Selling products online is tough, and with so many people trying to earn money this way you have to make your products stand out from the crowd to maximise your earnings. If you want to be ahead of the game selling products online taking product photos for website use is something you are going to have to master, and the following tips and tricks should help you out:-
1. Taking product photos for website – Use a macro lens
The best lens for product photography is a macro lens, and if you want to capture the best photo of your products possible (hence increasing the chances of selling them) you need to use a macro lens. With a macro lens you can not only get in nice and close for a frame filling shot but also record fine detail and show your product at its best. There really is no better lens for product photography, and if you sell products online and don’t use a macro lens I have to ask the question “Why not?”
The macro lens I use for taking product photos for website use is the Canon 60mm f2.8, and I have to say it is excellent. This macro lens is small, light and comfortable to use. The image quality is excellent and images are sharp, bright and punchy, but not over saturated. This macro lens is not as popular among product photographers as the Canon 100mm f2.8L IS macro lens which surprises me somewhat. The image quality is similar but the Canon 60mm f2.8 is a fraction of the cost, which makes it excellent value for money. If you don’t need the extra reach of a 100mm macro lens the Canon 60mm f2.8 macro lens is perfect, and top value for money too.
2. Taking product photos for website – Use a tripod
I use a tripod for all my product photography. Rather than taking hand held product shots I prefer to put the camera on a tripod, turn on live view to compose the shot, sort out the exposure, manually focus and then take the shot. Using a tripod ensures a clean, sharp and well composed shot.
The tripod I use for product photography is the Manfrotto Befree tripod. This is a lightweight, small and portable tripod designed for travel (and the reason I bought this tripod was for travel photography) but I find it perfect for product photography use. The Manfrotto Befree tripod is more than man enough to keep my Canon 6d and 60mm macro lens nice and still, and is light enough to make moving around (to compose the shot) nice and easy.
3. Taking product photos for website – Pay attention to the background
When taking product photos for website use it is to remember that potential customers are only interested in the product and nothing else, therefore you have to make sure the product for sale “jumps” out of the screen. In my experience the best way to achieve this is to use a plain background that is non-distracting.
Whilst you can use almost anything to provide a plain background, such as fabric (sheets, curtains, shirts etc.), wood, paper or cardboard etc. I find the best option is a specific photography background. Photography backgrounds are seamless, creaseless and blemish free. They are also affordable too.
4. Taking product photos for website – Lighting is key
When taking product photos for website use you need to forget about creative or mood lighting. Intentionally highlighting some areas and throwing other areas in to shade isn’t going to make the product more attractive to potential buyers. In fact, this type of lighting is more likely to put potential customers off and force them to go elsewhere to make their purchase.
Rather than using creative lighting you are better off making sure the entire product is evenly lit so the potential customer can see the product in its entirety. Don’t worry if this even (or flat) lighting casts a shadow on the background or table don’t worry about it and don’t stress over trying to eliminate them. As long as the product is evenly lit that’s all that matters and all your potential customers are going to worry about.
My lighting for product photography comprises of three continuous light lamps with daylight balanced bulbs. The daylight balanced bulbs are not only bright but also make white balancing quick and easy. Since the lamps are always on (unless I turn them off of course) I can move the light around the product and ensure it is evenly lit all over before pressing the shutter button.
Using speed lights and strobes for product photography is a real faff and I wouldn’t recommend using them at all. Continuous lamps and daylight balanced bulbs are the way forward since they are easier to use and also a lot cheaper to boot.
5. Taking product photos for website – Keep it real
It is important your product photos are a true representation of the actual products for sale, and that you don’t mislead any potential customers. There’s nothing worse than buying something and when it gets delivered the actual product is nothing like the photo, and if you do this to your customers they will get majorly annoyed and give you negative feedback, which is going to affect your future sales – which is not good.
When taking product photos for website use it is important to keep the editing to a minimum. At most I will lift shadows, increase contrast, add a little clarity and sharpen my product photos. Even when I do these adjustments I use a light touch and tweak the photo as opposed to edit it. This type of editing doesn’t require expensive software and a cheap photo editing software package will be more than enough to do what you need it to. The software package I use for my product photography is Photo Shop Elements, which is a cut down (and affordable) version of Photo Shop.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.