How to Take Product Photos


Kevin Urrutia




July 10, 2024

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take product photos. Instead, try short-cuts and photo hacks to connect with your shoppers and increase sales. Great images also help with dynamic product ads for your Facebook marketing agency

Fundamentals of Product Photos

Product images are not only a testament to the quality of your product but also a window into your eCommerce store, creating these two significant effects:

  1. Trust;
  2. Transparency.

Your product images shape the first impressions of your visitors. It can influence snap-decision as to whether they want to keep shopping or find another store.

When taking product photos, there are three key elements to focus on:

  1. Engagement;
  2. Conversions;
  3. Extending customer lifecycle.

You don’t need a large budget to create polished, perfect images. With the right tools, you can make your online store pop without breaking the budget at your shop.

We focus on direct response and customer acquisition in e-commerce, lead gen, and mobile. When it comes to results and leads, we speak your language.

Quality Visuals Improve Buyer TouchPoints

More than 93% of consumers consider images a necessity for purchasing decisions.

Product images represent your physical product and provide a potential buyer the chance to evaluate the perceived value.

Let’s look at Studio Proper’s product photos.

They offer real-world images of people in their everyday environment using their products. Take a look at the photos below:

When you’re getting your product photoshoot ready, ask yourself how your products can connect with your customers.

Include Branding Elements in Your Product Photos

Branding should be the center of every decision you make at your business, such as:

Your product images serve as a forerunner for your business. They are the first to grab attention, entice browsing shoppers and drive overall sales.

Everything in your product images should have a consistent voice that captures your brand and resonates with your target buyers. This includes:  

  • Quality;
  • Subject matter;
  • Color theme;
  • Saturation.

Take a look at Pipcorn’s style.

They use bold colors in their packaging design, and the simplicity gives it a brand-focused look and feel.

There Are 2 Styles For E-commerce Product Photos

In the previous samples, you saw a quick look at the two styles for creating product photos. Let’s dig a little deeper.

1. Clean-cut product-only images with a white background. These are typically used for featured products and can showcase a variety of angles. Below is an example of Snow Peak’s product-only shots:

2. In-context or lifestyle product photos. These show your product being used in its intended environment or alongside complimentary scenery and effects. Here’s the identical product from Snow Peak using in-context images:

Which Product Photo Style to Use?

Product-only photos feature your products in the best light using multiple angles. They are usually shot on a white background to keep a consistent look throughout your product line.

When publishing a product to your store, you’ll want to have about a dozen images on your product pages. Most of these should be product-only shots with a few in-context shots to enhance the emotional connection to your products. One or two is just not enough.

Lifestyle product photos offer more creative freedom than those on a white screen. You can use minimal equipment to snap a few quality shots and immediately feature them in your store. Leveraging tools like an image extension tool can help expand image backgrounds seamlessly, providing various customizable resolutions.

Next, look at some equipment and photography techniques you can use.

Product Photography Equipment & Process

If you’re new to product photography, you might feel overwhelmed getting ready for your first shoot.

Here you’ll find some simple steps to take quality product photos without spending thousands of dollars on equipment or professional photographers.

Follow these DIY product photography tips:

Set up lighting, background, and product.

These are the three core elements needed to capture quality product photos:

  1. Lighting
  2. Background
  3. Your Product

Use a white backdrop so images can be effortlessly polished and retouched after the shoot. Here are a few ways to set up an improvised background:

Shooting Table

If you have a chair, you have a shooting table.

Look at the image below; with a few household supplies, you can set up a shooting table in just a few minutes.

Image Source

Grab a large roll of craft paper if you go to your local arts and crafts store. Afterward, use a pair of clamps or tape to hold the form.

Depending on the size of your products, you may need larger rolls of paper to achieve a white background for your photos.

Image Source

Light Boxes

If you’d instead use a box-shaped device with translucent walls, this design helps to distribute light evenly around your products.

Here’s how to make one:

  1. First, you need a plastic storage container with a removable lid placed on its side;
  2. Next, white tape paper to the bottom. You can also tape white paper or cloth to the sides, which will serve as diffusers (this helps distribute light much better and minimizes shadows);
  3. Then, use artificial lighting and place them on either side of the container. Alternatively, you can use natural light by placing your DIY lightbox next to a large window.

Photography Tip: If you intend to use artificial light, use at least two soft light setups to get the shadow balance right.

Recommend Camera Setup for Product Photos

Advancements in intelligent phone technology put powerful cameras in our pockets. However, if you’re looking to capture the best possible picture, here are some DSLR photography tips:

  1. Don’t use a wide angle lens𑁋this will distort your final image.
  2. Use the correct aperture. For example, a wide aperture (f2.8 to f4.5) will narrow your depth, creating parts of your product out of focus. A small aperture (f8 to f11) provides a broader depth, keeping your entire product sharp and in direction.
  3. Use the correct white balance. Change the setting to suit the same lighting style used for the shoot.

Remember, you won’t have to worry about these settings if you have a smartphone. The only thing you may want to invest in to improve the quality of mobile phone shots would be to invest in a tripod.

Polishing and Editing Your Product Photos

After capturing your product photos, a product photo editor like Skylum’s can make a significant difference in enhancing your images’ quality. Such tools allow for quick adjustments, from correcting lighting to fine-tuning details, ensuring your product images are polished and professional before they go live on your eCommerce store. This step is crucial for creating visually appealing photos that attract and engage potential customers.

If you didn’t get the lighting right and need to polish your photos, you can use photo editing software to make flaws disappear.

Retouching photos can correct colors, eliminate unwanted spots, and modify shadows for a more natural look.

Photo editing can be very time-consuming. However, there are a few easy-to-use tools you can try:

Ready for Your Product Photo Shoot?

The art of product photography takes time and patience to develop. There will be some trial and error until you perfect the pictures you want for your store. Once you have a process down, create an apparent shooting, brand, and editing guide so you can consistently capture and polish the perfect product photo every time.

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