what file types you’re dealing with and how they relate to each other can be very helpful when uploading images to your website or an online marketplace such as eBay and Amazon. Being a bit more knowledgeable about image file types can also help you not be overwhelmed when talking to designers or web developers – handy when trying to negotiate.
The most common file types you’ll encounter online are JPEGs (.jpg or .jpeg) GIFs (.gif) and PNGs (.png). We’ve also prepared a full guide to all the file types you’re likely to come into contact with so you can be prepared for any eventuality.
Step Three – Image editing software
Once you’ve edited your images there are several ways you can improve them in post-production using image editing software on your computer. Common edits include editing the levels and colour balance to ensure the colours and lighting in your picture reflects the product in reality. This means that customers won’t be disappointed because the product that they receive is different to as advertised online. Colour balance is especially important for fashion or interior design products as colours are so important.
However, Adobe Photoshop is very expensive and has a lot of unnessecary features for a casual user. As such we’ve made a list of the top free image editing software available on the market right now.