To put it bluntly, photos sell products, and good photos sell products better.
Customers love it when they can see what they’re buying. If a photo is too blurry, dark, bright, or non-existent, they’re not going to be interested.
Good photos show you respect and value the subject, whether it’s a person or product.
With that in mind, let's first define “good photography” because people often figure that “good” relates only to how a photo is styled. The reality is, “good enough” is often subjective, but “good” isn’t.
Good enough might mean that the photo exists, or even better, that it’s available on the company website or social media. The problem is that most photos aren’t actually good enough to entice the customer to buy. So how do you take (or make) real, good photos?
1. Start with a style, and stick to it. It doesn't matter if you want clean and bright, or more lifestyle images; what’s important is that each image in a collection compliments the collection as a whole. For example: Amazon sticks to the primary image as just the product on a white background (this is usually a requirement), with the secondary images being details or instructions. This helps to keep an extremely cohesive look, ensuring buyer's trust the seller.
This point is extremely important so I'll give you another example. This website doesn't have super posed photos, but they do keep the imagery very consistent allowing consumers to choose between the products based on the product's attributes rather than the photo quality.
2. Get different, but simple angles. Have your model turn in different directions but make sure that the product isn't unnaturally elongated or skewed. Ideally, if you're using a model to show off a product, also include photos of the product on a simple background (off the model).
For example: Joyce Needham Jewellery uses a few different angles of the product alone and then adds in an "in-action" shot with models. This helps customers to understand the sizing and application of her handmade jewellery.
3. Consider how your customer uses the product. Is it an especially formal piece? Is it a bag that will be filled to the brim? Try to make your photos as realistic as possible while complimenting the product by showing it in use. For example, a backpack will rarely be empty, show how it sits with items in it. If this doesn't look good, reconsider how your product is going to be used.
We'll use Joyce Needham Jewellery again here. Although we took very "tribal" photos, in the end they chose to go with a mix of photos showing the everyday wearability of the jewellery.
4. Invest in editing software. Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom may be out of your budget, but there are plenty of free editing programs to get you by. The issue with free, is there is often a heavy learning curve and few resources. If you can justify spending about $60 a month, go with Adobe CC (consider the increase in sales with good photos). You can easily edit hundreds of photos in minutes, saving you time and getting your products listed quicker! However, if you're technically challenged, hire someone to do the photos for you. This lets you get back to creating great products and making your customers extra happy.
A typical example might be softening seams on a photo box, but really, a bit of skill and the right software can let you completely change the feel of a photo. Check out this two minute edit I did with Lightroom Classic, keeping in mind I know this location very well so the original (left) was pretty close to what I wanted the result to be.
5. Have fun with it! Product photography is not easy, it's sometimes frustrating, but if you have fun while doing it you're more likely to keep up with it! If you're working with a model this is almost guaranteed to be entertaining. If you're just working with products though, play your favourite music and take breaks to find inspiration!
Whats the biggest challenge you face when taking product photos?
About the Author
Emily Gust | B.B.A.
I'm the brains behind Bluetines, a dream of mine since I was 11 years old. I'm passionate about efficiency, effectiveness, but most of all loving what you do!