My best tips for professional product photography

Did you know that if you want to sell something, the number of sales depends on your photographs? If you use professional photos, you will get more sales and higher engagement. If you don’t take the time to take beautiful photos, you also shouldn’t expect a lot of sales.

If you are creating products, you need to pay as much attention to the photographs of the products. Product photography is just so important. It has so much influence on your sales as I already said, so why not take the time to read this blog post, so you can dramatically improve your product photography skills.

In this blog post, I will share my best product photography tips so far I learned as a photographer.

Small note: This post is about investing in progress, and not in quality. All these tips work for all kind of cameras. Phone camera, DSLR, Polaroid camera, etc. You can also take excellent pictures with your phone, so you don’t need an expensive camera!

Pssst. Do you want to learn how to capture professional (product) photos with your iPhone camera? Sign up for my free 7-day email course: You Can Capture.

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Use natural lighting

Okay, if you follow this tip, you are already halfway there to your journey to shoot professional product photos. Seriously. If you take pictures, make sure your lighting is natural. Sunlight works the best for professional product photography. Not only your colors will ‘’pop’’ more, but your picture is also sharper.

The lovely Paula from Thirteen Thoughts mentioned in this post that the perfect lightning is about 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour after sunset! You definitely should check out her blog! That was the first blog I ever read, and she inspired me to create my blog!

If you use unnatural light sources like a lightbulb, (read: every light source that isn’t white light) your photos will become blurry, your colors don’t look the same, and there is also a big chance that there will appear a lot of noise/grain in your picture. And yeah. That is not professional if you are photographing products that you are planning to sell. So remember: Use natural lighting.

It is also possible that you only have a limited amount of light in your apartment, or chances are also that isn’t always gloomy/dark at the moment you want to shoot photos. But don’t worry, I got you covered. There are still some tips that will help you to take the most out of your small natural lightning:

Use a reflector: Say hello to my favorite little tool: A reflector. These things are golden! And they spice up your product photography so much! For example, you are shooting photos on a gloomy day, and there are a lot of dark shadows in your picture. Use a reflector to reflect the light from the source, to reduce the shadows! You can buy reflectors on Amazon. For example, this 5 in 1 reflector works fantastic!

Got no reflector? Don’t worry; you can also use a white piece of cardboard. It doesn’t show the same results, but it will also work well!

Use another natural source of light: You can also add another source of light. For example, you could use soft boxes, ring lights, or a light box. These things are ideal if you don’t have bright areas in your apartment. Those things I mentioned, have white light. So your photos will come out pretty with those light sources. Here are the best light sources:

Use a clear background

Probably a lot of us have experimented his moment: We wanted to publish our products so badly that we just snapped some quick photos on a dirty table, messy room, a garage with a lot of junk. Then we uploaded our product, and guess what: No sales. Guess three times how that happened:

Yes, because of the junk in the background. Listen well to what I say: If you snap some photos of your products, and you have a lot of junk, mess, etc. in your background, people automatically think that your product is also junk.

So, if you are going to photograph your products, make sure to use a clean background. For example, you could use a white IKEA table. They are easy to clean, and they work well as a background!

Another option is to use a white piece of cardboard or a backdrop with another color/print. I use white cardboard a lot of times. And I also printed some high-resolution images on a piece of cardboard so that I can use it as a backdrop. Here is an example:

Want more backdrop inspiration? Chaitra from itspinkpot.com has an excellent post over here about cheap backdrops that still work perfectly.

Focus on your subject

A lot of people don’t know how to focus, and when they take a picture, there are some chances that their subject is out of focus. If you are shooting product with your phone, I got a small tutorial about focusing on your phone in this blog post:

10 awesome tips for phone photography

And for the people who use a DSLR: You can enable autofocus. The only thing you need to do is to aim at your subject, and then press a little bit on the capture button to focus on your subject. Once your product is focused, press the button a little harder, so it captures the picture.

Also, make sure to understand your aperture. The aperture is the opening of your lens. It goes from wide open to almost entirely closed. Most of the cameras start with f/1.8. If you have an aperture of f/1.8, your subject will become sharp, and your background will be blurry. Ideal if you only want to draw attention to your subject.

If you have an aperture of f/8.4, not only your subject will be sharp, but also the background will become more intelligent.

So make sure to experiment with your aperture, if you would like to change the sharpness of your background.

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Add some accessories/props in your photo

So, if you would like to style your photo a little bit, make sure to add some accessories to your background. For example, I wrote this quote because it was autumn. And around that quote, I added some leaves.

So if you want to spice up your photos, adding some props is an excellent idea to do that. But, if you are planning to do that, make sure the accessories will match your subject. Also, make sure the attention is still on your product, and not on your props. So you should keep in mind that the accessories shouldn’t draw away all the attention of your product.

Editing your photos isn’t cheating

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A lot of people don’t edit their photos because they think it’s cheating. Well guess what: it’s not. The only way it’s cheating is when companies modify their models and make them thinner than they are already being. Just for the record: I am against that!

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But adding some lightning, making your photos sharper, and making your colors pop isn’t cheating. It helps you with improving your photos if your camera can’t. Here are the things I always do:

Increase the exposure: Take a look at this picture above. It is bright, isn’t it? I admit, I increased the exposure, because if you have a DSLR, and you try to capture white subjects, your camera automatically turns them into gray subjects. I have no idea why my photography teacher once explained that to me. So if you want to get bright photos like this, you should increase the exposure.

Add some clarity: Another thing I do is I add some clarity. Adding clarity is the same as adding structure. I prefer clarity over sharpness. Because if you add clarity, you make the structure pop, and if you add sharpness, your picture will get more pixels, and it will quickly look grainy. Wow, that was a long sentence, lol. But I hope you get the point. You should use clarity over sharpness.

Remove shadows: If I ever meet the person that invited an option to reduce those ugly shadows, I will thank them on my bare knees. Yes for real! If you are going to edit your photos in Instagram, Photoshop or another software, there might be an option to remove shadows. So make sure to take advantage of this option, so your photos will turn out brighter.

 

So that are the three top things I do when I edit my photos. I use Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos. Believe me; the price is worth it!

I understand that you first want to check out the possibilities before you get a license. So I have some excellent posts here about Adobe Photoshop that will help you make your decision:

Please pin this blog post if it was helpful! I would appreciate that. Do you have some more product photography tips? Let me know in the comments; I would love to hear them.

Lots of love,

Chelsea

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Chelsea van Egmond is a creative girl boss who is specialized in shooting professional photos (With both an iPhone and DSLR), hand-lettering and Bullet Journaling. She also runs a blog called Join the Creative Side where she teaches bloggers and entrepreneurs how they can improve their photography and graphic design skills even if they don’t have any experience or a big budget. Her #1 mission: To help you build your visual story/brand.

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