Regarding e-commerce, there’s no doubt about how great your products are; nevertheless, until a customer has your product in their hands, all they have is the imagery on your website.
This is why the greatest e-commerce sites have high-quality photographs of their products. These images demonstrate the excellence and value of your goods, demonstrating transparency in your e-commerce business.
Let’s go through everything about photography for e-commerce in this article, so you can start shooting fantastic images.
Product Photography Set-up
Set up the remainder of your shot once your product is clean and beautiful. Shoot on a solid background, such as white or black fabric or paper, to produce high-quality images. To reduce distractions, the product must stand out in these photographs, keeping the background simple and clear.
A softbox is a good option for product photography lighting, and these light modifiers provide gentle, diffused illumination that eliminates deep shadows. Your product-only photo lighting should be simple and everything well illuminated, to let your customer be able to read the labels and take in all of the information.
Light tents and artificial illumination are also beneficial. Lightweight tents are made of wireframe cubes with fragile white fabric covers, providing a relaxing, diffuse environment to illuminate tiny things evenly.
Because natural light is shifty and difficult to duplicate, photo studio lighting is typically preferable for good product photography. After all, you’ll need to take more photographs if new product versions are released.
8 simple steps to Beautiful Photography for E-commerce
Let’s go through the eight stages you’ll need for ecommerce product photos.
Set up your table
After you’ve gathered your gear, it’s time to get everything set up. As near as possible to the window without overlapping the shadow on the windowsill, put down your table.
Start the first step with window 90 degrees to the right or left of your setup. The softer the light, the closer you are to the window and the larger the window.
Also, turn off all other lights in the space you’re shooting in because additional light will pollute the set.
You might try changing the set’s orientation so that the window faces 45 degrees, or you may test it with the window facing straight into the scene for a distinct sort of natural light.
Most home-based food photography is shot with a window behind the setup, providing a more dramatic effect. Another option is shooting in a garage and leave the door open, which will have the same light like a window but without the glass.
You don’t want the sun shining directly on your setup. Direct sunlight is harsh and appears to be unprofessional on most people and items.
Set your sweep
There are a lot of methods to achieve this, but the aim is for your mat board to sweep from being flat on your table to be vertical. Perhaps, you need to roll up the board to assist it in attaining that form.
Fasten the sweep to the wall and the table against it, placing them against a wall. If you don’t have a wall, you’ll need to come up with something to keep the back of the sweep from moving. Bricks or a wooden block might be effective alternatives.
Place your product in the middle of the sweep on the flat surface and leave enough space for your white reflector card to fit later.
Adjust your camera
Every camera is a little different, and some are entirely automatic, while others allow you to make adjustments. This Window Light system’s main benefit is that you can manually adjust all camera settings if necessary, and it will still function.
- Set the white balance (WB) to Auto.
- Set your flash setting to Off.
- Set the picture quality to its maximum. Most point-and-shoot cameras do not include a raw option, but if yours does, utilize it. Raw is the largest file, allowing a camera to capture and take advantage of the camera’s full bit depth. You’ll need to edit it in software that understands raw images, such as Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, or Aperture.
Choose the biggest JPG setting if you don’t have a primary setting.
Option A: Set up your camera to Manual (M) mode.
This is the optimum shooting mode for this activity since nothing will move or change while you capture pictures. In the manual, set your f-stop to the maximum value, giving you the broadest field depth possible.
Turn on live view, then view the photo on the back of the camera. Everything is likely rather dark, which is fine. Now, adjust your shutter speed and turn the dial to make it bright enough that the photo is exposed correctly.
Your shutter speed should be increasing. For example, your number may rise from 1/60th to ¼ . These are fractions of a second that the shutter will be open for; as the number lowers, it will allow more light in. Adjust this value until the preview of the photo is correct.
Option B: Use Aperture Priority (AV)
It’s possible that your camera doesn’t have this, but set the f-stop to the highest value if it does. This should adjust the shutter to be what the camera thinks is correct. This may be incorrect, and you may need to twist the exposure compensation knob to add light.
Option C: Auto Exposure
If you’re trapped in the all-car paradigm, there isn’t much you can do. Don’t worry; it’s not a big deal. If you have an exposure compensation dial, add +1 or +1½ to get the proper exposure.
If you’re stuck for ideas, consider something like Sunset. Tap the area you wish to display on your iPhone.
Use the histogram on the back of your camera. The slope should be closer to the right side, similar to the image above.
Optical and digital zoom are types of zooming available on cameras. The digital zoom is not suggested since it reduces the image quality—it’s essentially just cutting out the digital photo.
If you have an optical zoom, try zooming-in as close as possible without using the digital zoom. A longer zoom will compensate for distortion caused by a wide lens. Smartphones have a wide-angle lens, so many people find it difficult to shoot photos with them.
Set up your product
While doing photography for ecommerce, setting up your product may appear to be straightforward, but getting it positioned correctly might take time. If you’re shooting a bottle, ensure the label type is in the middle. There are frequently numerous tiny adjustments required to ensure everything lines up correctly.
Set up your reflector card
This simple white card is an essential light modifier in the studio. The light will be reflected off the card and fill in all the shadows. It’s a question of personal preference regarding how you place this card; so experiment with various angles to get a sense of it.
Take the picture and evaluate
After taking the shot, take some time to examine what you’ve accomplished more carefully. This is when experience and education come into play; finding out what’s working and things you can do to improve your photography for e-commerce is essential.
Experiment with various options to enhance your picture, and you’ll improve naturally over time.
Upload your pictures to your computer to see how they’ll appear. The back of your camera isn’t always very accurate. We propose using Adobe Lightroom to keep track of all of your images.
It can be applied to almost all of your editing, except for complex operations. You’ll no doubt have to adjust the photos to appear correct.
Retouch your pictures
Adobe Lightroom is a powerful, complex piece of software that requires significant training. We don’t have the time to go through the nuances of using it in depth.
As a rough guide, it should appear something like the un-retouched image above, and comparing it to the retouched version demonstrates how important this stage is.
For someone without a lot of experience, retouching procedures connected with on-white photography may be difficult, and they are often the weakest link for most individuals attempting to capture their own goods.
So, rather than attempting to complete complex Photoshop tasks yourself, outsource it. You’d be astonished at how inexpensive it is to employ a skilled retoucher. For around $0.5–$5 per image, you may have a professional retouching editor improve your photographs for you. You can refer to Innovature BPO’s post production services.
Optimize images for your website
All online vendors must undergo search engine optimization (SEO) because it is critical for their businesses. Your e-commerce website’s loading speed is crucial, and large images might be a drain on that.
Because there is a delicate balance between visual quality and optimization, over-optimizing the picture destroys it. You should keep pictures’ size below 200 KB with the screen resolution of 72dpi for web view, choose the right size for thumbnails but make sure all optimized images have the expected visual quality.
Top 7 Product Photography Tips to have pictures that sell
Here are the techniques, cases, and materials you’ll need to properly photograph and promote your items in a way that encourages visitors and leads to conversions.
Using your Smartphone’s Camera
Now comes the tricky part: Convince you to spend money on a high-end, 50-megapixel (MP) camera with a 100-millimeter screw-on lens. However, we’re not going to do that for you.
Take advantage of your existing camera if it fits this description. However, many types of items may be photographed on a smartphone. Even photography for e-commerce
Improved smartphones now have more powerful camera lenses and settings that will let you modify your photos for the many forms of light and situations you may encounter.
Using a Tripod
Don’t forget a basic rule: Don’t prop your phone against anything hard to aim your lens at the subject.
It’s really simple for this makeshift setup to move around during the shoot, resulting in picture quality variations. If you set your camera on a stack of books, for example, be sure that it doesn’t shift throughout the duration of the shoot.
When shooting simply a few product photos for your e-commerce website, there’s no need to hold the camera yourself. However, when your business grows, and you shoot more products, aligning the product’s orientation in each photo when handheld may be difficult.
You’ll need a tripod to maintain consistency in your items. And, thankfully, purchasing one isn’t always as costly as it used to be. Tripods come in two distinct forms: Traditional vs. Flexible.
Traditional tripods have been around for quite some time. This kind of tripod is available for cameras and smartphones.
A flexible tripod has a large number of potential uses. You may bend its legs and place it on various surfaces to achieve the desired angle.
Using Mobile Grip
The majority of tripods feature a screw at the top that connects to your camera to keep it in place. A screw hole is sometimes present on the bottom of professional-grade cameras for this reason, but smartphones can use the following adapter:
The adapter secures to your smartphone with suction cups and may be screwed into any type of tripod, allowing you to use the camera controls on the phone screen outward and toward you.
After you’ve figured out which mount you’ll need, put it in front of your product and think about putting three pieces of tape on the floor to mark where you want each tripod leg to land during the shoot.
Natural light vs. Artificial light
There are two kinds of light available to you as a primary light source: natural and artificial light.
The term “natural light” refers to sunlight, which is as easy as it sounds. Because the sun emits a greater, softer range of light than a lamp that shines directly on the product, it’s known as “soft light”. E-commerce product photos work well in natural light if:
- The product is shot outdoors or intended to be used outside.
- A person is photographed with the product (people look better in natural light).
Rather than concentrating on product features, you’re trying to draw attention to the product’s environment.
Here’s an example of using natural light:
Candles, fire, and, more commonly, light bulbs are used to create artificial light. It’s also known as “hard light” because it creates a smaller but more focused beam of light than incandescent bulbs. This sort of illumination is designed for products with physical features that must be highlighted in order to wow an online shopper.
Here’s an illustration of artificial light being utilized for filming:
As a general rule, stick to one kind of light per picture — natural or artificial. Adding natural light to an artificially illuminated photo can soften a product that needs to look sharp. Using artificial light on a naturally lit photo can sharpen a product that needs to be soft. You don’t want to self-destruct by making errors.
Filling or bouncing your light to soften shadows
You’ll need to decrease any potential hard light shadows on the opposite end of a product, no matter you use natural light or artificial light.
You can do this in 3 ways:
To complement your main light, add another, less-intense light source. The fill light is an additional illumination that serves to balance the natural shadow left by your main light behind an object.
To accomplish this, position your fill light perpendicular to your main light so that your product is in the middle.
Flashbulb Bounce Card
A bounce card (reflector card), is a tiny card that “reflects” or “bounces” the main light back onto the surface beneath your product. This card is used to reduce shadows.
Bounce cards, for example, adhere to the flashbulb of a camera lens in order to diffuse the light from the camera’s flash. This light source casts a softer beam of illumination upon your subject from above rather than directly towards it, so there are no long shadows trailing behind the object you’re photographing.
There are two screens available — white (left) and foil (right) — that can diffuse the flash.
Stand-alone Bounce Card
If you’re taking photos using a smartphone, you can’t use a flashbulb bounce card because you don’t have a physical flash to attach it to. Instead, construct your own stand-alone bounce card that faces your main light source and is positioned opposite it.
This bounce card is ideal for product shots by beginners since it may effectively replace your fill light, which balances the harsh light from the camera flash or lamp that faces toward the front of your product.
Emphasizing the product
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to displaying your product, lights, and bounce cards — they’ll vary dramatically depending on the background.
However, don’t choose a background just because it’s the easiest to develop. When potential clients browse your site, you want them to think of your product in the way you intended.
Consider whether you want a white backdrop or a more exciting, real-world environment. Each one may be accomplished in an easy way.
White Background: Sweep
Setting up a table against white drywall is not easy for white backgrounds. Even smartphone cameras may pick up flaws on a white wall that you wouldn’t notice with the naked eye. To get a clean white background with no corners or blemishes, utilize a sweep.
A sweep is a flexible sheet of paper with a bottom that folds up and over your product and then curves back up into a white wall behind it.
The sweep’s curvature is unnoticeable on camera, emphasizing essential product information while allowing the item to capture the entire attention of a website visitor.
Real-World Background: Portrait Mode
When shooting items with a specific purpose or being modeled by a person, realistic-world backgrounds are highly appealing.
However, a real-world backdrop may steal the photo’s attention, making it difficult to determine which product you’re selling.
Add depth and emphasis to your product with portrait mode, a camera setting on most professional cameras, and the option to turn it on on many new smartphones. This choice blurs the surroundings so that the context of the item is clear but does not compete with it.
This is a picture of a man shot in portrait mode. You can tell the man is standing in the background, but he’s still the main attraction for viewers:
Shooting a variety of images
The last online shopping photo advice is to avoid restricting yourself to one shot for each product. Your website should take a variety of photographs to simulate this type of encounter, as your consumers look, hold, use, and even attempt goods in a shop.
Capture the garment of clothing alone — that is, spread out on a white surface — as well as on a mannequin whose color contrasts the product’s hue.
Then, to get more images, have the clothing modeled on a person so you may catch photographs from different angles of your product.
That’s all there is to it — a toolbelt of ideas and tools for improving your photography for e-commerce and starting to reap the benefits.
You don’t need to implement all of these modifications at once, needless to say. Product photos that are consistent and high-quality aren’t something that happens overnight, so you may have to experiment a bit before you get the effects you want.