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DIY product photography

Nov 15, 2018 | Workshop

Do not underestimate the importance of product photography. Quite simply, the quality of your product photos is directly related to the amount of traffic your shop front at saffronsouk.com receives and no traffic equals no sales.

It doesn’t matter if your product is designed beautifully and is made from the best materials available using award winning craftsmanship. It doesn’t even matter if your products beat the pants off your competitor’s products. The fact of the matter is that when you’re selling online, you rely soley on your product photos to attract customer clicks and get footfall through your shop front.

Your product photos do not have to be professionally taken but they do have to be beautiful and enticing. Mediocre will not make the cut.

As a talented creative, you’re adaptable and able to learn new skills, so taking great product photos yourself is well within your capabilities. However, the reality is that it takes time and effort to get right.

Photography kit

Before you race out and invest is the world’s fanciest camera, it’s likely that the camera you already have will take a perfectly good photo. Your smart phone is probaby even up to the job. 

Choose the largest file size your camera can take and turn your flash off. Experiment with the settings until you find the one that works for you.

Lighting

There’s no need for fancy lighting kit, natural light is your best friend when if comes to DIY product photography. The trick is finding the right type of natural light.

Natural lighting gives you brightness, true colours and consistent shadows. Unless your indoors is wonderfully bathed in bright light, head outdoors and find a shaded spot. Set up in a place that you can replicate the location and set up at the same time of day in future.

Staging

Styling up your shots with props can give your product photos a wonderful character and help capture your branding.

If you’re not good as working props and staging your shots to perfection, then don’t. Keep within your skill level and use a simple, neutral background.

Neutral backgrounds showcase your product and focuses your customer’s eye on exactly what you’re selling. A professional photographer would use a white screen or light box, but you can try an ironed length of white fabric or piece of cardboard to acheive a white backdrop to position your products in front of.

If you’re looking for a little more texture and visual interest, a rendered wall, wooden fence or brick wall can all be used to provide your photos with a really good backdrop.

The angles

Shoot your product from different angles, thoughtful considered angles. Show the main elements of your products, the special details that will lead them to the checkout. Keep in mind that a customer shopping online can’t hold your products, turn them over and 

take photos from a distance, try to show the scale of the product, perhaps hold your product or use a prop.

take close ups that show the features, ensuring your photos are in focus.

take shots from different angles, the front, back, bottom, inside.

If you’re shooting similar products, match the angles

Formatting your files

Expect to spend some time editing and formatting your photos ready to upload to your shop front.

Reduce the file size and crop your main product image to a square shape. Check Saffron Souk’ Shop Keeper’s Handbook for recommended file size and dimensions for your product photos.

Keep a hi-res copy of your product photos as you may need them to print or be asked to send them in for press submissions, for example.

Consistency

Use the same set up whwn taking your products. Use the same camera, match the settings, the location, set up, time of day, the lot!

Being pedantically consistant when taking your product photos will give continuity to your work and made sure all your photos look good together. Being consistent will strengthen the aesthetic of your shop front.

Perfect the process

We said it at the beginning, taking your own product photos isn’t easy. As your skills improve, retake your photos and update your shop front.

It will take time and a lot of practice to reach a point when you can set up,  take your photos, format them and upload them in to your shop front quickly and efficiently like a smooth well oiled machine. Keep your eye on the prize, you will be rewarded in clicks.