For many businesses, growing a brand that sells physical products has felt like a challenge during this pandemic, but it doesn’t need to be. Online shopping has actually increased by 55% according to one study compared to this time last year. Social distancing has absolutely changed some of the rules for retail brands, but the game is still on. The only difference is now it’s time to shift your focus to a few simple tactics that work best to your advantage that you may not have thought of before, like how vital your product photography is to the growth of your brand.
If your customers cannot physically step into a store to purchase your products, strategizing the online experience to work for you not against you is the way to win the game. But how exactly do you do that?
If your customers cannot physically touch your product to feel its texture, its details, its craftsmanship, you show them through exceptional photography.Having exceptional product shots is crucial to the online experience for your customer. It’s so crucial, that it may be the absolute determining factor whether someone chooses to buy or not buy your product. According to one study, 93% of consumers consider images to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision. This means, no matter how much effort and dedication you have placed on your website, your product, or your product description, your customers will be drawn to your images before ever reading a single word. Your customers want to see the product, they want to know what they’re purchasing without ever seeing it in person to determine the quality of your product, and not providing great imagery can be the reason you wind up not selling anything at all.
HOW TO GET GREAT PRODUCT PHOTOS
EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER
A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to the perceived value of your product, your potential customers are going to judge your product on the quality of your visual representation.
Whether you decide to hire a professional product photographer or capture the images yourself, regardless of how big or small your product may be, these tips are going to elevate your product to have a higher perceived value and look more high end, whether you’re a premium brand or a luxury collection.
Below are the 7 best tips for creating the right product photography shots to give your products the absolute best online representation to your audience and turning them into buyers.
7 BEST TIPS FOR CREATING THE MOST COMPELLING PHOTOGRAPHY FOR YOUR PRODUCT
1 . THE RIGHT LIGHTING WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND MONEY: Lighting is everything, but you don’t need to have an expensive setup to have great lighting. When photographing your product, you have two choices, studio lighting or natural lighting. Depending on your product, the size of your product, the context, whether you’re using models or not, and where these photos will be shared (Ecommerce vs social media) will help you determine which is best. For this post, let’s discuss natural lighting as it’s the easiest and less technical to start with.Using natural lighting is one of the best options for the perfect soft light that brings out all the colors of your product in the right way (without needing to spend hours in post-production fixing colors among other things). Also, it’s free. You can use simple reflectors for different angles to ensure you don’t get shadows where you don’t want them, and if your lighting is too bright (or you’re getting window reflections on products, like products made of glass for example), you can easily throw some tissue paper over the window or even a sheer drape to soften the brightness. If you’re shooting outside, the best times are early in the morning or just before sunset. These are what’s known as the ‘golden hour’ since you can prevent any harsh shadows but can always achieve a beautiful soft light highlighting the subject exactly where you want it. Shooting on an overcast day also works much nicer than bright sunny weather for the same reasons.
2. USE A CLEAN BACKDROP FOR INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT SHOTS: Whether you’re shooting small products or clothing on models, photographing your products against a white backdrop is the most recommended for the best results. It’s the easiest backdrop to work with to reduce the amount of time needed for editing and post-production you’ll have to do later, so shoot your photos with post-production in mind. It’s also incredibly beneficial as it gives you a beautiful and clean consistent background for your Ecommerce shop to allow your shop and your products to look more high end.If shooting larger products like furniture or clothing with a model, grab an inexpensive backdrop and mount like this inexpensive backdrop mount and white backdrop to give you enough room and space to move around and capture all the necessary angles. If shooting smaller products, like jewelry, food recipes, or home decor items, you can use simple basic poster boards you can find at the hobby store or you can purchase great backdrops like these beautiful backdrop surfaces with various designs if you want something with a little more pop than just white depending on your product and brand personality. [Not sure what your brand personality is? I got you, find out what your personality is with this post and fun quiz by clicking here]
3. SHOW ALL THE ANGLES: Showing various angles of your product is incredibly important for helping your online shoppers understand and visualize your product without holding it in their hands. You want to show, as a minimum, the front, the back, and the sides of your product especially if your product is clothing, accessories, and furniture or home decor items.But before you begin shooting, (whether yourself or with a photographer), make a specific list of all the shots you want prior to shooting (like angles, distance from the product, scale, lighting, etc) to make sure you capture every shot you need the first time. You want to have the same main angles for each product to keep it consistent, and then play with various angles for each product that will highlight the quality and the benefits of your product.
4. “CLOSE UP” DETAIL PHOTOS ARE EXPECTED FOR PREMIUM AND LUXURY PRODUCTS: When it comes to elevating the value and quality of your products to your customers, taking close up photos of the details of the craftsmanship are going to be your golden ticket when it comes to the visual representation of your work. With very little research, it’s easy to see that a mass-produced, inexpensive product will only have the basic product shot and nothing more. It’s limited, you can’t see details, and usually, the photo is blurry when you attempt to zoom in and get a glimpse of the details.Now, take a look at the photos a premium or high-end luxury brand will use for their product photography. Each photo is crystal clear, it’s up close and shows every detail. They’re transparent about the product they’re selling, and it builds trust with their customer about the high quality of the product. This is the difference between a customer’s perceived value of your product and being able to charge a premium price for your quality. Remember to ask yourself, what would your customers want to inspect if they were holding or touching your product in store? What details would they be focusing on? Those are the things you need to photograph.
5. SHOW THE PRODUCT TO SCALE: Next to having “close up” photography showing the details of your product, photos that provide the relative size of the product is the next absolute most important thing to showcase in your photos for your Ecommerce. Because your customers can’t pick up your product, they need a visual for scale to be able to imagine if the product is the right size for them before they make their purchase decision.If you’re selling jewelry, placing your accessories on a model is going to show the relative size of your product, just as you should with clothing and stating the size and height of your model for reference.
6. PLACE YOUR PRODUCT INTO CONTEXT: Along with having clean, beautiful, independent images of your product against a blank white backdrop, it’s vital to include “lifestyle” shots as well to place your product into context. Your customer needs to be able to visualize themselves using your product where it will be used. For example, any kitchenware products are going to sell best placed in a beautiful kitchen setting with other props to make the setting feel like a candid photo of a real-life scenario. The same applies to clothing, accessories, and wallets. For example, photos of a bag or wallet with a few “everyday carry” essentials next to the bag or inside it will give your customer a perfect example of how they can use your product.It’s all about showcasing how your customer can use your product in their personal life. The more they can envision themselves using your product, the more confident your customer will feel that your product will enrich their lives and ultimately make the purchase.
7. CONSISTENCY: Taking each of the tips from above and maintaining consistency among them is the key to the game. Regardless of how many products you have in your online shop, you want a beautiful consistent visual flow of imagery when a customer lands on your Ecommerce page. You want consistent angles for each product, a consistent backdrop, and above all, consistent sizing. Do you want your images to be portrait, landscape, or square? It’s important to decide what works best for your product and product category before you begin shooting. You don’t want your shop page to end up skewed with different image sizes and image layout format.[BONUS]
8. PREPARE YOUR PRODUCT FOR THE SHOOT: I want to include this as I’ve seen several beginners waste valuable time in studios (that may be rented by the hour) or waste time in post-production fixing details that could have been easily avoided if they had just taken the time to prepare for the shoot.When preparing, steam all necessary fabrics beforehand. This includes backdrops that may have become wrinkled if folded in storage and clothing. Wipe down products to remove any dirt, dust, fingerprints, or anything at all that would add unnecessary post-production time later that you would need to go back and remove. In all that I do and teach, I am adamant about how each touchpoint your brand has with your customer, whether your website, your social media, your business card, or your product photo, can be your first impression with your customers. It takes a human brain .25 seconds to process an image and create a first impression. And it takes your potential customer less than one second to determine whether they will become a fan of your brand or not based on these visual first impressions. Without great product photography to show the quality of your products, you may not get a second chance. Your photography is a direct representation of how you run your business, and if it looks unprofessional, sloppy, or blurry, your potential customers will assume the same about your product. But if you take the time to create beautiful quality images that elevate the value of your product, your customer will associate the high quality level of professionalism with your product, in turn, building confidence and trust in your brand and making that purchase. Have a question or want to dive deeper? Leave me a comment below.
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