Quick steps to properly photographing your products

Photographing your products properly is an important part of having a professional online store.

Photographing your products properly is an important part of having a professional online store. Studies show that proper product images can improve your sales, and increase traffic on your site. Whenever possible, having multiple views of your product can also help a visitor in making a buying decision. Here are some quick tips for taking product photos to use on your site.

  1. Set-up a proper backdrop: Get a large piece of thick white cardboard or Perspex. Curved backgrounds work the best. You can experiment with colours as well depending on your products.
  2. Set up a photo shoot location next to even, morning overcast natural light or use the same type of light globe using multiple lights with no mixed lighting. eg. 11 watt compact fluorescent white light. If using natural light, make sure you reflect the light using foam, mirrors or white cardboard to fill in dark areas on your product. If using lights, experiment with different lighting positions. The trick is to get even soft light with no harsh shadows. Using a three point lighting system with a key light, fill light and rim light provides even lighting and is a common lighting set-up in photography.
  3. Set a tripod about 3 metres away from product – if it is a small item. If shooting a larger item, move further out.
  4. Place the camera on tripod and set the height of the tripod so that the camera is level with the middle of the product.
  5. Set your digital camera to ‘aperture priority’ mode and adjust the aperture setting to ‘F22’. If possible set the ‘ISO’ to 100 or 200. This will help eliminate the “grainy look” in your photos.
  6. If using a point and shoot camera, do not use the ‘digital zoom’, leave it off as this will cause poor image quality.
  7. Set your zoom level between 50mm to 75mm and move the tripod to fill the frame with your product (leave some clear space around it). What this does, is get rid of most lens distortion eg. If you use 18mm zoom, the product will appear very distorted.
  8. Focus.
  9. Your camera is now set to take a long exposure from the settings above, now you will need to set a timer on your camera.
  10. Press the timer and the camera will normally wait 10 seconds and then do a 30 second exposure. What this does, is make the entire product sharp and in focus. You may have to experiment with the exposure times depending on your lighting.
  11. Now look at your camera manual and see if you can bring up a ‘histogram’. A histogram tells you if your shots have turned out in terms of exposure. Your camera manual will explain how to use the histogram.
  12. Open the photos in your photo editor and make any changes. You may need to adjust the ‘white balance’ and also due to long exposure times. The photo may show some dust or marks on your lens, so you will need to edit those out manually using a pixel brush of some sort.
  13. Experiment with different backdrop scenery if desired, and depending on how you want to present your products. Try rotating the product and shooting other sides, experiment and have fun with it!