Everybody has heard the importance of great photos before, that’s because they can make or break one’s shop. But on their way to improving their shops people very often come across enough “do this” and “never do that” tips to become quite lost and confused.
If you are not very experienced with product photography, this post will give you 10 easy to follow steps (and a lot of resources) that will help you with bringing your photos’ quality to a whole new level. And if you consider your photography good it still might be worth reading as there always are new things to learn.
Before going further please note that this is not a tutorial on a particular photography technique. It is a guide that will help you in finding your own creative way of photographing your products.
Step1: Look around.
Take a look at some successful shops (or the ones that you like), and not only those selling products similar to yours. See how people photograph different sorts of products: pay attention to the composition of the photos and to their quality; notice the way of lighting the products; check the backgrounds and the props. Check the old listings in the shop (you have big chances of finding them among the sold items) and see what has changed in the shop’s photography along the way. Try to figure out why certain tricks work for certain products while some others don’t. This exercise will help you in judging your own photos, it will also show you that there are many different ways of photographing similar products.
Having done the exercise above take a look at the photos in your shop (or on your disc) and evaluate them in the same way. Note down the things you like about your photos and the ones you don’t like at all. Also take notes on technical mishaps, like bad lighting, blurriness, any imperfections you see and would like to get rid of. Doing this be critical and also be honest with yourself. If something is bad call it bad, otherwise you won’t be able to improve it. And if something is good, don’t forget to note it down as well.
So, by now you should have a list with all the strong points of your photography vs the weak ones and you should be able to see what areas will require more of your attention than the others. Keep your list and all the notes for the future – they will be of great help at the time of evaluating your progress.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY
- General quality of the photos (sharpness, colors, contrast).
- Composition: how are the products positioned? are they fully visible or cropped? if cropped, does the cropping look accidental or intended?
- How is the product lit: are there any shadows on the photo? if yes, are they very obvious or not? are the shadows distracting? can you see reflections on the products? if yes, do they seem to be accidental or intended? are the reflections distracting? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
- Are the products popping out on the photos or are they blending in with the background?
- Background: is it neutral or rather strong? patterned or not?
- Props: are there many of them used? how are they used? do they make the photo prettier? are they complementing the product in any way? are they drawing your attention away from the product? are they giving you the sense of scale of the product? are they necessary (in your opinion)?
- Models: aren’t they distracting? how are they presenting products? how are how are they posed? how are they styled? how are the photos cropped?
Keep in mind: Product photography is a TOOL, it is not the PRODUCT. You cannot look at it in the same way as you look at art photography. It is not only about aesthetics. It is about presenting the product in the best possible way.