You seldom buy things sight unseen. That is a big reason e-commerce businesses need great product photos. But what makes a good product photo? What do you need to have people pressing the buy button?
Tributes a good product photo has:
1. High Quality
You want to be certain your product photos are the best quality possible. If an image is blurry, grainy or poorly lit, don’t use it.
The image should be produced so that a consumer can zoom into the see the details without losing quality or focus. This can be difficult to do with a phone or a cheap camera image.
A high quality image needs to be photographed with the right lens too. If the product is one where a consumer would want to see details, a macro lens is recommended.
Multiple lenses and high quality digital cameras aren’t cheap and take time to learn. This is why so many businesses hire a product photographer so they can concentrate on their company and clients.
2. Excellent Lighting
Photography is light. If you’ve ever tried to take a picture in the dark, chances are you got a black frame or very dark image that was hard to see.
What makes a good product photo is appropriate lighting. Light can be used to create moods, interest, direct the eye and of course, to make sure the product is visible and looks incredible.
Large brands have their products shot in a studio where light can be controlled. Knowing how to use artificial light and flash is a skill that takes photographers time to learn. (And you never really stop!)
Some photographers use natural light. While natural light allows you to take beautiful photos, it is also weather dependent. If shooting multiple products, the lighting will change depending on the time of day. If you want consistency, studio lighting is the way to go for good product photos.
3. The Setting
Many e-commerce stores want your product on a solid (255,255,255,RGB) white background. This style blends seamlessly with their website and looks good in search results or in catalogs.
Product photography is about more than white background images though. Some clients want their products on black, complimentary, contrasting or even monochromatic colors. Colorful backgrounds can capture the eye.
There are lifestyle photos, where the product is seen in the kitchen, on a counter or dresser, in the bathroom, bar or by the pool. These settings help consumers get a feel for how the product would look in their home.
Creativity and nice settings that feature your products can be used in online-stores, on a website, in blog posts and on social media. So a great background or setting can help make a good product photo.
A good product photo depends on composition of the shot. For e-commerce, the product must fill 80% of the image frame. The angle and the way the product is positioned can make or break the photo.
The same is true for color backgrounds and lifestyle images. There are different rules for creating composition but nothing beats the trained eye of an artist.
Remember that every image tells a story, every good photo captures the eye and takes it on a journey. Good composition of your image can take your product photos to the next level.
Some products benefit by having a model in the photograph.
While big businesses use professional models with usage right agreements, there are also professional models available that a smaller business can afford.
A product photographer will usually have connections to provide both hand models or full body models for photoshoots. The model will be representing your business, so you want them to resemble your target customer so the customer can relate.
When it comes to models, it adds another layer of complexity to product photography. Now, in addition to setting the scene, props, lighting and background, the model must be posed. A good product photo won’t look posed, but trust me, there is a lot that goes into them!
6. Image Editing
The editing phase of product photography can sometimes take as long as the photoshoot. Even after taking all the steps needed to get as close to the final image as possible, editing is needed to make your product shine.
Among the steps taken in the product photo editing stage: spot removal and dust cleanup, making sure the product has no defects, correcting any problems with the image, plus color adjustment, correcting and matching.
Professional product photographers use programs such as Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Pro, Luminar and others to do this. If you take your own product photos, you may try to use an app. I don’t recommend this, especially if people may zoom in on the image. Apps do an okay job for someone looking at a full image, but the details can get messed up.
You now know what makes a good product photo. By working on these six tips, you can improve your photography, creating better images each time. Product photography is a big responsibility since most people make their purchasing decision based on the photographs.
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