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Best Practices Guide: Photographing Your Products

As a small business, photographing your products can be a big stressor. These photos are the biggest indicator for a customer as to what your product looks like and the quality. So, it is important to present the best photos possible. However, professional photoshoots are often-times out of reach for small businesses because of expenses and/or time constraints. This is a guide of all of the best tips and tricks for doing your very own product photography!

You don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end, complex professional camera

  • If you have a newer smartphone, it will probably take pictures that are just as good! Newer phones boast powerful camera lenses and have many settings that can help you with editing the shots to include different lights and different environments. Professional cameras are incredibly expensive and this is often an unnecessary expense for small businesses.

A tripod is one piece of equipment everyone should invest in

  • Leaning your phone up against a stack of books or holding the camera yourself can cause differences in the way the product is presented in each photo. It is really important to have consistency and standardization across all of your product’s photos, so your website appears as professional as possible.
  • Tripods are fantastic for allowing you to position your phone at unique angles (that you might not be able to photograph from on your own); all while allowing you to have clear, steady photos.

Research what type of lighting is best for your products

  • You can photograph your products in a variety of lighting environments, particularly with natural light or with artificial light. Natural light works great for some products whereas artificial lighting might be preferred for others. It is up to you to do some research on your products and then decide what is personally best for your business! Trial and error also work well in determining the best type of light.

Utilize white backgrounds and a sweep

  • A “sweep” is a bendable sheet of paper where the bottom acts like a surface for your product to sit on and then curves upwards into a white wall behind the product.
    • If you choose not to utilize a sweep, the customer’s eye will likely be drawn to details other than your product in the photo; however, the sweep allows you to focus on key product details.

Shoot a variety of images and angles

  • Don’t stop at one photo per product! Additional photos for each product allow customers to see the product used as it would if purchased. Multiple photos are a great substitute to help customers make purchasing decisions because they aren’t actually able to look at, hold, or try on the merchandise when shopping online.