Product Photography Tips for your Online Stores
We know how time consuming and pain staking it is to get the best looking photos for your products for the online store, especially if you don’t have much money to spare to hire professionals to do the job for you. In that case, the best way to go ahead is do start doing it yourself. So to help you along, we spoke to our clients to get you the best tips from store owners themselves. And we consolidated their inputs into the following points to give you great tips and feedback to help you take some awesome product photos for your online store.
1. Tripod: When clicking photos, it is best to have a tripod. There are a lot of tripods around that will fit even into the basic point-and-shoot cameras. A basic China-made tripod should cost something around Rs. 500. A tripod will give you the stability you need when clicking images. And ensure that you get sharp images.
2. Lighting: The best time to shoot is during the day in the natural light. If you want to shoot in natural lighting, push a table up against a window and then click with your flash turned off. For shooting outdoors, like clothing on your models, etc. shoot during the morning or early afternoon. Once the sun is high up in the sky, there’ll be just too much light for proper images.
3. Flash: AVOID using flash at all times. It will spoil the natural color and hue of the product. Instead shoot in natural daylight.
4. Background: Keep a simple and clean background, mostly in neutral colors to have a fresh product image. A white background is best to work with. You can use a piece of cloth or a sheet of paper. Trying out different colors of paper as the background may be worth a try. This will maintain consistency throughout all product photos and also enhance your product in the foreground.
For rustic looking images, you may also try natural looking backgrounds, like a wood table top or a brick wall. If you keep a very visible background, the image of the product maybe distracting and out-of-focus.
5. Focus: Make sure your product is always in focus. If you are unsure about how to set the exact focus, try turning the camera to the auto-focus mode instead of manual focus. In a point-and-shoot camera, a sharp close up of small items can be achieved by turning the mode to “Macro- mode”, which looks like this.
6. Keep photos in context: A major problem online shoppers face in not knowing the exact size of an item shown online. Make sure when clicking product images that you keep your product in mind and its size, scale and use. For quirky products, you want to click the product in action instead of just the stand-alone product. By doing so, you’ll help them imagining the product in their wardrobe and in their homes.
7. Try as many angles as possible: Try different angles before settling on any one, which is flattering to your product and shows off all the details you want highlighted.
8. To Remember: Try having a consistent background throughout your product images, in sync with the look and feel of your store and brand. Having different backgrounds for every image, can be disturbing as a whole on your online store and may spoil the overall look.
9. Image Resolution: Make sure you image resolution is decent enough, so that when a customer zooms in on your product, the picture doesn’t distort. It can be very annoying when you can’t see minute details. Make sure your images are sharp.
Shooting specific products:
10. Apparel Photography: Try to get hold of mannequins or models who will be ready to wear the clothes for you. Apparel product images hanging on hangers look limp and don’t give the right idea.
11. Jewellery Photography: When clicking pictures of items as small as jewellery or even accessories, the thing to keep in mind is to take close up images so that every small detailing of the product is visible.
For your Zepo store: After clicking pictures, keep in mind the image resolution on your Zepo online store as well as Facebook (if you are planning to upload and share the same on Facebook). And resize your images using any of the popular image editing softwares like Pixlr, Photoscape, Picasa, etc.
Zepo Image resolution: 900px X 1200px or anything beyond this but less than 2MB in 3:4 aspect ratio.
Facebook Image resolution: 2408 pixels and you can check the High Quality box when you create an album, for better quality photos.
How should you go about getting your product photos? Should you do it yourself or should you get a professional to do it for you?
Depending on the kind of budget you have allocated, you can choose between hiring a freelancer, a professional photography agency or the best way, you can choose to do it yourself.
Most of our clients, do the photography themselves, as they know exactly how their product looks best. So from styling the models with respect to apparel to choosing background in case of products, they decide all of that by themselves.
As Priya Agarwal from Stop N Stare put it, “All u need to do is love your products (shouldnt be taken as a headache). Give it a life and make it look as beautiful as it is.”
Also, “if you are a start up and don’t plan to invest huge, then click it for yourself, if you are launching big then go for professional pics. But nowadays I have seen that people relate more to amateur clicks because it gives a more realistic look.”
If you decide to shoot the photos yourself, ask your friends to help you out. Product photos at Tea Amo are done by Saurabh himself and a friend of his. “I select all the ingredients for the pics and the angles that would best showcase the product, and this friend of mine happens to have a knack for photography, and a DSLR camera. It is infact not uncommon to have a friend with an SLR or a DSLR camera these days. So thats about all you need. And of course, creativity.”
Or you could try keeping your options open. Create an eclectic mix of product photos by doing some yourself and getting some difficult images to be done by a freelancer. But make sure, the consistency in terms of photos and backgrounds used is maintained throughout the store, when using a mix of both.
What kind of photo editing software to use?
Best photo editing software any novice can use is Google’s Picasa. Adding a watermark, cropping images, making collages and posters and batch resizing are some of the options that are available with Picasa and its interface makes it easy to understand and use.
For people with Mac, Mac Preview and Mac Office 2011 do well.
Reference for people who can do product photography for you:
1. Akhil Doval in Delhi: Akhil helps out Saurabh at Tea Amo in his photography. He doesn’t do it professionally but he has the skills and would love to take up any assignments from his area of interest. Akhil has a hearing impairment so for people looking to get in touch with can contact Saurabh on +91 98101 34411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Shreyasi Kar in Bangalore: Shreyasi is a friend of Tanushree of Karaashilp and a design graduate. She helps out Tanushree from time to time. For people looking to get in touch with her, can do so at +91 99869 89025. And you can see her work at http://bit.ly/shreyasikar.
3. Another great place to find yourself freelance photographers is Piconect. Piconect helps you find verified photographers in your city and according to your area of work. You will also be able to check out the photographers work too. Definitely a good way to find freelancing photographers in India.
The best tips from our clients ourselves:
Priya Agarwal, Stop N Stare:
- Fix a photography day; one day in a week wherein you will only click away. This will help in saving time and will be more productive for you .
- Product should be the focus and therefore try as much space your product can take instead of background. If you have a white background, do not contrast too much.
Tanushree Nair, Karaashilp:
- The light should fall on the product and one should shoot in the direction of light falling on the product.
- One does not always need a SLR camera to get the best effects (though its good to have), good digital camera also gives good pics. In layman terms, one has to get compact, not too many spaces should be left on the sides of the product. So that the focus is more on the product than the surroundings. Experiment with angles.
- Use some interesting articles around the product but not very loud that it actually takes the focus off the product. For ex: for personal accessories like bags (if they are quirky), have a quirky theme with colours. If you are not comfortable with too much decoration around the product, simply take the pics on a white background and maybe add background colors using an editing tool. One may use natural themes with interesting leaves/flowers/show pieces to go with the theme of the product if required.
- One can also do a simple white box setup at home with thermacol and white cardpaper sheets and install lights in it. The lightbox setup helps to remove shadow/glares,helps in uniform lighting. Definitely useful when one does not have morning light to take pics.
Brijesh and the Color Store Team:
- We usually shoot atleast 5 pics to get the right image done.
- We shoot with max pixels (wxh) using Nikon cameras.(DSLR is always the best option, somehow, we are convinced with Nikon’s Color depth)
- “Seeing is believing”, good product pics always helps customers to make decisions faster & easier.
Saurabh Gupta, Tea Amo:
- Searching online for available images can give you ideas for the content and angles for your images.
- Familiarity with a photo editing software is necessary too, and it is not too difficult to learn by yourself. Though it takes some effort and time. It involves watching and reading small tutorials online and taking it step by step.
- I try to get all the elements in the photo itself, rather than adding them externally with the help of a photo editing software. It saves time, and maintains the natural feel of the product. I use photo editing software mostly for fixing colors and contrasts only.
- Do not forget to re-size the pics for online use, else the website will take too much time to load.
Ritu and Saumya Gupta, Ten on Ten Clothing:
- Make sure lighting is clear, close up images of detailing on the product, not a fancy background.
- We dont use photoshop at all. Nowadays we only use the Instagram effect as its quite popular. And we use Picasa for it.
- We initially started with people shooting it for us, though styling was always ours as only we know how our product can look best. Lately, I have been shooting myself.
Heartfelt thanks to all of you for taking out the time and giving us such great tips and feedback. 🙂
And before you hurry away to try these tips, drop us references about freelancers or your preferred photographers, in the comments. Help out our readers. 🙂
Make fabulous banners for your online store: http://stories.zepo.in/post/30985747901/tutorial-on-how-to-create-fabulous-banners-for-your
Make collage banners for your online store: http://stories.zepo.in/post/30310714713/how-to-create-collage-banners-for-your-zepo-store
Sources and further reading:
Do you have beautiful products which you want to show off to the world? Well, you may want to give Zepo a try and start your online store in the next 5 mins.