Quality product photography is essential for online sales. Whether you have your own shopping cart site, or you are selling through Amazon or Shopify, having good quality photos is vital. Your photos are the consumer’s first interaction with the product, so they have to show it off well. There is a direct correlation between the quality of product shots and their conversion rates. This article will explore some of the most important steps to producing quality product photos.

Quality Camera Equipment

The first step to any photoshoot is the camera. Many business owners will reach for their cellphone here. Don’t. While your phone may have a powerful, high mega-pixel camera, it won’t have all of the tools and adjustments that a camera should have. Generally, you will want a DSLR or mirrorless camera. There are many options available on the market, so see what fits your needs and budget. Additionally, you will need a lens for that camera. The size of your lens may vary on a few factors, including product size and the amount of space you have to shoot in.

A small collection of 4 eclectic glasses from the Brand Matsuda. Product staged on a wooden box with the Matsuda logo.

Space To Shoot Your Product Photography

Having a dedicated space in your office to shoot your products is important. Keeping a consistent production value across all of your photos is key to making your shopping cart site look professional. You’ll need enough space to set up a product box as well as a tripod for the camera. Additionally, if you need more lighting, you’ll need space for that. Your product photography space should be set up at all times. This prevents you from creating inconsistencies between products.
Finally, you should choose a space with little to no natural light. Windows can create lighting changes as the day progresses. Even shooting at night may not be perfect, as lights from passing cars or streetlights can affect shots. If your only option is to shoot in a room with windows, consider installing blackout curtains. Otherwise, you can try covering the window in some other capacity.

Product Photography and Product Boxes

A product box is a studio setup kit that allows you to shoot a product in an isolated space. You can find product boxes in all manner of sizes, to fit any number of potential products. Many of these kits come with built-in lighting and reflectors to brighten up your products. However, as mentioned above, that lighting may not be enough. It is common for some product photography setups to need additional lights.
While many product boxes come with white backdrops, some may include other inserts. Generally, white backdrops are best for product shots, for a few reasons. Firstly, the white backdrop minimizes distractions. Other colors, even black, can detract from your subject. Next, white helps make your product the center of attention. Your eyes are naturally drawn to an item on a white field. Lastly, consistency is key. White backdrops are generally easier to color match when setting up your shot, and editing later.

A collection of spices in mason jars, behind a wooden spoon. Product photography staged on a grey backdrop.

Thinking Outside of the Product Box

While product boxes are great for showcasing individual products for sales, other methods of staging can be important. Showcasing products in other ways can be artistic, and help evoke certain emotions in the viewer. Being able to set the stage for different types of shoots can be helpful. This may require different backdrops and other props. While these may take some focus away from the product, staging in this manner can be more desirable to the consumer. Understanding this, and being able to produce both types of content is important for marketing beyond your shopping cart website.

Color Testing and White Balance

When setting up your camera, it is important to prepare your camera to capture the image with the right colors. Color testing helps set the camera to show “true colors.” Essentially, this lets the colors of the photo show up properly in the photo. Then, you will need to white balance correctly. White balancing helps you set the white backdrop of your product to be truly white. Overall, this helps the photos fit into the website. Both of these processes are key to keeping a consistent photo set.
Additionally, you may want to invest in a light meter. Light meters measure the amount of light affecting your set and the subject. This is important to test your shots and keep consistency between shoots. A good light meter can be pricy, but once you learn how to use it, it is a helpful tool.

Monitor Calibration for Product Photography

Once your photos are taken, it is important to set your computer up properly for photo editing. The first step is calibrating your monitor. Your monitor(s) may not be set up for true color. This may involve changing a number of settings on both your computer and the screen itself. For best results, consult the manual that came with your monitor.

Photo Editing Software

In order to properly edit your photos and prepare them for the web, you will need some editing software. Generally, Adobe Lightroom and/or Adobe Photoshop would be standard. However, there are a number of other software options out there. Finding the right product photography editing software for your needs and budget is a good place to start. Keep in mind that each software package may be a bit different. Some may require more of a learning curve, and others may not have as much online support. While Adobe products can be costly, they are very user-friendly. They also have good online support from the company and other users, alike.

Product Photography test shot. Posable wooden mannequin next to crayons, a marker, and a foam ball. Color card for photography in the background. Better Biz Works logo in corner.

Hire a Professional For Product Photography

While handling your own product photography is possible, sometimes it can be best to hire a professional. A professional photographer that specializes in product shoots will have the equipment and setup to properly work with products. At BetterBizWorks, we handle product photography, as well as building custom shopping cart sites for our clients. We can help build your online sales from start to finish. Contact us to discuss your professional photography needs.

BetterBizWorks, LLC Web Design and Internet Marketing is always here to help you with your web design and online marketing needs. So contact us, or give us a call to discuss your online goals, at 212-904-0020.